Dlx3 is a crucial regulator of hair follicle differentiation and cycling
Development. 2008 Aug 6
Dlx homeobox transcription factors regulate epidermal, neural and osteogenic cellular differentiation. Here, we demonstrate the central role of Dlx3 as a crucial transcriptional regulator of hair formation and regeneration.
The selective ablation of Dlx3 in the epidermis results in complete alopecia owing to failure of the hair shaft and inner root sheath to form, which is caused by the abnormal differentiation of the cortex.
Significantly, we elucidate the regulatory cascade that positions Dlx3 downstream of Wnt signaling and as an upstream regulator of other transcription factors that regulate hair follicle differentiation, such as Hoxc13 and Gata3. Colocalization of phospho-Smad1/5/8 and Dlx3 is consistent with a regulatory role for BMP signaling to Dlx3 during hair morphogenesis.
Importantly, mutant catagen follicles undergo delayed regression and display persistent proliferation. Moreover, ablation of Dlx3 expression in the telogen bulge stem cells is associated with a loss of BMP signaling, precluding re-initiation of the hair follicle growth cycle.
Taken together with hair follicle abnormalities in humans with Tricho-Dento-Osseous (TDO) syndrome, an autosomal dominant ectodermal dysplasia linked to mutations in the DLX3 gene, our results establish that Dlx3 is essential for hair morphogenesis, differentiation and cycling programs.