GDNF promotes hair formation and cutaneous wound healing by targeting bulge stem cells.
ABSTRACT: Glial-cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is a well-studied neuroregenerative factor; however, the degree to which it supports hair formation and skin wound repair is not known. By using a Gfra1 (GDNF family receptor alpha 1) knock-in reporter mouse line, GDNF signaling was found to occur within hair bulge stem cells (BSCs) during the initiation of the hair cycle and early stages of hair formation after depilation. Both recombinant and transgene overexpression of GDNF promoted BSC colony growth, hair formation, and skin repair after wounding through enhanced self-renewal of BSCs and commitment of BSC-derived progenitors into becoming epidermal cells at the injury site. Conditional ablation of Gfra1 among BSCs impaired the onset of the hair cycle, while conditional ablation of the GDNF family member signal transducer, Ret, within BSCs prevented the onset of the hair cycle and depilation-induced anagen development of hair follicles. Our findings reveal that GDNF promotes hair formation and wound repair and that bulge stem cells are critical mediators of both.
Project description:Adult hair follicles undergo repeated cycling of regression (catagen), resting (telogen), and growth (anagen), which is maintained by hair follicle stem cells (HFSCs). The mechanism underlying hair growth initiation and HFSC maintenance is not fully understood. Here, by epithelial deletion of Hes1, a major Notch downstream transcriptional repressor, we found that hair growth is retarded, but the hair cycle progresses normally. Hes1 is specifically upregulated in the lower bulge/HG during anagen initiation. Accordingly, loss of Hes1 results in delayed activation of the secondary hair germ (HG) and shortened anagen phase. This developmental delay causes reduced hair shaft length but not identity changes in follicular lineages. Remarkably, Hes1 ablation results in impaired hair regeneration upon repetitive depilation. Microarray gene profiling on HFSCs indicates that Hes1 modulates Shh responsiveness in anagen initiation. Using primary keratinocyte cultures, we demonstrated that Hes1 deletion negatively influences ciliogenesis and Smoothened ciliary accumulation upon Shh treatment. Furthermore, transient application of Smoothened agonist during repetitive depilation can rescue anagen initiation and HFSC self-renewal in Hes1-deficient hair follicles. We reveal a critical function of Hes1 in potentiating Shh signaling in anagen initiation, which allows sufficient signaling strength to expand the HG and replenish HFSCs to maintain the hair cycle homeostasis.
Project description:Lung squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC), the second most common subtype of lung cancer, is strongly associated with tobacco smoking and exhibits genomic instability. The cellular origins and molecular processes that contribute to SqCC formation are largely unexplored. Here we show that human basal stem cells (BSCs) isolated from heavy smokers proliferate extensively, whereas their alveolar progenitor cell counterparts have limited colony-forming capacity. We demonstrate that this difference arises in part because of the ability of BSCs to repair their DNA more efficiently than alveolar cells following ionizing radiation or chemical-induced DNA damage. Analysis of mice harbouring a mutation in the DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs), a key enzyme in DNA damage repair by nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ), indicated that BSCs preferentially repair their DNA by this error-prone process. Interestingly, polyploidy, a phenomenon associated with genetically unstable cells, was only observed in the human BSC subset. Expression signature analysis indicated that BSCs are the likely cells of origin of human SqCC and that high levels of NHEJ genes in SqCC are correlated with increasing genomic instability. Hence, our results favour a model in which heavy smoking promotes proliferation of BSCs, and their predilection for error-prone NHEJ could lead to the high mutagenic burden that culminates in SqCC. Targeting DNA repair processes may therefore have a role in the prevention and therapy of SqCC.
Project description:The lymphatic vascular system plays important roles in the control of tissue fluid homeostasis and immune responses. While VEGF-A-induced angiogenesis promotes hair follicle (HF) growth, the potential role of lymphatic vessels (LVs) in HF cycling has remained unknown. In this study, we found that LVs are localized in close proximity to the HF bulge area throughout the postnatal and depilation-induced hair cycle in mice and that a network of LVs directly connects the individual HFs. Increased LV density in the skin of K14-VEGF-C transgenic mice was associated with prolongation of anagen HF growth. Conversely, HF entry into the catagen phase was accelerated in K14-sVEGFR3 transgenic mice that lack cutaneous LVs. Importantly, repeated intradermal injections of VEGF-C promoted hair growth in mice. Conditioned media from lymphatic endothelial cells promoted human dermal papilla cell (DPC) growth and expression of IGF-1 and alkaline phosphatase, both activators of DPCs. Our results reveal an unexpected role of LVs in coordinating and promoting HF growth and identify potential new therapeutic strategies for hair loss-associated conditions.
