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Fantauzzo, KA, Kurban, M, Levy, B and Christiano, AM (2012) Trps1 and its target gene Sox9 regulate epithelial proliferation in the developing hair follicle and are associated with hypertrichosis. PLoS Genet. 8:e1003002
Hereditary hypertrichoses are a group of hair overgrowth syndromes that are extremely rare in humans. We have previously demonstrated that a position effect on TRPS1 is associated with hypertrichosis in humans and mice. To gain insight into the functional role of Trps1, we analyzed the late morphogenesis vibrissae phenotype of Trps1(Δgt) mutant mice, which is characterized by follicle degeneration after peg downgrowth has been initiated. We found that Trps1 directly represses expression of the hair follicle stem cell regulator Sox9 to control proliferation of the follicle epithelium. Furthermore, we identified a copy number variation upstream of SOX9 in a family with hypertrichosis that significantly decreases expression of the gene in the hair follicle, providing new insights into the long-range regulation of SOX9. Our findings uncover a novel transcriptional hierarchy that regulates epithelial proliferation in the developing hair follicle and contributes to the pathology of hypertrichosis.