Stem cell renewal and differentiation are regulated by interactions with the niche. Although multiple cell populations have been identified in distinct anatomical compartments, little is known about niche-specific molecular factors. Using skin as a model system and combining single-cell RNA-seq data analysis, immunofluorescence, and transgenic mouse models, we show that the transmembrane protein embigin is specifically expressed in the sebaceous gland and that the number of embigin-expressing cells is negatively regulated by Wnt. The loss of embigin promotes exit from the progenitor compartment and progression toward differentiation, and also compromises lipid metabolism. Embigin modulates sebaceous niche architecture by affecting extracellular matrix organization and basolateral targeting of monocarboxylate transport. We discover through ligand screening that embigin is a direct fibronectin receptor, binding to the N-terminal fibronectin domain without impairing integrin function. Our results solve the long-standing question of how embigin regulates cell adhesion and demonstrate a mechanism that couples adhesion and metabolism.
|Number of pages||21|
|Publication status||Published - 20 Jun 2022|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|