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Stem cells cycle through active and quiescent states. Large populations of stem cells in an organ may cycle randomly or in a coordinated manner. Although stem cell cycling within single hair follicles has been studied, less is known about regenerative behavior in a hair follicle population. By combining predictive mathematical modeling with in vivo studies in mice and rabbits, we show that a follicle progresses through cycling stages by continuous integration of inputs from intrinsic follicular and extrinsic environmental signals based on universal patterning principles. Signaling from the WNT/bone morphogenetic protein activator/inhibitor pair is coopted to mediate interactions among follicles in the population. This regenerative strategy is robust and versatile because relative activator/inhibitor strengths can be modulated easily, adapting the organism to different physiological and evolutionary needs.

Original publication

DOI

10.1126/science.1201647

Type

Journal article

Journal

Science

Publication Date

29/04/2011

Volume

332

Pages

586 - 589

Keywords

Animals, Bone Morphogenetic Proteins, Computer Simulation, Hair Follicle, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Transgenic, Models, Biological, Rabbits, Regeneration, Signal Transduction, Stem Cells, Stochastic Processes, Wnt Proteins