The autosomal recessive gene hairless (hr) is responsible for the complete hairlessness in mice homozygous for this gene. Hair shedding that begins at the age of 10 days is caused by an abnormal cycle of hair follicle development disturbed at the catagen stage. This results in enhanced programmed cell death (apoptosis) and ultimately leads to the complete hair follicle destruction and shedding of all hairs by the age of three weeks. To study the phenotypic expression of the hr gene in a chimeric organism, we have obtained 12 chimeric mice hr/hr ↔ +/+ by means of aggregation of early embryos hr/hr and +/+. In chimeric mice, the hair shedding has begun two days later than in the hr/hr mice. By day 23 of postnatal development, hairless areas were present on the coat of chimeric mice or the latter were completely hairless depending on the percentage of the hr/hr mutant component. In four chimeras with high content of the mutant component (68–76%), the hair shedding process was similar to that in the hr/hr mice, though it was accomplished two days later. In three chimeras with 48–51% of the mutant component, alternating hairless and hair-covered bands were observed. These data suggest that the hr gene acts in epidermal cells of a hair follicle, because epidermal cell clones in embryonic skin migrate in the lateral–ventral direction coherently and without mixing. However, some chimeras displayed a pattern which was not so clear-cut: the band borders were illegible and hairs partly covered the hairless areas. In some chimeras, the uniform thinning of the coat was observed. Analysis of the effects of the hr mutant gene in chimeric mice differing in the ratio between mutant (hr/hr) and normal (+/+) components in tissues suggests that the hrgene acts in the epidermal cells of the hair follicle. The interactions between cells have an essential effect on the mode and degree of the hr gene expression, which leads to distortion of the “ectodermal” coat pattern in chimeras.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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