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1.  Dact1-3 mRNAs exhibit distinct expression domains during tooth development 
Gene expression patterns : GEP  2010;10(2-3):140-143.
Wnt signaling is essential for tooth formation. Dact proteins modulate Wnt signaling by binding to the intracellular protein Dishevelled (Dvl). Comparison of all known mouse Dact genes, Dact1-3, from the morphological initiation of mandibular first molar development after the onset of the root formation using sectional in situ hybridization showed distinct, complementary and overlapping expression patterns for the studied genes. While Dact2 expression was restricted to the dental epithelium including the enamel knot signaling centers and tooth specific preameloblasts, Dact1 and Dact3 showed developmentally regulated expression in the dental mesenchyme. Both mRNAs were first detected in the presumptive dental mesenchyme. After being downregulated from the condensed dental mesenchyme of the bud stage tooth germ, Dact1 was upregulated in the dental follicle masenchyme at the cap stage and subsequently also in the dental papilla at the bell stage where the expression persisted to the postnatal stages. In contrast, Dact3 transcripts persisted throughout the dental mesenchymal tissue components including the tooth-specific cells, preodontoblasts before transcripts were largely downregulated from the tooth germ postnatally. Collectively these results suggest that Dact1 and -3 may contribute to early tooth formation by modulation of Wnt signaling pathways in the mesenchyme, including preodontoblasts, whereas Dact2 may play important signal-modulating roles in the adjacent epithelial cells including the enamel knot signaling centers and preameloblasts. Future loss-of-function studies will help elucidate whether any of these functions are redundant, particularly for Dact1 and Dact3.
PMCID: PMC2849867  PMID: 20170752
2.  Localization of Putative Stem Cells in Dental Epithelium and Their Association with Notch and Fgf Signaling 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1999;147(1):105-120.
The continuously growing mouse incisor is an excellent model to analyze the mechanisms for stem cell lineage. We designed an organ culture method for the apical end of the incisor and analyzed the epithelial cell lineage by 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine and DiI labeling. Our results indicate that stem cells reside in the cervical loop epithelium consisting of a central core of stellate reticulum cells surrounded by a layer of basal epithelial cells, and that they give rise to transit-amplifying progeny differentiating into enamel forming ameloblasts. We identified slowly dividing cells among the Notch1-expressing stellate reticulum cells in specific locations near the basal epithelial cells expressing lunatic fringe, a secretory molecule modulating Notch signaling. It is known from tissue recombination studies that in the mouse incisor the mesenchyme regulates the continuous growth of epithelium. Expression of Fgf-3 and Fgf-10 were restricted to the mesenchyme underlying the basal epithelial cells and the transit-amplifying cells expressing their receptors Fgfr1b and Fgfr2b. When FGF-10 protein was applied with beads on the cultured cervical loop epithelium it stimulated cell proliferation as well as expression of lunatic fringe. We present a model in which FGF signaling from the mesenchyme regulates the Notch pathway in dental epithelial stem cells via stimulation of lunatic fringe expression and, thereby, has a central role in coupling the mitogenesis and fate decision of stem cells.
PMCID: PMC2164976  PMID: 10508859
ameloblast; Notch; fringe; Fgf-10; epithelial–mesenchymal interactions

Results 1-2 (2)