Tracking skin and immune cell interactions
Melanoma formation by follicular melanocyte stem cells [Meeting Abstract]
Melanoma, the most lethal form of skin cancer, is rarely curable at its advanced stages. The early events of this disease, during which treatment would be beneficial, remain poorly elucidated. Melanocyte stem cells (McSCs) residing in the hair follicle niche have been proposed to be a cell-of-origin for melanoma. To understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating the initiation and progression of McSC derived melanoma, we have established a novel c-Kit- CreER-driven melanoma mouse model that enabled us to \target McSCs and trace their oncogenic behaviors. Using this model, we showed that oncogenic McSCs first expand in the niche and then migrate to the epidermis to form epidermal melanoma that later invade into the underlying dermis and undergo metastasis. Furthermore, Wnt and Endothelin signals, secreted by epithelial niche cells during hair anagen onset promoted the malignant transformation of McSCs to melanoma. Finally, transcriptional profiling revealed a strong resemblance between murine McSC-derived melanoma and human melanoma in heterogeneity and gene signatures. These results suggest that follicular McSCs can be an origin of melanoma and that follicular niche can control McSC oncogenic transformation. The similarities of McSC derived melanoma with human melanoma in epidermal to dermal progression, heterogeneity and gene expression suggest the potential utilization of this mouse model as a pre-clinical model for human melanoma
Phagocytosis of Wnt inhibitor SFRP4 by late wound macrophages drives chronic Wnt activity for fibrotic skin healing
Human and murine skin wounding commonly results in fibrotic scarring, but the murine wounding model wound-induced hair neogenesis (WIHN) can frequently result in a regenerative repair response. Here, we show in single-cell RNA sequencing comparisons of semi-regenerative and fibrotic WIHN wounds, increased expression of phagocytic/lysosomal genes in macrophages associated with predominance of fibrotic myofibroblasts in fibrotic wounds. Investigation revealed that macrophages in the late wound drive fibrosis by phagocytizing dermal Wnt inhibitor SFRP4 to establish persistent Wnt activity. In accordance, phagocytosis abrogation resulted in transient Wnt activity and a more regenerative healing. Phagocytosis of SFRP4 was integrin-mediated and dependent on the interaction of SFRP4 with the EDA splice variant of fibronectin. In the human skin condition hidradenitis suppurativa, phagocytosis of SFRP4 by macrophages correlated with fibrotic wound repair. These results reveal that macrophages can modulate a key signaling pathway via phagocytosis to alter the skin wound healing fate.
Oncogenic melanocyte stem cells, driven by regenerative niche signals, give rise to heterogeneous melanoma resembling human melanoma [Meeting Abstract]
The Seed Tends to the Soil: Hair Follicle Stem Cells Remodel Their Lymphatic Niche
Hair follicle stem cells may themselves regulate the niche environment for hair follicle regrowth. A recent Science paper from Elaine Fuchs and colleagues (Gur-Cohen etÂ al., 2019) suggests that this involves regulation of the lymphatic system and may have implications in understanding tissue regeneration.
A novel mouse model demonstrates that oncogenic melanocyte stem cells engender melanoma resembling human disease
Melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, remains largely incurable at advanced stages. Currently, there is a lack of animal models that resemble human melanoma initiation and progression. Recent studies using a Tyr-CreER driven mouse model have drawn contradictory conclusions about the potential of melanocyte stem cells (McSCs) to form melanoma. Here, we employ a c-Kit-CreER-driven model that specifically targets McSCs to show that oncogenic McSCs are a bona fide source of melanoma that expand in the niche, and then establish epidermal melanomas that invade into the underlying dermis. Further, normal Wnt and Endothelin niche signals during hair anagen onset are hijacked to promote McSC malignant transformation during melanoma induction. Finally, molecular profiling reveals strong resemblance of murine McSC-derived melanoma to human melanoma in heterogeneity and gene signatures. These findings provide experimental validation of the human melanoma progression model and key insights into the transformation and heterogeneity of McSC-derived melanoma.
Adult hair follicles keep oncogenic growth in check [Comment]
Recent research shows that potentially cancerous, somatic mutations can reside in normal cells. Pineda et al. (2019. J. Cell Biol. https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.201907178) report on a unique management technique by hair follicle stem cells to evade tumorigenesis.
Melanocyte stem cells in regeneration and cancer [Meeting Abstract]
Melanocyte stem cells (McSCs) reside in the hair follicle bulge/secondary hair germ niche where they are essential for hair pigmentation and have the potential to also regulate epidermal pigmentation. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that govern these stem cells holds broad implications in pigmentation disorders including hair graying, vitiligo and melanoma. We show that Wnt signaling is temporarily activated in McSCs at the onset of hair follicle regeneration and is necessary and sufficient for their differentiation. We also show that endothelin receptor B signaling promotes proliferation and differentiation of McSCs, thereby dramatically enhances regeneration of hair and epidermal melanocytes. This effect however can only be seen in the presence of active Wnt signaling that is initiated by Wnt ligand secretion from epithelial niche. Upon skin injury or UVB irradiation, Wnt signaling and Edn signaling promote McSCs to regenerate epidermal melanocytes in the skin. Finally, we show that Wnt and Edn signals, secreted during melanocyte regeneration, can be hijacked to promote McSC malignant transformation during melanoma induction
Hedgehog stimulates hair follicle neogenesis by creating inductive dermis during murine skin wound healing
Mammalian wounds typically heal by fibrotic repair without hair follicle (HF) regeneration. Fibrosis and regeneration are currently considered the opposite end of wound healing. This study sought to determine if scar could be remodeled to promote healing with HF regeneration. Here, we identify that activation of the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway reinstalls a regenerative dermal niche, called dermal papilla, which is required and sufficient for HF neogenesis (HFN). Epidermal Shh overexpression or constitutive Smoothened dermal activation results in extensive HFN in wounds that otherwise end in scarring. While long-term Wnt activation is associated with fibrosis, Shh signal activation in Wnt active cells promotes the dermal papilla fate in scarring wounds. These studies demonstrate that mechanisms of scarring and regeneration are not distant from one another and that wound repair can be redirected to promote regeneration following injury by modifying a key dermal signal.
Dissecting Wnt signaling for melanocyte regulation during wound healing
Abnormal pigmentation is commonly seen in the wound scar. Despite advancements in the research of wound healing, little is known about the repopulation of melanocytes in the healed skin. Previous studies have demonstrated the capacity of melanocyte stem cells (McSCs) in the hair follicle to contribute skin epidermal melanocytes following injury in mice and humans. Here, we focused on the Wnt pathway, known to be a vital regulator of McSCs in efforts to better understand the regulation of follicle-derived epidermal melanocytes during wound healing. We showed that transgenic expression of Wnt inhibitor, Dkk1 in melanocytes reduced epidermal melanocytes in the wound scar. Conversely, forced activation of Wnt signaling by genetically stabilizing Î²-catenin in melanocytes increases epidermal melanocytes. Furthermore, we reveal that deletion of Wntless, a gene required for Wnt ligand secretion, within epithelial cells, results in failure in activating Wnt signaling in adjacent epidermal melanocytes. These results reveal the essential function of extrinsic Wnt ligands to initiate Wnt signaling in follicle-derived epidermal melanocytes during wound healing. Collectively, our results suggest the potential for Wnt signal regulation to promote melanocyte regeneration and provide a potential molecular window to promote proper melanocyte regeneration following wounding as well as in conditions such as vitiligo.