The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway plays important roles in the progression of colon cancer. DACT1 has been identified as a modulator of Wnt signaling through its interaction with Dishevelled (Dvl), a central mediator of both the canonical and noncanonical Wnt pathways. However, the functions of DACT1 in the WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway remain unclear. Here, we present evidence that DACT1 is an important positive regulator in colon cancer through regulating the stability and sublocation of β-catenin. We have shown that DACT1 promotes cancer cell proliferation in vitro and tumor growth in vivo and enhances the migratory and invasive potential of colon cancer cells. Furthermore, the higher expression of DACT1 not only increases the nuclear and cytoplasmic fractions of β-catenin, but also increases its membrane-associated fraction. The overexpression of DACT1 leads to the increased accumulation of nonphosphorylated β-catenin in the cytoplasm and particularly in the nuclei. We have demonstrated that DACT1 interacts with GSK-3β and β-catenin. DACT1 stabilizes β-catenin via DACT1-induced effects on GSK-3β and directly interacts with β-catenin proteins. The level of phosphorylated GSK-3β at Ser9 is significantly increased following the elevated expression of DACT1. DACT1 mediates the subcellular localization of β-catenin via increasing the level of phosphorylated GSK-3β at Ser9 to inhibit the activity of GSK-3β. Taken together, our study identifies DACT1 as an important positive regulator in colon cancer and suggests a potential strategy for the therapeutic control of the β-catenin-dependent pathway.
Dact proteins belong to the Dapper/Frodo protein family and function as cytoplasmic attenuators in Wnt and TGFβ signaling. Previous studies show that Dact1 is a potent Wnt signaling inhibitor by promoting degradation of β-catenin. We report a new mechanism for Dact2 function as an inhibitor of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway by interacting with PITX2. PITX2 is a downstream transcription factor in Wnt/β-catenin signaling, and PITX2 synergizes with Lef-1 to activate downstream genes. Immunohistochemistry verified the expression of Dact2 in the tooth epithelium, which correlated with Pitx2 epithelial expression. Dact2 loss of function and PITX2 gain of function studies reveal a feedback mechanism for controlling Dact2 expression. Pitx2 endogenously activates Dact2 expression and Dact2 feeds back to repress Pitx2 transcriptional activity. A Topflash reporter system was employed showing PITX2 activation of Wnt signaling, which is attenuated by Dact2. Transient transfections demonstrate the inhibitory effect of Dact2 on critical dental epithelial differentiation factors during tooth development. Dact2 significantly inhibits PITX2 activation of the Dlx2 and amelogenin promoters. Multiple lines of evidence conclude the inhibition is achieved by the physical interaction between Dact2 and Pitx2 proteins. The loss of function of Dact2 also reveals increased cell proliferation due to up-regulated Wnt downstream genes, cyclinD1 and cyclinD2. In summary, we have identified a novel role for Dact2 as an inhibitor of the canonical Wnt pathway in embryonic tooth development through its regulation of cell proliferation and differentiation.
Genetic and epigenetic defects in Wnt/β-catenin signaling play important roles in colorectal cancer progression. Here we identify DACT3, a member of the DACT (Dpr/Frodo) gene family, as a negative regulator of Wnt/β-catenin signaling that is transcriptionally repressed in colorectal cancer. Unlike other Wnt signaling inhibitors that are silenced by DNA methylation, DACT3 repression is associated with bivalent histone modifications. Remarkably, DACT3 expression can be robustly de-repressed by a pharmacological combination that simultaneously targets both histone methylation and deacetylation, leading to strong inhibition of Dishevelled (Dvl)-mediated Wnt/β-catenin signaling and massive apoptosis of colorectal cancer cells. Our study identifies DACT3 as an important regulator of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in colorectal cancer and suggests a potential strategy for therapeutic control of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in colorectal cancer.
The Dact family of scaffold proteins was discovered by virtue of binding to Dvl proteins central to Wnt and Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) signaling. Subsequently Dact proteins have been linked to a growing list of potential partners implicated in β-catenin-dependent and β-catenin-independent forms of Wnt and other signaling. To clarify conserved and non-conserved roles for this protein family, we systematically compared molecular interactions of all three murine Dact paralogs by co-immunoprecipitation of proteins recombinantly expressed in cultured human embryonic kidney cells.
