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Defining the epithelial stem cell niche in skin.

Many adult regenerative cells divide infrequently but have high proliferative capacity. We developed a strategy to fluorescently label slow-cycling cells in a cell type-specific fashion. We used this method to purify the label-retaining cells (LRCs) that mark the skin stem cell (SC) niche. We found that these cells rarely divide within their niche but change properties abruptly when stimulated to exit. We determined their transcriptional profile, which, when compared to progeny and other SCs, defines the niche. Many of the >100 messenger RNAs preferentially expressed in the niche encode surface receptors and secreted proteins, enabling LRCs to signal and respond to their environment.

Pubmed ID: 14671312


  • Tumbar T
  • Guasch G
  • Greco V
  • Blanpain C
  • Lowry WE
  • Rendl M
  • Fuchs E


Science (New York, N.Y.)

Publication Data

January 16, 2004

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NIAMS NIH HHS, Id: R01 AR050452
  • Agency: NIAMS NIH HHS, Id: R01 AR050452-04

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Separation
  • Epidermis
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Hair Follicle
  • Histones
  • Keratinocytes
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Multipotent Stem Cells
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transcription, Genetic