Msx2 and Foxn1 regulate nail homeostasis

Jing Cai, Liang Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions underlie the foundation for ectodermal appendage formation. Signal molecules such as BMPs and WNTs mediate crosstalk between the two tissue layers and coordinate both the induction and morphogenesis of ectodermal appendages. Here, we analyzed the function of two BMP downstream transcription factors, Msx2 and Foxn1, in nail differentiation. First, we show that Msx2 function is required during onychocyte (nail cell) terminal differentiation. Second, the Msx2/Foxn1/hair keratin pathway controlling hair differentiation is also conserved during onychocyte differentiation. Finally, the Msx2-/-; Foxn1-/- double-mutant nails exhibit a more severe phenotype than either single mutant including nail bed hyperplasia. Together, our data implicate important functions for Msx2 and Foxn1 in regulating differentiation of the keratogenous zone, proliferation of distal nail matrix cells, and organization of the nail bed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-459
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Differentiation
  • Foxn1
  • Hyperplasia
  • Keratogenous zone
  • Msx2
  • Nail bed
  • Transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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