Every Dact paralog readily formed complexes with the Vangl, Dvl, and CK1δ/ε proteins of species ranging from fruit flies to humans, as well as with PKA and PKC. Dact proteins also formed complexes with themselves and with each other; their conserved N-terminal leucine-zipper domains, which have no known binding partners, were necessary and sufficient for this interaction, suggesting that it reflects leucine-zipper-mediated homo- and hetero-dimerization. We also found weaker, though conserved, interactions of all three Dact paralogs with the catenin superfamily member p120ctn. Complex formation with other previously proposed partners including most other catenins, GSK3, LEF/TCF, HDAC1, and TGFβ receptors was paralog-specific, comparatively weak, and/or more sensitive to empirical conditions.
Combined with published functional evidence from targeted knock-out mice, these data support a conserved role for Dact proteins in kinase-regulated biochemistry involving Vangl and Dvl. This strongly suggests that a principal role for all Dact family members is in the PCP pathway or a molecularly related signaling cascade in vertebrates.
OBJECTIVE—Wnt signaling inhibits adipogenesis, but its regulation, physiological relevance, and molecular effectors are poorly understood. Here, we identify the Wnt modulator Dapper1/Frodo1 (Dact1) as a new preadipocyte gene involved in the regulation of murine and human adipogenesis.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—Changes in Dact1 expression were investigated in three in vitro models of adipogenesis. In vitro gain- and loss-of-function studies were used to investigate the mechanism of Dact1 action during adipogenesis. The in vivo regulation of Dact1 and Wnt/β-catenin signaling were investigated in murine models of altered nutritional status, of pharmacological stimulation of in vivo adipogenesis, and during the development of dietary and genetic obesity.
RESULTS—Dact1 is a preadipocyte gene that decreases during adipogenesis. However, Dact1 knockdown impairs adipogenesis through activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, and this is reversed by treatment with the secreted Wnt antagonist, secreted Frizzled-related protein 1 (Sfrp1). In contrast, constitutive Dact1 overexpression promotes adipogenesis and confers resistance to Wnt ligand-induced antiadipogenesis through increased expression of endogenous Sfrps and reduced expression of Wnts. In vivo, in white adipose tissue, Dact1 and Wnt/β-catenin signaling also exhibit coordinated expression profiles in response to altered nutritional status, in response to pharmacological stimulation of in vivo adipogenesis, and during the development of dietary and genetic obesity.
CONCLUSIONS—Dact1 regulates adipogenesis through coordinated effects on gene expression that selectively alter intracellular and paracrine/autocrine components of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. These novel insights into the molecular mechanisms controlling adipose tissue plasticity provide a functional network with therapeutic potential against diseases, such as obesity and associated metabolic disorders.
Dact1 (Dapper/Frodo), an intracellular phosphoprotein that binds Dishevelled, catenins, and other signaling proteins, is expressed in the developing and mature mammalian central nervous system, but its function there is unknown. Dact1 colocalized with synaptic markers and partitioned to postsynaptic fractions from cultured mouse forebrain neurons. Hippocampal neurons from Dact1 knockout mice had simpler dendritic arbors and fewer spines than hippocampal neurons from wild type littermates. This correlated with reductions in excitatory synapses and miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents, whereas inhibitory synapses were not affected. Loss of Dact1 resulted in a decrease in activated Rac, and recombinant expression of either Dact1 or constitutively active Rac, but not Rho or Cdc42, rescued dendrite and spine phenotypes in Dact1 mutant neurons. Our findings suggest that during neuronal differentiation Dact1 plays a critical role in a molecular pathway promoting Rac activity underlying the elaboration of dendrites and the establishment of spines and excitatory synapses.
