Thomas Andl
Faculty Member
Last active: 3/20/2014


Thomas Andl Lab

The field of dermatology is riddled with many problems that expect solutions from modern biomedicine. Several biologicals/biotherapeutical approaches such as anti-TNFalpha antibodies have already made their impact in the daily treatment of dermatology patients. However, many challenges are still ahead. We still have to fill many gaps in our understanding of biological processes in the skin. For example until recently, an entire class of small regulatory RNA molecules, microRNAs, had remained undetected. Their emergence as important players in virtually all tissues and signaling pathways has led us to explore their significance for skin biology.

Therefore, the focus of the lab is to learn about the role of these tiny guides of RNA-induced silencing complexes (RISCs) in gene expression regulation. Loss of microRNAs during skin development causes severe disruption of hair formation and proper epidermal function. The complex phenotype caused by Dicer loss in the epidermis and hair follicles indicate a crucial role of a set of microRNAs and/or individual members in several cutaneous cell types. Our approach is to identify individual microRNAs with key functions and define their mechanism of action.

The first microRNA we have identified to be of interest for cutaneous biology is miR-31. We have shown that miR-31 is involved in hair biology, hair growth, nail growth, the response to wounding and the phorbol ester, TPA. Important factors of skin homeostasis such as TNFa, TGFb, and EGF can induce miR-31 expression. Based on our mouse model of miR-31 overexpression and our data on its target gene spectrum, we have developed a keen interest in answering basic questions about microRNA biology: Do individual microRNAs have conserved functions in animals and fulfill them by using a diverse set of conserved and non-conserved target genes? What is the half-life of microRNAs in vivo? Do they get exported to the blood, and if so, how? Is target gene co-regulation by different microRNAs common and what could it mean for microRNA target gene analysis? What is the overall impact of an individual microRNA on gene expression regulation? If microRNAs function as “buffers” of gene expression networks, how much does it really matter if the concentration of the “buffer” changes?

We will use miR-31 as our prototypic microRNA and test whether miR-31 indeed buffers expression patterns and signaling pathways against unwanted fluctuations, define which pathways exactly are influenced by miR-31, define whether it can be “exported” to the blood stream, and measure how stable it is, whether its target gene spectrum is highly conserved between species and cell types or involves many non-conserved target genes.


The following timeline graph is generated from all co-authored publications.

Featured publications are shown below:

