"Win (wnt) your hair back!", thanks to wen-hui lien


The Stem Cell Biology and Development (SCBD) team of Wen-Hui Lien published an important study in the high-impact journal Nature Communications. This work unravels a previously unrecognized role of a Wnt receptor, ROR2, in regulation of Wnt signaling and DNA damage response that are crucial for skin stem cell self-renewal and maintenance.

An illustrating model summarizing this study that highlights the roles of ROR2 not only in regulating Wnt-activated signaling that is responsible for hair follicle stem cell activation and self-renewal, but also in maintaining proper DNA damage response, which is indispensable for the long-term maintenance of stem cells.

Wnt signaling functions in adult tissue homeostasis and tumor development. Using mouse genetic models and cell culture system, researchers discover the essential roles of ROR2 not only in transducing Wnt signaling that is required for hair follicle stem cell activation, but also in maintaining proper DNA damage response that is crucial for the long-term stem cell maintenance. By generating double mutant mice, they further identify a compensatory role of ROR2 and its downstream protein PKC in protecting stem cells from the loss of their pool. Their findings shed light on the regulatory role of ROR2 in hair regeneration and skin stem cell maintenance, which in turn suggests ROR2 as a therapeutic target to cure hair loss.

Wen-Hui Lien's team

From left to right: Anthony Veltri, Bahar Zafarani, Chim Kei Chan, Wen-Hui Lien, Gaia Cangiotti and Christopher Lang

Article describing this research

ROR2 regulates self-renewal and maintenance of hair follicle stem cells.

Veltri A*, Lang CMR*, Cangiotti G, Chan CK, Lien W-H. (* co-first authors)

Nat Commun. 2022 Aug 1;13(1):4449. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-32239-7


This work was supported by FNRS (Ulysse-F.6002.14 and PDR-T.0078.16), Fonds Joseph Maisin, and Fondation Contre le Cancer (FAF-F/2016/792).