Phylogenetic and Evolutionary Analyses of the Frizzled Gene Family in Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) Provide Insights into Gene Expansion from Whole-Genome Duplications.
Hair whorls and other macroscopic hair patterns are found in a variety of mammalian species, including humans. We show here that Frizzled6 (Fz6), one member of a large family of integral membrane Wnt receptors, controls macroscopic hair patterning in the mouse. Fz6 is expressed in the skin and hair follicles, and targeted deletion of the Fz6 gene produces stereotyped whorls on the hind feet, variable whorls and tufts on the head, and misorientation of hairs on the torso. Embryo chimera experiments imply that Fz6 acts locally to control or propagate the macroscopic hair pattern and that epithelial cells rather than melanocytes are the source of Fz6-dependent signaling. The Fz6 phenotype strongly resembles the wing-hair and bristle patterning defects observed in Drosophila frizzled mutants. These data imply that hair patterning in mammals uses a Fz-dependent tissue polarity system similar to the one that patterns the Drosophila cuticle.