Molecular and spatial landmarks of early mouse skin development

Tina Jacob, Karl Annusver, Paulo Czarnewski, Tim Dalessandri, Christina Kalk, Chiara Levra Levron, Nil Campamà Sanz, Maria Eleni Kastriti, Marja L. Mikkola, Michael Rendl, Beate M. Lichtenberger, Giacomo Donati, Åsa K. Björklund, Maria Kasper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A wealth of specialized cell populations within the skin facilitates its hair-producing, protective, sensory, and thermoregulatory functions. How the vast cell-type diversity and tissue architecture develops is largely unexplored. Here, with single-cell transcriptomics, spatial cell-type assignment, and cell-lineage tracing, we deconstruct early embryonic mouse skin during the key transitions from seemingly uniform developmental precursor states to a multilayered, multilineage epithelium, and complex dermal identity. We identify the spatiotemporal emergence of hair-follicle-inducing, muscle-supportive, and fascia-forming fibroblasts. We also demonstrate the formation of the panniculus carnosus muscle (PCM), sprouting blood vessels without pericyte coverage, and the earliest residence of mast and dendritic immune cells in skin. Finally, we identify an unexpected epithelial heterogeneity within the early single-layered epidermis and a signaling-rich periderm layer. Overall, this cellular and molecular blueprint of early skin development—which can be explored at—establishes histological landmarks and highlights unprecedented dynamic interactions among skin cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2140-2162.e5
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number20
StatePublished - 23 Oct 2023


  • embryonic development
  • fibroblast lineage divergence
  • hair follicle
  • lineage tracing
  • molecular and anatomical landmarks
  • mouse skin
  • panniculus carnosus muscle
  • periderm
  • single-cell RNA sequencing
  • spatial analysis


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