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Cell Death Dis. 2013 Nov 14;4:e922. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2013.426.

miR-24 affects hair follicle morphogenesis targeting Tcf-3.

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1] Medical Research Council, Toxicology Unit, Leicester University, Leicester LE1 9HN, Leicester, UK [2] Biochemistry Laboratory IDI-IRCCS and University of Rome 'Tor Vergata', Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, Rome 00133, Italy.


During embryonic development, hair follicles (HFs) develop from an epidermal-mesenchymal cross talk between the ectoderm progenitor layer and the underlying dermis. Epidermal stem cell activation represents a crucial point both for HF morphogenesis and for hair regeneration. miR-24 is an anti-proliferative microRNA (miRNA), which is induced during differentiation of several cellular systems including the epidermis. Here, we show that miR-24 is expressed in the HF and has a role in hair morphogenesis. We generated transgenic mice ectopically expressing miR-24 under the K5 promoter. The K5::miR-24 animals display a marked defect in HF morphogenesis, with thinning of hair coat and altered HF structure. Expression of miR-24 alters the normal process of hair keratinocyte differentiation, leading to altered expression of differentiation markers. MiR-24 directly represses the hair keratinocyte stemness regulator Tcf-3. These results support the notion that microRNAs, and among them miR-24, have an important role in postnatal epidermal homeostasis.

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