Development

A wild hair day for mice

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Science  25 Sep 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6255, pp. 1501-1502
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6255.1501-b

Petting your cat backward will probably elicit a not-so-friendly response. This is because a cat's fur grows from hair follicles that have a specific orientation. Proteins that make up the planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling pathway, which regulate the polarization of groups of cells on a plane, help orient hair follicle growth in many vertebrates. Chang et al. now report on an intriguing mouse strain that has a ridge of hair across their backs where the hair follicles are oriented in the opposite direction. Mutations in the genes that encode Frizzled 6, a PCP protein, and Astrotactin2, known for its role in guiding migrating neurons, are responsible for giving the mice such a wild hairdo.

PLOS Genet. 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005532 (2015).

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