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Mech Dev. 1999 Jul;85(1-2):197-200.

Expression of Wnt signalling pathway genes during tooth development.

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Department of Craniofacial Development, Guy's Tower, Guy's, Kings & St. Thomas' Schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Floor 28, Guy's Tower, London Bridge, London SE1 9RT, UK.


We have carried out comparative in situ hybridisation analysis of six Wnt genes Wnts-3, -4, -5a, -6, -7b, and 10b together with Wnt receptor MFz6 and receptor agonist/antagonists MFrzb1 and Mfrp2 during murine odontogenesis from the earliest formation of the epithelial thickening to the early bell stage. Expression of Wnt-4, Wnt-6, and one Wnt receptor MFz6 was observed in the facial, oral and dental epithelium. Wnt10b was localised specifically to the presumptive dental epithelium. Wnts-3 and -7b were expressed in oral epithelium but showed no expression in the presumptive dental epithelium. Wnt-3 also showed no expression in the epithelial cells of the molar bud stage tooth germs, but showed restricted expression in the enamel knots which are signalling centres believed to be involved in regulating tooth shape. Wnts -6, -10b and MFz6 were also detected in the primary and secondary enamel knots. Wnt-5a and agonist/antagonists MFrzb1 and Mfrp2 were expressed in a graded proximo-distal (P-D) manner in mesenchymal cells during the early stages of tooth development with no overlying expression in the oral or dental epithelium. Wnt-5a and MFrzb1 show strong expression in the dental papilla mesenchyme.

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