  1. Characterization of the Merkel Cell Carcinoma miRNome. Ning MS, Kim AS, Prasad N, Levy SE, Zhang H, Andl T (2014) J Skin Cancer : 289548
    › Primary publication · 24627810 (PubMed) · PMC3929981 (PubMed Central)
  2. Control by a hair's breadth: the role of microRNAs in the skin. Ning MS, Andl T (2013) Cell Mol Life Sci 70(7): 1149-69
    › Primary publication · 22983383 (PubMed) · PMC3548021 (PubMed Central)
  3. Inducible deletion of epidermal Dicer and Drosha reveals multiple functions for miRNAs in postnatal skin. Teta M, Choi YS, Okegbe T, Wong G, Tam OH, Chong MM, Seykora JT, Nagy A, Littman DR, Andl T, Millar SE (2012) Development 139(8): 1405-16
    › Primary publication · 22434867 (PubMed) · PMC3308177 (PubMed Central)
  4. Self-organizing and stochastic behaviors during the regeneration of hair stem cells. Plikus MV, Baker RE, Chen CC, Fare C, de la Cruz D, Andl T, Maini PK, Millar SE, Widelitz R, Chuong CM (2011) Science 332(6029): 586-9
    › Primary publication · 21527712 (PubMed) · PMC3321266 (PubMed Central)
  5. beta-Catenin initiates tooth neogenesis in adult rodent incisors. Liu F, Dangaria S, Andl T, Zhang Y, Wright AC, Damek-Poprawa M, Piccolo S, Nagy A, Taketo MM, Diekwisch TG, Akintoye SO, Millar SE (2010) J Dent Res 89(9): 909-14
    › Primary publication · 20530729 (PubMed) · PMC3148824 (PubMed Central)
  6. DKK1 mediated inhibition of Wnt signaling in postnatal mice leads to loss of TEC progenitors and thymic degeneration. Osada M, Jardine L, Misir R, Andl T, Millar SE, Pezzano M (2010) PLoS One 5(2): e9062
    › Primary publication · 20161711 (PubMed) · PMC2817005 (PubMed Central)
  7. Defining the hair follicle stem cell (Part II). Myung P, Andl T, Ito M (2009) J Cutan Pathol 36(10): 1134-7
    › Primary publication · 19712246 (PubMed)
  8. Defining the hair follicle stem cell (Part I). Myung P, Andl T, Ito M (2009) J Cutan Pathol 36(9): 1031-4
    › Primary publication · 19674210 (PubMed)
  9. Reciprocal requirements for EDA/EDAR/NF-kappaB and Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathways in hair follicle induction. Zhang Y, Tomann P, Andl T, Gallant NM, Huelsken J, Jerchow B, Birchmeier W, Paus R, Piccolo S, Mikkola ML, Morrisey EE, Overbeek PA, Scheidereit C, Millar SE, Schmidt-Ullrich R (2009) Dev Cell 17(1): 49-61
    › Primary publication · 19619491 (PubMed) · PMC2859042 (PubMed Central)
  10. miRNAs: Miracle or Mirage?: The Limes Against the Barbaric Floods of Leaky and Undesired Transcripts. Andl T (2007) Organogenesis 3(1): 25-33
    › Primary publication · 19279697 (PubMed) · PMC2649616 (PubMed Central)
  11. Pathological responses to oncogenic Hedgehog signaling in skin are dependent on canonical Wnt/beta3-catenin signaling. Yang SH, Andl T, Grachtchouk V, Wang A, Liu J, Syu LJ, Ferris J, Wang TS, Glick AB, Millar SE, Dlugosz AA (2008) Nat Genet 40(9): 1130-5
    › Primary publication · 19165927 (PubMed) · PMC2688690 (PubMed Central)
  12. A mammalian microRNA cluster controls DNA methylation and telomere recombination via Rbl2-dependent regulation of DNA methyltransferases. Benetti R, Gonzalo S, Jaco I, Muñoz P, Gonzalez S, Schoeftner S, Murchison E, Andl T, Chen T, Klatt P, Li E, Serrano M, Millar S, Hannon G, Blasco MA (2008) Nat Struct Mol Biol 15(9): 998
    › Primary publication · 18769471 (PubMed)
  13. Activation of beta-catenin signaling programs embryonic epidermis to hair follicle fate. Zhang Y, Andl T, Yang SH, Teta M, Liu F, Seykora JT, Tobias JW, Piccolo S, Schmidt-Ullrich R, Nagy A, Taketo MM, Dlugosz AA, Millar SE (2008) Development 135(12): 2161-72
    › Primary publication · 18480165 (PubMed) · PMC2516408 (PubMed Central)
  14. A mammalian microRNA cluster controls DNA methylation and telomere recombination via Rbl2-dependent regulation of DNA methyltransferases. Benetti R, Gonzalo S, Jaco I, Muñoz P, Gonzalez S, Schoeftner S, Murchison E, Andl T, Chen T, Klatt P, Li E, Serrano M, Millar S, Hannon G, Blasco MA (2008) Nat Struct Mol Biol 15(3): 268-79
    › Primary publication · 18311151 (PubMed) · PMC2990406 (PubMed Central)
  15. Wnt/beta-catenin signaling directs multiple stages of tooth morphogenesis. Liu F, Chu EY, Watt B, Zhang Y, Gallant NM, Andl T, Yang SH, Lu MM, Piccolo S, Schmidt-Ullrich R, Taketo MM, Morrisey EE, Atit R, Dlugosz AA, Millar SE (2008) Dev Biol 313(1): 210-24
    › Primary publication · 18022614 (PubMed) · PMC2843623 (PubMed Central)