Dendritic spine; Synapse; Rac; Dendrite; Forebrain; Hippocampus
Dapper homolog 1 (DACT1) is a disheveled partner in the planar cell polarity pathway. By using genome-wide promoter methylation screening, dapper homolog 1 (DACT1) was found to be frequently methylated in gastric cancer. We aim to clarify its epigenetic inactivation, biological function and clinical implication in gastric cancer. We demonstrated that DACT1 was silenced in 7 of 10 gastric cancer cell lines and in primary gastric cancers. Transcriptional gene silence of DACT1 was mainly regulated by promoter hypermethylation. Ectopic expression of DACT1 in silenced gastric cancer cell lines (AGS, BGC823 and MGC803) by stable transfection suppressed colony formation (P < 0.001), induced cell apoptosis (P < 0.01) and retarded tumorigenesis in nude mice (P < 0.001). The tumor suppressive effect of DACT1 was further confirmed by loss of DACT1 function experiment. The proapoptotic and antiproliferative effect by DACT1 was associated with inhibition of nuclear factor (NF)-κB activation and its downstream factors, including B-cell CLL/lymphoma-2, Bcl-X, interleukin-8 and tumor necrosis factor-α. Moreover, promoter methylation of DACT1 was detected in 29.3% (60/205) of primary gastric tumors. DACT1 methylation was significantly associated with tumor metastasis (P < 0.05), invasion (P < 0.05) and advanced tumor stage (P < 0.0005). These findings provided insight into the role of DACT1 as a novel functional tumor suppressor in gastric cancer through inhibiting NF-κB signaling pathway. Promoter methylation of DACT1 is associated with tumor aggressiveness.
Classical tissue recombination studies demonstrated that initiation of tooth development depends on activation of odontogenic potential in the mesenchyme by signals from the presumptive dental epithelium. Although several members of the Wnt family of signaling molecules are expressed in the presumptive dental epithelium at the beginning of tooth initiation, whether Wnt signaling is directly involved in the activation of the odontogenic mesenchyme has not been characterized. In this report, we show that tissue-specific inactivation of β-catenin, a central component of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway, in the developing tooth mesenchyme caused tooth developmental arrest at the bud stage in mice. We show that mesenchymal β-catenin function is required for expression of Lef1 and Fgf3 in the developing tooth mesenchyme and for induction of primary enamel knot in the developing tooth epithelium. Expression of Msx1 and Pax9, two essential tooth mesenchyme transcription factors downstream of Bmp and Fgf signaling, respectively, were not altered in the absence of β-catenin in the tooth mesenchyme. Moreover, we found that constitutive stabilization of β-catenin in the developing palatal mesenchyme induced aberrant palatal epithelial invaginations that resembled early tooth buds both morphologically and in epithelial molecular marker expression, but without activating expression of Msx1 and Pax9 in the mesenchyme. Together, these results indicate that activation of the mesenchymal odontogenic program during early tooth development requires concerted actions of Bmp, Fgf and Wnt signaling from the presumptive dental epithelium to the mesenchyme.
β-catenin; Cre/lox; epithelial-mesenchymal interaction; induction; odontogenic potential; signaling; tooth development; Wnt
Mice homozygous for mutations in Dact1 (Dpr/Frodo) phenocopy human malformations involving the spine, genitourinary system, and distal digestive tract. We trace this phenotype to disrupted germ layer morphogenesis at the primitive streak (PS). Remarkably, heterozygous mutation of Vangl2, a transmembrane component of the Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) pathway, rescues recessive Dact1 phenotypes, whereas loss of Dact1 reciprocally rescues semidominant Vangl2 phenotypes. We show that Dact1, an intracellular protein, forms a complex with Vangl2. In Dact1 mutants, Vangl2 is increased at the PS where cells ordinarily undergo an epithelial-mesenchymal transition. This is associated with abnormal E-cadherin distribution and changes in biochemical measures of the PCP pathway. We conclude that Dact1 contributes to morphogenesis at the PS by regulating Vangl2 upstream of cell adhesion and the PCP pathway.
Dact (Dapper Frodo); Vangl2 (Van Gogh Strabismus); PCP; Wnt; spina bifida; caudal regression; OEIS; primitive streak
Dysregulation of TGF beta 2, a modulator of cell growth and differentiation, can result in uncontrolled growth and tumor formation. Our comparative studies on the expression of TGF beta 2 mRNA and protein indicate that TGF beta 2 may primarily be a regulator of epithelial differentiation during tooth development (between 13 and 20 gestational wk) and tumorigenesis of odontogenic neoplasms. A paracrine mode of action for TGF beta 2 in early human tooth germ (cap/early bell stage) is suggested by location of mRNA in the mesenchyme surrounding the tooth germ, whereas protein is found in the epithelial dental lamina and enamel organ. During the late bell stage, TGF beta 2 gene expression shifted from the mesenchyme to the odontogenic epithelium and was colocalized with protein, suggesting an autocrine role for the terminal differentiation of ameloblasts. In odontogenic tumors of epithelial origin (ameloblastomas) and epithelial-ectomesencymal origin (ameloblastic fibromas), TGF beta 2 mRNA was mostly located in the mesenchymal tumor component and protein in the epithelial tumor component. Odontogenic ectomesenchymal tumors (myxomas) were not associated with TGF beta 2 mRNA and protein expression. The results imply that TGF beta 2 may play an important role in epithelial-mesenchymal interactions in human tooth morphogenesis and development of odontogenic tumors.
