The hair follicle (HF) is a complex miniorgan that serves as an ideal model system to study stem cell (SC) interactions with the niche during growth and regeneration. Dermal papilla (DP) cells are required for SC activation during the adult hair cycle, but signal exchange between niche and SC precursors/transit-amplifying cell (TAC) progenitors that regulates HF morphogenetic growth is largely unknown. Here we use six transgenic reporters to isolate 14 major skin and HF cell populations. With next-generation RNA sequencing, we characterize their transcriptomes and define unique molecular signatures. SC precursors, TACs, and the DP niche express a plethora of ligands and receptors. Signaling interaction network analysis reveals a bird's-eye view of pathways implicated in epithelial-mesenchymal interactions. Using a systematic tissue-wide approach, this work provides a comprehensive platform, linked to an interactive online database, to identify and further explore the SC/TAC/niche crosstalk regulating HF growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3001-3018
Number of pages18
JournalCell Reports
Issue number12
StatePublished - 29 Mar 2016


  • Big data
  • Dermal papilla
  • Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions
  • Hair follicle
  • Hair growth
  • Progenitors
  • Signaling networks
  • Stem cell niche
  • Stem cells
  • Systems biology
  • Transcriptomics


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