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Cell. 2018 Nov 29;175(6):1620-1633.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.10.013. Epub 2018 Nov 8.

Positional Stability and Membrane Occupancy Define Skin Fibroblast Homeostasis In Vivo.

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Department of Genetics, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.
Department of Genetics, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA; Departments of Dermatology & Cell Biology, Yale Stem Cell Center, Yale Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA. Electronic address:


Fibroblasts are an essential cellular and structural component of our organs. Despite several advances, the critical behaviors that fibroblasts utilize to maintain their homeostasis in vivo have remained unclear. Here, by tracking the same skin fibroblasts in live mice, we show that fibroblast position is stable over time and that this stability is maintained despite the loss of neighboring fibroblasts. In contrast, fibroblast membranes are dynamic during homeostasis and extend to fill the space of lost neighboring fibroblasts in a Rac1-dependent manner. Positional stability is sustained during aging despite a progressive accumulation of gaps in fibroblast nuclei organization, while membrane occupancy continues to be maintained. This work defines positional stability and cell occupancy as key principles of skin fibroblast homeostasis in vivo, throughout the lifespan of mice, and identifies membrane extension in the absence of migration as the core cellular mechanism to carry out these principles.


aging; cell behaviors; fibroblasts; intravital imaging; mesenchyme; skin homeostasis

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