Wnt/β-catenin signaling is essential for tooth development beyond the bud stage, but little is known about the role of non-canonical Wnt signaling in odontogenesis. Here we compared the expression of Wnt5a, a representative of noncanonical Wnts, with that of Ror2, the Wnt5a receptor for non-canonical signaling, in the developing tooth, and analyzed tooth phenotype in Wnt5a mutants. Wnt5a deficient mice exhibit retarded tooth development beginning from E16.5, leading to the formation of smaller and abnormally patterned teeth with a delayed odontoblast differentiation at birth. These defects are associated with upregulated Axin2 and Shh expression in the dental epithelium and reduced levels of cell proliferation in the dental epithelium and mesenchyme. Retarded tooth development and defective odontoblast differentiation were also observed in Ror2 mutant mice. Our results suggest that Wnt5a regulates growth, patterning, and odontoblast differentiation during odontogenesis, at least partially by modulating Wnt/β-catenin canonical signaling.
Wnt5a; tooth development; patterning; growth
Mammalian tooth development depends on activation of odontogenic potential in the presumptive dental mesenchyme by the Msx1 and Pax9 transcription factors. We recently reported that the zinc finger transcription factor Osr2 was expressed in a lingual-to-buccal gradient pattern surrounding the developing mouse molar tooth germs and mice lacking Osr2 developed supernumerary teeth lingual to their molars. We report here generation of a gene-targeted mouse strain that allows conditional inactivation of Pax9 and subsequent activation of expression of Osr2 in the developing tooth mesenchyme from the Pax9 locus. Expression of Osr2 from one copy of the Pax9 locus did not disrupt normal tooth development but was sufficient to suppress supernumerary tooth formation in the Osr2−/− mutant mice. We found that endogenous Osr2 mRNA expression was significantly downregulated in the developing tooth mesenchyme in Pax9del/del mice. Mice lacking both Osr2 and Pax9 exhibited early tooth developmental arrest with significantly reduced Bmp4 and Msx1 mRNA expression in the developing tooth mesenchyme, similar to that in Pax9del/del mutants but in contrast to the rescue of tooth morphogenesis in Msx1−/−Osr2−/− double mutant mice. Furthermore, we found that Osr2 formed stable protein complexes with the Msx1 protein and interacted weakly with the Pax9 protein in co-transfected cells. These data indicate that Osr2 acts downstream of Pax9 and patterns the mesenchymal odontogenic field through protein-protein interactions with Msx1 and Pax9 during early tooth development.
Msx1; odd-skipped; odontogenic; Osr2; Pax9; tooth development
The dental follicle appears to regulate both the alveolar bone resorption and bone formation needed for tooth eruption. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha ( TNF-α) gene expression is maximally upregulated at postnatal day 9 in the rat dental follicle of the 1st mandibular molar, a time that correlates with rapid bone growth at the base of the tooth crypt, as well as a minor burst of osteoclastogenesis. TNF-α expression is correlated with the expression of bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2), a molecule expressed in the dental follicle that can promote bone formation. Because BMP-2 signaling may be augmented by bone morphogenetic protein-3 (BMP-3), it was the objective of this study to determine 1) if the dental follicle expresses BMP-3 and 2) if TNF-α stimulates the dental follicle cells to express BMP-2 and BMP-3. Dental follicles were collected from different postnatal ages of rat pups. Dental follicle cells were incubated with TNF-α to study its dosage and time-course effects on gene expression of BMP-2 and BMP-3, as determined by real-time RT-PCR. Next, immunostaining was conducted to confirm if the protein was synthesized and ELISA of the conditioned medium was conducted to determine if BMP-2 was secreted. We found that BMP-3 expression is correlated with the expression of TNF-α in the dental follicle and TNF-α significantly increased BMP-2 and BMP-3 expression in vitro. Immunostaining and ELISA showed that BMP-2 and BMP-3 were synthesized and secreted. This study suggests that TNF-α can upregulate the expression of bone formation genes that may be needed for tooth eruption.
