The switch between black and yellow pigment is mediated by the interaction between Melanocortin receptor 1 (Mc1r) and its antagonist Agouti, but the genetic and developmental mechanic ms that modify this interaction to obtain different coat color in distinct environments are poorly understood. Here, the role of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the regulation of pigment-type switching was studied. Loss and gain of function of β-catenin in the dermal papilla (DP) of the hair follicle results in yellow and black animals, respectively.β-Catenin activity in the DP suppresses Agouti expression and activates Corin, a negative regulator of Agouti activity. In addition, β-catenin activity in the DP regulates melanocyte activity by a mechanism that is independent of both Agouti and Corin. The coordinate and inverse regulation of Agouti and Corin renders pelage pigmentation sensitive to changes in β-catenin activity in the DP that do not alter pelage structure. As a result, the signals that specify two biologically distinct quantitative traits are partially uncoupled despite their common regulation by the β-catenin pathway in the same cells.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - 14 Dec 2010|