  16. Wnt-dependent de novo hair follicle regeneration in adult mouse skin after wounding. Ito M, Yang Z, Andl T, Cui C, Kim N, Millar SE, Cotsarelis G (2007) Nature 447(7142): 316-20
    › Primary publication · 17507982 (PubMed)
  17. Wnt-beta-catenin signaling initiates taste papilla development. Liu F, Thirumangalathu S, Gallant NM, Yang SH, Stoick-Cooper CL, Reddy ST, Andl T, Taketo MM, Dlugosz AA, Moon RT, Barlow LA, Millar SE (2007) Nat Genet 39(1): 106-12
    › Primary publication · 17128274 (PubMed)
  18. Lipid defect underlies selective skin barrier impairment of an epidermal-specific deletion of Gata-3. de Guzman Strong C, Wertz PW, Wang C, Yang F, Meltzer PS, Andl T, Millar SE, Ho IC, Pai SY, Segre JA (2006) J Cell Biol 175(4): 661-70
    › Primary publication · 17116754 (PubMed) · PMC2064601 (PubMed Central)
  19. The miRNA-processing enzyme dicer is essential for the morphogenesis and maintenance of hair follicles. Andl T, Murchison EP, Liu F, Zhang Y, Yunta-Gonzalez M, Tobias JW, Andl CD, Seykora JT, Hannon GJ, Millar SE (2006) Curr Biol 16(10): 1041-9
    › Primary publication · 16682203 (PubMed) · PMC2996092 (PubMed Central)
  20. Canonical WNT signaling promotes mammary placode development and is essential for initiation of mammary gland morphogenesis. Chu EY, Hens J, Andl T, Kairo A, Yamaguchi TP, Brisken C, Glick A, Wysolmerski JJ, Millar SE (2004) Development 131(19): 4819-29
    › Primary publication · 15342465 (PubMed)
  21. Expression of Frizzled genes in developing and postnatal hair follicles. Reddy ST, Andl T, Lu MM, Morrisey EE, Millar SE (2004) J Invest Dermatol 123(2): 275-82
    › Primary publication · 15245425 (PubMed)
  22. Epithelial Bmpr1a regulates differentiation and proliferation in postnatal hair follicles and is essential for tooth development. Andl T, Ahn K, Kairo A, Chu EY, Wine-Lee L, Reddy ST, Croft NJ, Cebra-Thomas JA, Metzger D, Chambon P, Lyons KM, Mishina Y, Seykora JT, Crenshaw EB, Millar SE (2004) Development 131(10): 2257-68
    › Primary publication · 15102710 (PubMed)
  23. WNT signals are required for the initiation of hair follicle development. Andl T, Reddy ST, Gaddapara T, Millar SE (2002) Dev Cell 2(5): 643-53
    › Primary publication · 12015971 (PubMed)
  24. Characterization of Wnt gene expression in developing and postnatal hair follicles and identification of Wnt5a as a target of Sonic hedgehog in hair follicle morphogenesis. Reddy S, Andl T, Bagasra A, Lu MM, Epstein DJ, Morrisey EE, Millar SE (2001) Mech Dev 107(1-2): 69-82
    › Primary publication · 11520664 (PubMed)
  25. Cadherin repertoire determines partner-specific gap junctional communication during melanoma progression. Hsu M, Andl T, Li G, Meinkoth JL, Herlyn M (2000) J Cell Sci : 1535-42
    › Primary publication · 10751145 (PubMed)
  26. Expression and functional significance of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors in human tumor cells. Herold-Mende C, Steiner HH, Andl T, Riede D, Buttler A, Reisser C, Fusenig NE, Mueller MM (1999) Lab Invest 79(12): 1573-82
    › Primary publication · 10616207 (PubMed)
  27. Basic fibroblast growth factor induces a transformed phenotype in normal human melanocytes. Nesbit M, Nesbit HK, Bennett J, Andl T, Hsu MY, Dejesus E, McBrian M, Gupta AR, Eck SL, Herlyn M (1999) Oncogene 18(47): 6469-76
    › Primary publication · 10597249 (PubMed)
  28. Etiological involvement of oncogenic human papillomavirus in tonsillar squamous cell carcinomas lacking retinoblastoma cell cycle control. Andl T, Kahn T, Pfuhl A, Nicola T, Erber R, Conradt C, Klein W, Helbig M, Dietz A, Weidauer H, Bosch FX (1998) Cancer Res 58(1): 5-13
    › Primary publication · 9426048 (PubMed)
  29. Aberrant p21(CIP1/WAF1) protein accumulation in head-and-neck cancer. Erber R, Klein W, Andl T, Enders C, Born AI, Conradt C, Bartek J, Bosch FX (1997) Int J Cancer 74(4): 383-9
    › Primary publication · 9291426 (PubMed)
  30. [Significance of aberrant p53 protein in head-neck tumors and its effect on proliferation and differentiation]. Homann N, Andl T, Nees M, Schuhmann A, Herold-Mende C, Bosch FX (1993) HNO 41(5): 254-60
    › Primary publication · 8392993 (PubMed)
  31. Expression of mutated p53 occurs in tumor-distant epithelia of head and neck cancer patients: a possible molecular basis for the development of multiple tumors. Nees M, Homann N, Discher H, Andl T, Enders C, Herold-Mende C, Schuhmann A, Bosch FX (1993) Cancer Res 53(18): 4189-96
    › Primary publication · 8364914 (PubMed)