TNF-α; BMP-2; BMP-3; tooth eruption; dental follicle
Wnt/β-catenin signaling plays key roles in tooth development, but how this pathway intersects with the complex interplay of signaling factors regulating dental morphogenesis has been unclear. We demonstrate that Wnt/β-catenin signaling is active at multiple stages of tooth development. Mutation of β-catenin to a constitutively active form in oral epithelium causes formation of large, misshapen tooth buds and ectopic teeth, and expanded expression of signaling molecules important for tooth development. Conversely, expression of key morphogenetic regulators including Bmp4, Msx1 and Msx2 is down-regulated in embryos expressing the secreted Wnt inhibitor Dkk1 which blocks signaling in epithelial and underlying mesenchymal cells. Similar phenotypes are observed in embryos lacking epithelial β-catenin, demonstrating a requirement for Wnt signaling within the epithelium. Inducible Dkk1 expression after the bud stage causes formation of blunted molar cusps, down-regulation of the enamel knot marker p21, and loss of restricted ectodin expression, revealing requirements for Wnt activity in maintaining secondary enamel knots. These data place Wnt/β-catenin signaling upstream of key morphogenetic signaling pathways at multiple stages of tooth development and indicate that tight regulation of this pathway is essential both for patterning tooth development in the dental lamina, and for controlling the shape of individual teeth.
tooth; mouse; embryo; Wnt; molar; incisor; β-catenin; dental development
The Wnt/β-catenin signalling is aberrantly activated in primary B cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). Epigenetic silencing of pathway inhibitor genes may be a mechanism for its activation. In this study, we investigated systematically and quantitatively the methylation status of 12 Wnt/β-catenin pathway inhibitor genes – CDH1, DACT1, DKK1, DKK2, DKK3, DKK4, SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP3, SFRP4, SFRP5 and WIF1 – in the cell lines EHEB and MEC-1 as well as patient samples.
Quantification of DNA methylation was performed by means of bisulphite pyrosequencing and confirmed by bisulphite Sanger sequencing. Gene expression was analysed by qPCR using GAPDH as internal control. E-cadherin and β-catenin protein quantification was carried out by microsphere-based immunoassays. Methylation differences observed between the patient and control groups were tested using generalised least squares models.
For 10 genes, a higher methylation level was observed in tumour material. Only DKK4 exhibited similarly high methylation levels in both tumour and normal specimens, while DACT1 was always essentially unmethylated. However, also for these inhibitors, treatment of cells with the demethylating agent 5-aza-2´-deoxycytidine resulted in an induction of their expression, as shown by quantitative PCR, suggesting an indirect epigenetic control of activity. While the degree of demethylation and its transcriptional consequences differed between the genes, there was an overall high correlation of demethylation and increased activity. Protein expression studies revealed that no constitutive Wnt/β-catenin signalling occurred in the cell lines, which is in discrepancy with results from primary CLL. However, treatment with 5-aza-2´-deoxycytidine caused accumulation of β-catenin. Simultaneously, E-cadherin expression was strongly induced, leading to the formation of a complex with β-catenin and thus demonstrating its epigenetically regulated inhibition effect.
The results suggest an epigenetic silencing mechanism of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway inhibitor genes in CLL. Hypermethylation and silencing of functionally related genes may not be completely stochastic but result from the tumour epigenome reprogramming orchestrated by Polycomb-group repressive complexes. The data are of interest in the context of epigenetic-based therapy.
B cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; Wnt/β-catenin pathway; Inhibitor genes; DNA hypermethylation; Epigenetic silencing; β-catenin
The dental follicle regulates the alveolar bone resorption needed for tooth eruption. In the rat first mandibular molar, a decrease in the expression of osteoprotegerin (OPG) in the dental follicle at day 3 enables the osteoclastogenesis needed for eruption to occur. Because colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) is maximally expressed in the dental follicle at day 3, it was hypothesized that CSF-1 down-regulates OPG gene expression in the dental follicle in vivo. To test this, we compared the expression of OPG in osteopetrotic toothless (tl/tl) rats deficient in CSF-1 with expression in their normal littermates for given ages. OPG gene expression was found to be higher in the dental follicle of the tl/tl mutants than in normals. Transfecting short interfering RNA specific for CSF-1 mRNA into dental follicle cells resulted in an up-regulation of OPG expression. Thus, these studies support our hypothesis that the down-regulation of OPG needed for tooth eruption is mediated by CSF-1.
