- NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
The skin surface area varies flexibly in response to body shape changes. Skin homeostasis is maintained by stem cells residing in the basal layer of the interfollicular epidermis. However, how the interfollicular epidermal stem cells response to physiological body shape changes remains elusive. Here, we identify a highly proliferative interfollicular epidermal basal cell population in the rapidly expanding abdominal skin of pregnant mice. These cells express Tbx3 that is necessary for their propagation to drive skin expansion. The Tbx(3+) basal cells are generated from Axin(2+) interfollicular epidermal stem cells through planar-oriented asymmetric or symmetric cell divisions, and express transit-amplifying cell marker CD71. This biased division of Axin(2+) interfollicular epidermal stem cells is induced by Sfrp1 and Igfbp2 proteins secreted from dermal cells. The Tbx(3+) basal cells promote wound repair, which is enhanced by Sfrp1 and Igfbp2. This study elucidates the interfollicular epidermal stem cell/progeny organisation during pregnancy and suggests its application in regenerative medicine.
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