Project description:Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are key components of ecosystem productivity in arid lands and they cover a substantial fraction of the terrestrial surface. In particular, BSC N2-fixation contributes significantly to the nitrogen (N) budget of arid land ecosystems. In mature crusts, N2-fixation is largely attributed to heterocystous cyanobacteria; however, early successional crusts possess few N2-fixing cyanobacteria and this suggests that microorganisms other than cyanobacteria mediate N2-fixation during the critical early stages of BSC development. DNA stable isotope probing with (15)N2 revealed that Clostridiaceae and Proteobacteria are the most common microorganisms that assimilate (15)N2 in early successional crusts. The Clostridiaceae identified are divergent from previously characterized isolates, though N2-fixation has previously been observed in this family. The Proteobacteria identified share >98.5% small subunit rRNA gene sequence identity with isolates from genera known to possess diazotrophs (for example, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, Shigella and Ideonella). The low abundance of these heterotrophic diazotrophs in BSCs may explain why they have not been characterized previously. Diazotrophs have a critical role in BSC formation and characterization of these organisms represents a crucial step towards understanding how anthropogenic change will affect the formation and ecological function of BSCs in arid ecosystems.
Project description:Basosquamous carcinoma (BSC) is an aggressive skin neoplasm with the features of both basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). While genetic drivers of BCC and SCC development have been extensively characterized, BSC has not been well studied, and it remains unclear whether these tumors originally derive from BCC or SCC. In addition, it is unknown which molecular pathways mediate the reprogramming of tumor keratinocytes toward basaloid or squamatized phenotypes. We sought to characterize the genomic alterations underlying sporadic BSC to elucidate the derivation of these mixed tumors. We identifed frequent Hedgehog (Hh) pathway mutations in BSCs, implicating Hh deregulation as the primary driving event in BSC. Principal component analysis of BCC and SCC driver genes further demonstrate the genetic similarity between BCC and BSC. In addition, 45% of the BSCs harbor recurrent mutations in the SWI/SNF complex gene, ARID1A, and evolutionary analysis revealed that ARID1A mutations occur after PTCH1 but before SCC driver mutations, indicating that ARID1A mutations may bestow plasticity enabling squamatization. Finally, we demonstrate mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway activation and the loss of Hh signaling associated with the squamatization of BSCs. Overall, these results support the genetic derivation of BSCs from BCCs and highlight potential factors involved in modulating tumor reprogramming between basaloid and squamatized phenotypes.
Project description:The cutaneous healing response has evolved to occur rapidly, in order to minimize infection and to re-establish epithelial homeostasis. Rapid healing is achieved through complex coordination of multiple cell types, which importantly includes specific cell populations within the hair follicle (HF). Under physiological conditions, the epithelial compartments of HF and interfollicular epidermis remain discrete, with K15(+ve) bulge stem cells contributing progeny for HF reconstruction during the hair cycle and as a basis for hair shaft production during anagen. Only upon wounding do HF cells migrate from the follicle to contribute to the neo-epidermis. However, the identity of the first-responding cells, and in particular whether this process involves a direct contribution of K15(+ve) bulge cells to the early stage of epidermal wound repair remains unclear. Here we demonstrate that epidermal injury in murine skin does not induce bulge activation during early epidermal wound repair. Specifically, bulge cells of uninjured HFs neither proliferate nor appear to migrate out of the bulge niche upon epidermal wounding. In support of these observations, Diphtheria toxin-mediated partial ablation of K15(+ve) bulge cells fails to delay wound healing. Our data suggest that bulge cells only respond to epidermal wounding during later stages of repair. We discuss that this response may have evolved as a protective safeguarding mechanism against bulge stem cell exhaust and tumorigenesis. Stem Cells 2016;34:1377-1385.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a major class of conserved non-coding RNAs that have a wide range of functions during development and disease. Biogenesis of canonical miRNAs depend on the cytoplasmic processing of pre-miRNAs to mature miRNAs by the Dicer endoribonuclease. Once mature miRNAs are generated, the miRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC), or miRISC, incorporates one strand of miRNAs as a template for recognizing complementary target messenger RNAs (mRNAs) to dictate post-transcriptional gene expression. Besides regulating miRNA biogenesis, Dicer is also part of miRISC to assist in activation of the complex. Dicer associates with other regulatory miRISC co-factors such as trans-activation responsive RNA-binding protein 2 (Tarbp2) to regulate miRNA-based RNA interference. Although the functional role of miRNAs within epidermal keratinocytes has been extensively studied within embryonic mouse skin, its contribution to the normal function of hair follicle bulge stem cells (BSCs) during post-natal hair follicle development is unclear. With this question in mind, we sought to ascertain whether Dicer-Tarpb2 plays a functional role within BSCs during induced anagen development by utilizing conditional knockout mouse models. Our findings suggest that Dicer, but not Tarbp2, functions within BSCs to regulate induced anagen (growth phase) development of post-natal hair follicles. These findings strengthen our understanding of miRNA-dependency within hair follicle cells during induced anagen development.
