Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Stem Cell. 2013 Oct 3;13(4):471-82. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2013.07.010. Epub 2013 Aug 15.

The epidermis comprises autonomous compartments maintained by distinct stem cell populations.

Author information

Wellcome Trust - Medical Research Council Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, Tennis Court Road, CB2 1QR Cambridge, UK; Department of Oncology, University of Cambridge, CB2 0QQ Cambridge, UK.


The complex anatomy of the epidermis contains multiple adult stem cell populations, but the extent to which they functionally overlap during homeostasis, wound healing, and tumor initiation remains poorly defined. Here, we demonstrate that Lrig1(+ve) cells are highly proliferative epidermal stem cells. Long-term clonal analysis reveals that Lrig1(+ve) cells maintain the upper pilosebaceous unit, containing the infundibulum and sebaceous gland as independent compartments, but contribute to neither the hair follicle nor the interfollicular epidermis, which are maintained by distinct stem cell populations. In contrast, upon wounding, stem cell progeny from multiple compartments acquire lineage plasticity and make permanent contributions to regenerating tissue. We further show that oncogene activation in Lrig1(+ve) cells drives hyperplasia but requires auxiliary stimuli for tumor formation. In summary, our data demonstrate that epidermal stem cells are lineage restricted during homeostasis and suggest that compartmentalization may constitute a conserved mechanism underlying epithelial tissue maintenance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center