The new Hair-GEL gene expression library will give researchers an up close and personal view of stem cells and niche cells as they interact to form hair follicles.
The work, published in Developmental Cell, will specifically facilitate future attempts to make skin grafts with functional hair follicles or to regenerate lost hair in patients.
The team is sharing all data in an interactive, searchable Hair Gene Expression Library website (www.Hair-GEL.net). Researchers can query any gene of interest to see if it is present and/or specifically expressed in any one of the distinct cell types that compose embryonic skin.
“While this work provides the first high-resolution molecular study of hair follicle precursor cells, its true power comes from analyzing these cells in the context of the entire developing skin,” says lead study author Rachel Sennett, an MD/PhD student at Icahn School of Medicine of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.