Project description:It has been challenging to produce ex vivo models of the inclusion pathologies that are hallmark pathologies of many neurodegenerative diseases. Using three-dimensional mouse brain slice cultures (BSCs), we have developed a paradigm that rapidly and robustly recapitulates mature neurofibrillary inclusion and Lewy body formation found in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, respectively. This was achieved by transducing the BSCs with recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs) that express α-synuclein or variants of tau. Notably, the tauopathy BSC model enables screening of small molecule therapeutics and tracking of neurodegeneration. More generally, the rAAV BSC "toolkit" enables efficient transduction and transgene expression from neurons, microglia, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes, alone or in combination, with transgene expression lasting for many months. These rAAV-based BSC models provide a cost-effective and facile alternative to in vivo studies, and in the future can become a widely adopted methodology to explore physiological and pathological mechanisms related to brain function and dysfunction.
Project description:N2 fixation and ammonia oxidation (AO) are the two most important processes in the nitrogen (N) cycle of biological soil crusts (BSCs). We studied the short-term response of acetylene reduction assay (ARA) rates, an indicator of potential N2 fixation, and AO rates to temperature (T, -5°C to 35°C) in BSC of different successional stages along the BSC ecological succession and geographic origin (hot Chihuahuan and cooler Great Basin deserts). ARA in all BSCs increased with T until saturation occurred between 15 and 20°C, and declined at 30-35°C. Culture studies using cyanobacteria isolated from these crusts indicated that the saturating effect was traceable to their inability to grow well diazotrophically within the high temperature range. Below saturation, temperature response was exponential, with Q10 significantly different in the two areas (~ 5 for Great Basin BSCs; 2-3 for Chihuahuan BSCs), but similar between the two successional stages. However, in contrast to ARA, AO showed a steady increase to 30-35°C in Great Basin, and Chihuhuan BSCs showed no inhibition at any tested temperature. The T response of AO also differed significantly between Great Basin (Q10 of 4.5-4.8) and Chihuahuan (Q10 of 2.4-2.6) BSCs, but not between successional stages. Response of ARA rates to T did not differ from that of AO in either desert. Thus, while both processes scaled to T in unison until 20°C, they separated to an increasing degree at higher temperature. As future warming is likely to occur in the regions where BSCs are often the dominant living cover, this predicted decoupling is expected to result in higher proportion of nitrates in soil relative to ammonium. As nitrate is more easily lost as leachate or to be reduced to gaseous forms, this could mean a depletion of soil N over large landscapes globally.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is a potent neurotrophic factor known to promote the survival and maintenance of neurons not only in the developing but also in the adult enteric nervous system. As diverticular disease (DD) is associated with reduced myenteric neurons, alterations of the GDNF system were studied in asymptomatic diverticulosis (diverticulosis) and DD. METHODS:Morphometric analysis for quantifying myenteric ganglia and neurons were assessed in colonic full-thickness sections of patients with diverticulosis and controls. Samples of tunica muscularis (TM) and laser-microdissected myenteric ganglia from patients with diverticulosis, DD and controls were analyzed for mRNA expression levels of GDNF, GFRA1, and RET by RT-qPCR. Myenteric protein expression of both receptors was quantified by fluorescence-immunohistochemistry of patients with diverticulosis, DD, and controls. RESULTS:Although no myenteric morphometric alterations were found in patients with diverticulosis, GDNF, GFRA1 and RET mRNA expression was down-regulated in the TM of patients with diverticulosis as well as DD. Furthermore GFRA1 and RET myenteric plexus mRNA expression of patients with diverticulosis and DD was down-regulated, whereas GDNF remained unaltered. Myenteric immunoreactivity of the receptors GFR?1 and RET was decreased in both asymptomatic diverticulosis and DD patients. CONCLUSION:Our data provide evidence for an impaired GDNF system at gene and protein level not only in DD but also during early stages of diverticula formation. Thus, the results strengthen the idea of a disturbed GDNF-responsiveness as contributive factor for a primary enteric neuropathy involved in the pathogenesis and disturbed intestinal motility observed in DD.