Lgr6+ stem cells and their progeny in mouse epidermis under regimens of exogenous skin carcinogenesis, and their absence in ensuing skin tumors
The dynamics and interactions between stem cell pools in the hair follicle (HF), sebaceous gland (SG), and interfollicular epidermis (IFE) of murine skin are still poorly understood. In this study, we used multicolor lineage tracing to mark Lgr6⁺ -expressing basal cells in the HF isthmus, SG, and IFE.We show that these Lgr6⁺ cells constitute long-term self-renewing populations within each compartment in adult skin. Quantitative analysis of clonal dynamics revealed that the Lgr6⁺ progenitor cells compete neutrally in the IFE, isthmus, and SG, indicating population asymmetry as the underlying mode of tissue renewal. Transcriptional profiling of Lgr6⁺ and Lgr6⁺ cells did not reveal a distinct Lgr6⁺ -associated gene expression signature, raising the question of whether Lgr6⁺ expression requires extrinsic niche signals. Our results elucidate the interrelation and behavior of Lgr6⁺ populations in the IFE, HF, and SG and suggest population asymmetry as a common mechanism for homeostasis in several epithelial skin compartments.