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PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51956. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051956. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Differentiating inbred mouse strains from each other and those with single gene mutations using hair proteomics.

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Department of Environmental Toxicology and Forensic Science Graduate Program, University of California Davis, Davis, California, USA.


Mutant laboratory mice with distinctive hair phenotypes are useful for identifying genes responsible for hair diseases. The work presented here demonstrates that shotgun proteomic profiling can distinguish hair shafts from different inbred mouse strains. For this purpose, analyzing the total hair shaft provided better discrimination than analyzing the isolated solubilized and particulate (cross-linked) fractions. Over 100 proteins exhibited significant differences among the 11 strains and 5 mutant stocks across the wide spectrum of strains surveyed. Effects on the profile of single gene mutations causing hair shaft defects were profound. Since the hair shaft provides a discrete sampling of the species proteome, with constituents serving important functions in epidermal appendages and throughout the body, this work provides a foundation for non-invasive diagnosis of genetic diseases of hair and perhaps other tissues.

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