osteoprotegerin; tooth eruption; colony-stimulating factor-1; osteopetrotic rats; dental follicle
Regression of vestigial tooth buds results in the formation of the toothless diastema, a unique feature of the mouse dentition. Revitalization of the diastemal vestigial tooth bud provides an excellent model for studying tooth regeneration and replacement. It was shown previously that suppression of FGF signaling in the diastema is a causative of vestigial tooth bud regression. In this study, we report that application of exogenous FGF8 to the mouse embryonic diastemal region rescues diastemal tooth development. However, this rescue of diastemal tooth development occurs only in isolated diastemal region, but not in mandibular quadrant containing incisor and molar germs. FGF8 promotes cell proliferation and inhibits apoptosis in diastemal tooth epithelium, and revitalizes tooth developmental program, evidenced by the expression of genes critical for normal tooth development. Our results support the idea that the adjacent tooth germs contribute to the suppression of diastemal vestigial tooth buds via multiple signals.
FGF8; diastemal tooth; tooth development; ex vivo culture
Tooth enamel is formed by epithelially-derived cells called ameloblasts, while the pulp dentin complex is formed by the dental mesenchyme. These tissues differentiate with reciprocal signaling interactions to form a mature tooth. In this study we have characterized ameloblast differentiation in human developing incisors, and have further investigated the role of extracellular matrix proteins on ameloblast differentiation. Histological and immunohistochemical analyses showed that in the human tooth, the basement membrane separating the early developing dental epithelium and mesenchyme was lost shortly before dentin deposition was initiated, prior to enamel matrix secretion. Presecretary ameloblasts elongated as they came into contact with the dentin matrix, and then shortened to become secretory ameloblasts. In situ hybridization showed that at the presecretory stage of odontoblasts expressed type I collagen mRNA, and also briefly expressed amelogenin mRNA. This was followed by upregulation of amelogenin mRNA expression in secretory ameloblasts. In vitro, amelogenin expression was up-regulated in ameloblast lineage cells cultured in Matrigel, and was further up-regulated when these cells/Matrigel were co-cultured with dental pulp cells. Co-culture also up-regulated type I collagen expression by the dental pulp cells. Type I collagen coated culture dishes promoted a more elongated ameloblast lineage cell morphology and enhanced cell adhesion via integrin α2β1. Taken together, these results suggest that the basement membrane proteins and signals from underlying mesenchymal cells coordinate to initiate differentiation of preameloblasts and regulate type I collagen expression by odontoblasts. Type I collagen in the dentin matrix then anchors the presecretary ameloblasts as they further differentiate to secretory cells. These studies show the critical roles of the extracellular matrix proteins in ameloblast differentiation.
basement membrane proteins; type I collagen; integrin; dental epithelial cells; dental pulp cells; ameloblast lineage cells
In the mouse tooth organ, shortly after birth, ameloblasts acquire their secretory phenotype, which is characterized by the prominent expression and subsequent secretion of two isoforms of amelogenin, M180 and M59 (LRAP, [A−4]). Amelogenin deposition into the ameloblast extracellular matrix promotes enamel biomineralization. A complex set of intercellular signaling events, reciprocal communications between the developing oral epithelium and its underlying dental mesenchyme, guide the expression of amelogenin mRNA, and limit it to a defined period of tooth development. In tooth germ organ culture, addition of the [A−4] isoform, lacking amelogenin exon 4 and exon 6 segments a, b, c, was shown to affect ameloblast development. To understand the basis for this regulatory activity, we have studied the effects of r[A−4] on ameloblast-like LS8 cells, and the role of the putative [A−4] cell surface receptor, LAMP1, as well as the related receptor LAMP3. In the LS8 cells, the expression of the spliced isoforms of amelogenin, LAMP1, and LAMP3 were identified by RT-PCR, and real-time PCR semi-quantitative analysis assessed the modulation of M180 message. M180 mRNA was up-regulated by exogenous [A−4], and this was further increased by blockade of LAMP1, suggesting additive effects between the intracellular signaling pathways activated by the discrete agonists. Immunofluorescence staining identified the patterns of [A−4] and LAMP1 localization in LS8 cells. Internalized r[A−4] was co-localized with LAMP1 in late endosomal/lysosomal compartments. Thus, the LAMP1 and [A−4] intracellular sorting pathways are interrelated. The nitric oxide (NO) signaling pathway was activated by exogenous [A−4]. [A−4] modulated inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS, NOS2) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS, NOS3) expression, albeit, to different extents. NOS2 was significantly up-regulated after 4 h, while NOS3 increased slightly after 24 h. Co-treatment of LS8 cells with r[A−4] and anti-LAMP1 antibodies further enhanced NOS2 expression. Anti-LAMP1 antibodies did not abrogate NO production in LS8 cells treated for 4 h with r[A−4], but the iNOS inhibitor, L-Nil, down-regulated both NO production and the expression of M180 mRNA. These data suggest that [A−4] modulates M180 mRNA expression, partly, via the NO signaling pathway.
