The hairless gene in mammals encodes a nuclear factor that is highly expressed in skin and appears to control hair follicle integrity and cycling. In the absence of a normal and functional Hairless (Hr) protein, the hair bulb undergoes premature apoptosis during the first catagen stage of the hair cycle. The most striking effects of the mutation are loss of hair follicles and formation of epidermal utricles and dermal cysts. The hairless gene expression appears to be widespread and temporally regulated. The gene is strongly expressed in different compartments of the brain. Hairless mRNAs were detected in cartilage, gonads, thymus and colon. In addition to alopecia, hairless mice strains show subtle defects in the development and differentiation of various tissues and organs. The Hr protein is localised in cell nuclei and functions as a transcriptional regulator. Although its role has not been resolved in molecular terms, it was demonstrated that Hr is able to interact with multiple nuclear hormone receptors. Hr seems to be a part of a large multiprotein complex capable to repress transcription by its association to chromatin remodelling factors such as histone deacetylases. Recent experimental data suggest that Hr might be involved in Hox gene regulation, cell adhesion modulation and progenitor cells identity. At least in the skin, but probably in other organs, the Hr repressor seems to be responsible for the timing of epithelial cells differentiation.
|Translated title of the contribution
|The mouse hairless gene: Its function in hair root and at the heart of a subtle pleiotropy
|Number of pages
|Published - May 2006
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology