Pitx2, a beta-catenin-regulated transcription factor, regulates the differentiation of outer root sheath cells cultured in vitro.
BACKGROUND: Beta-catenin exerts its crucial role in hair follicle development and hair growth cycle. Although the importance of Wnt/beta-catenin is well recognized, the downstream effectors of beta-catenin have not been clearly elucidated yet. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to identify the beta-catenin-regulated genes in cultured human hair outer root sheath (ORS) cells. METHODS: We transduced ORS cells with adenovirus harboring the expression cassette for constitutive active form of beta-catenin, then performed cDNA microarray. RESULTS: Overexpression of beta-catenin led to the upregulation of hair cell differentiation markers such as keratin 16 and 17. In addition, the expression of Pitx2, a bicoid-type homeodomain transcription factor, was also increased by overexpression of beta-catenin in ORS cells cultured in vitro. To investigate the potential role of Pitx2, we made the recombinant adenovirus expressing Pitx2, then transduced into the cultured ORS cells. Interestingly, Pitx2 induced the expression of keratin 16 and 17, indicating that Pitx2 activates ORS cells towards the follicular differentiation pathway preferentially. CONCLUSION: Our results implicate the potential importance of Pitx2 as a beta-catenin downstream modulator in hair growth control.