The mouse hairy ears mutation exhibits an extended growth (anagen) phase in hair follicles and altered Hoxc gene expression in the ears.

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Chromosome-Mapping, Cloning-Molecular, Ear, Female, Gene-Expression-Regulation, Genotype, Hair, Homeodomain-Proteins, Inversion-Chromosome, Male, Mice, Mutation

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Vet Dermatol 2008 Dec; 19(6):358-67.


The mouse In(15)2Rl (hairy ears, Eh) mutation is a paracentric inversion of the distal half of chromosome 15 (Chr 15). Heterozygous Eh/+ mice display misshaped and hairy ears that have more and longer hair than the ears of their wild-type littermates. We mapped, cloned and sequenced both inversion breakpoints. No protein-coding transcript was disrupted by either breakpoint. The proximal breakpoint is located between syntrophin basic 1 (Sntb1) and hyaluronan synthase 2 (Has2), and the distal breakpoint maps between homeobox C4 (Hoxc4) and single-strand selective monofunctional uracil DNA glycosylase (Smug1), near the middle and the telomere ends of Chr 15, respectively. The inversion spans ~47 megabases. Our genetic analysis suggests that the hairy-ear phenotype is caused by the proximal breakpoint of the inversion-bearing Chr 15. Quantitative RNA analysis by real-time polymerase chain reaction for the genes flanking the breakpoint indicated no changes in expression levels except for some homeobox C (Hoxc) genes whose expression was elevated in developing and mature skin of the ears but not of other body regions. The increased hair length on the ears of Eh/+ mice was due to an extension of the anagen stage in the hair cycle, as determined by histological analysis. Our data indicate that the Eh phenotype arises from mis-expression of Hoxc genes.