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Exp Dermatol. 1998 Oct;7(5):281-8.

Molecular basis for the rhino Yurlovo (hr(rhY)) phenotype: severe skin abnormalities and female reproductive defects associated with an insertion in the hairless gene.

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Department of Dermatology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


In 1989, mice bearing mutations at the hr (hairless) locus were first proposed as a model for the human hair growth disorder papular atrichia, since in both these mice and in corresponding patients, a complete hair loss develops due to disintegration of the normal follicle structure into dermal cysts and so-called utriculi. Recently, the human hairless gene was characterized, and pathogenetic mutations were found to be associated with a recessively inherited form atrichia with papular lesions; however, the functions of hr gene remain unclear. Allelic mutations in the murine hairless gene represent a potentially powerful tool to elucidate the role of the hairless gene protein product in hair follicle physiology. In 1980, several naked animals were discovered in a breeding colony of B10.R109/Y mice maintained in the Laboratory of Experimental Biological Models (L.E.B.M., Yurlovo, Moscow District, Russia). By cross breeding with hairless HRS/J hr/hr mice, this mutation was shown to be allelic with hairless. Here, we describe the molecular basis of the hr(rhY) mutation in mice, which consists of a 13 bp insertion in exon 16 of the hr gene. Histological evaluation of Yurlovo mouse skin revealed some differences as compared to the hairless and rhino mutations, with the formation of dermal megacysts being the most specific peculiarity of the Yurlovo mutation. These results, together with previous studies of hr(rhY)/hr(rhY) mutant mice, suggest that the rhino Yurlovo (hr(rhY)) mutation represents a third and potentially more severe variation of the hairless phenotype.

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