Twist1 Is Essential for Tooth Morphogenesis and Odontoblast Differentiation*
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Twist1 is a basic helix-loop-helix-containing transcription factor that is expressed in the dental mesenchyme during the early stages of tooth development. To better delineate its roles in tooth development, we generated Twist1 conditional knockout embryos (Twist2(Cre) (/+);Twist1(fl/fl)) by breeding Twist1 floxed mice (Twist1(fl/fl)) with Twist2-Cre recombinase knockin mice (Twist2(Cre) (/+)). The Twist2(Cre) (/+);Twist1(fl/fl) embryos formed smaller tooth germs and abnormal cusps during early tooth morphogenesis. Molecular and histological analyses showed that the developing molars of the Twist2(Cre) (/+);Twist1(fl/fl) embryos had reduced cell proliferation and expression of fibroblast growth factors 3, 4, 9, and 10 and FGF receptors 1 and 2 in the dental epithelium and mesenchyme. In addition, 3-week-old renal capsular transplants of embryonic day 18.5 Twist2(Cre) (/+);Twist1(fl/fl) molars showed malformed crowns and cusps with defective crown dentin and enamel. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed that the implanted mutant molars had defects in odontoblast differentiation and delayed ameloblast differentiation. Furthermore, in vitro ChIP assays demonstrated that Twist1 was able to bind to a specific region of the Fgf10 promoter. In conclusion, our findings suggest that Twist1 plays crucial roles in regulating tooth development and that it may exert its functions through the FGF signaling pathway.
author list (cited authors)
Meng, T., Huang, Y., Wang, S., Zhang, H., Dechow, P. C., Wang, X., ... Lu, Y.