ameloblasts; amelogenin; LAMP1; r[A−4]; terminal differentiation
The development of teeth is the result of interactions between competent mesenchyme and epithelium, both of which undergo extensive morphogenesis. The importance of cell adhesion molecules in morphogenesis has long been acknowledged but remarkably few studies have focused on the distribution and function of these molecules in tooth development.
We analyzed the expression pattern of an important epithelial cadherin, E-cadherin, during the formation of first-generation teeth as well as replacement teeth in the zebrafish, using in situ hybridization and whole mount immunostaining to reveal mRNA expression and protein distribution. E-cadherin was detected in every layer of the enamel organ during the different stages of tooth development, but there were slight differences between first-generation and replacement teeth in the strength and distribution of the signal. The dental papilla, which is derived from the mesenchyme, did not show any expression. Remarkably, the crypts surrounding the functional teeth showed an uneven distribution of E-cadherin throughout the pharyngeal region.
The slight differences between E-cadherin expression in zebrafish teeth and developing mouse and human teeth are discussed in the light of fundamental differences in structural and developmental features of the dentition between zebrafish and mammals. Importantly, the uninterrupted expression of E-cadherin indicates that down-regulation of E-cadherin is not required for formation of an epithelial tooth bud. Further research is needed to understand the role of other cell adhesion systems during the development of teeth and the formation of replacement teeth.
We recently reported the expression of podoplanin in the apical bud of adult mouse incisal tooth. This study was aimed to investigate the distribution of podoplanin-expressing cells in mouse tooth germs at several developing stages. At the bud stage podoplanin was expressed in oral mucous epithelia and in a tooth bud. At the cap stage podoplanin was expressed on inner and outer enamel epithelia but not in mesenchymal cells expressing the neural crest stem cell marker nestin. At the early bell stage nestin and podoplanin were expressed in cervical loop and odontoblasts. At the root formation stage both nestin and podoplanin were weakly expressed in odontoblasts generating radicular dentin. Podoplanin expression was also found in the Hertwig epithelial sheath. These results suggest that epithelial cells of developing tooth germ acquire the ability to express nestin, and that tooth germ epithelial cells maintain the ability to express podoplanin in oral mucous epithelia. The expression of podoplanin in odontoblasts was induced as tooth germ development advanced, but was suppressed with the completion of the primary dentin, suggesting that podoplanin may be involved in the cell growth of odontoblasts. Nestin may function as an intermediate filament that binds podoplanin in odontoblasts.
podoplanin; tooth germ; odontoblasts; enamel epithelia; nestin
Dickkopf-related protein 1 (DKK1) is a potent inhibitor of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Dkk1-null mutant embryos display severe defects in head induction. Conversely, targeted expression of Dkk1 in dental epithelial cells leads to the formation of dysfunctional enamel knots and subsequent tooth defects during embryonic development. However, its role in post-natal dentinogenesis is largely unknown. To address this issue, we studied the role of DKK1 in post-natal dentin development using 2.3-kb Col1a1-Dkk1 transgenic mice, with the following key findings: (1) The Dkk1 transgene was highly expressed in pulp and odontoblast cells during post-natal developmental stages; (2) the 1st molar displayed short roots, an enlarged pulp/root canal region, and a decrease in the dentin formation rate; (3) a small malformed second molar and an absent third molar; (4) an increase of immature odontoblasts, few mature odontoblasts, and sharply reduced dentinal tubules; and (5) a dramatic change in Osx and nestin expression. We propose that DKK1 controls post-natal mandibular molar dentin formation either directly or indirectly via the inhibition of Wnt signaling at the following aspects: (i) post-natal dentin formation, (ii) formation and/or maintenance of the dentin tubular system, (iii) mineralization of the dentin, and (iv) regulation of molecules such as Osx and nestin.
