Epigenetic marks define the lineage and differentiation potential of two distinct neural crest-derived intermediate odontogenic progenitor populations. Academic Article uri icon


  • Epigenetic mechanisms, such as histone modifications, play an active role in the differentiation and lineage commitment of mesenchymal stem cells. In the present study, epigenetic states and differentiation profiles of two odontogenic neural crest-derived intermediate progenitor populations were compared: dental pulp (DP) and dental follicle (DF). ChIP on chip assays revealed substantial H3K27me3-mediated repression of odontoblast lineage genes DSPP and dentin matrix protein 1 (DMP1) in DF cells, but not in DP cells. Mineralization inductive conditions caused steep increases of mineralization and patterning gene expression levels in DP cells when compared to DF cells. In contrast, mineralization induction resulted in a highly dynamic histone modification response in DF cells, while there was only a subdued effect in DP cells. Both DF and DP progenitors featured H3K4me3-active marks on the promoters of early mineralization genes RUNX2, MSX2, and DLX5, while OSX, IBSP, and BGLAP promoters were enriched for H3K9me3 or H3K27me3. Compared to DF cells, DP cells expressed higher levels of three pluripotency-associated genes, OCT4, NANOG, and SOX2. Finally, gene ontology comparison of bivalent marks unique for DP and DF cells highlighted cell-cell attachment genes in DP cells and neurogenesis genes in DF cells. In conclusion, the present study indicates that the DF intermediate odontogenic neural crest lineage is distinguished from its DP counterpart by epigenetic repression of DSPP and DMP1 genes and through dynamic histone enrichment responses to mineralization induction. Findings presented here highlight the crucial role of epigenetic regulatory mechanisms in the terminal differentiation of odontogenic neural crest lineages.

published proceedings

  • Stem Cells Dev

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Gopinathan, G., Kolokythas, A., Luan, X., & Diekwisch, T.

citation count

  • 48

complete list of authors

  • Gopinathan, Gokul||Kolokythas, Antonia||Luan, Xianghong||Diekwisch, Thomas GH

publication date

  • January 2013