DKK1; tooth development; odontoblast; mandibular molar; transgenic mice; dentinogenesis
Tooth development is regulated by epithelial-mesenchymal interactions and their reciprocal molecular signaling. Bone morphogenetic protein 2 (Bmp2) is essential for tooth formation. However, the role of Bmp2 during enamel formation remains unknown in vivo. In this study, the role of Bmp2 in the regulation of postnatal enamel formation was investigated via the conditional ablation of Bmp2 in enamel using the (Osx-Cre) mouse. Bmp2 gene ablation was confirmed by PCR analysis in Osx-Cre, Bmp2flox/flox mice. Bmp2-null mice displayed a severe and profound tooth phenotype with asymmetric and open forked incisors. Microradiographs revealed broken incisor tips and dental pulp chamber exposure. The enamel layer of incisors and molars was thin with hypomineralization. Scanning electron microscopy analysis showed that the enamel surface was rough with chipping and the enamel lacked a typical prismatic architecture. These results demonstrate that Bmp2 is essential for enamel formation.
Bone morphogenetic protein 2; Conditional knockout; Enamel formation; Amelogenesis imperfecta
Odontogenesis relies on the reciprocal signaling interactions between dental epithelium and neural crest-derived mesenchyme, which is regulated by several signaling pathways. Subtle changes in the activity of these major signaling pathways can have dramatic effects on tooth development. An important regulator of such subtle changes is the fine tuning function of microRNAs (miRNAs). However, the underlying mechanism by which miRNAs regulate tooth development remains elusive. This study determined the expression of miRNAs during cytodifferentiation in the human tooth germ and studied miR-34a as a regulator of dental papilla cell differentiation. Using microarrays, miRNA expression profiles were established at selected times during development (early bell stage or late bell stage) of the human fetal tooth germ. We identified 29 differentially expressed miRNAs from early bell stage/late bell stage comparisons. Out of 6 miRNAs selected for validation by qPCR, all transcripts were confirmed to be differentially expressed. miR-34a was selected for further investigation because it has been previously reported to regulate organogenesis. miR-34a mimics and inhibitors were transfected into human fetal dental papilla cells, mRNA levels of predicted target genes were detected by quantitative real-time PCR, and levels of putative target proteins were examined by western blotting. ALP and DSPP expression were also tested by qPCR, western blotting, and immunofluorescence. Findings from these studies suggested that miR-34a may play important roles in dental papilla cell differentiation during human tooth development by targeting NOTCH and TGF-beta signaling.
The Wnt pathway is a key regulator of development and tumorigenesis. Dpr (Dact/Frodo) influences Wnt signaling in part through the interaction of its PDZ-B domain with Dsh's PDZ domain. Studies have shown that XDpr1a and its close relative, Frodo, are involved in multiple steps of the Wnt pathway in either inhibitory or activating roles. We found that XDpr1a is phosphorylated by casein kinase Iδ/ε (CKIδ/ε), an activator of Wnt signaling, in the presence of XDsh. Abrogating XDpr1a's ability to bind XDsh through mutation of XDpr1a's PDZ-B domain blocks CK1δ/ε's phosphorylation of XDpr1a. Conversely, XDsh possessing a mutation in its PDZ domain that is unable to bind XDpr1a does not promote XDpr1a phosphorylation. Phosphorylation of XDpr1a and XDsh by CKIδ/ε decreases their interaction. Moreover, the phosphorylation of XDpr1a by CKIδ/ε not only abrogates XDpr1a's promotion of β-catenin degradation but blocks β-catenin degradation. Our data suggest that XDpr1a phosphorylation by CKIδ/ε is dependent on the interaction of XDpr1a's PDZ-B domain with XDsh's PDZ domain, and that the phosphorylation state of XDpr1a determines whether it inhibits or activates Wnt signaling.