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Connect Tissue Res. 2002;43(2-3):191-200.

Cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions during initial enamel organ histomorphogenesis in the mouse.

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INSERM U424, Institut de Biologie Médicale, Faculté de Médecine, 11, rue Humann, 67085 Strasbourg, France.


Relationships between cell-cell/cell-matrix interactions and enamel organ histomorphogenesis were examined by immunostaining and electron microscopy. During the cap-bell transition in the mouse molar, laminin-5 (LN5) disappeared from the basement membrane (BM) associated with the inner dental epithelium (IDE), and nondividing IDE cells from the enamel knot (EK) underwent a tooth-specific segregation in as many subpopulations as cusps develop. In the incisor, the basement membrane (BM) in contact with EK cells showed strong staining for LN5 and integrin alpha 6 beta 4. LN5 seems to provide stable adhesion, while its proteolytic processing might facilitate cell segregation. In both teeth, immunostaining for antigens associated with desmosomes or adherens junctions was similar for EK cells and neighboring IDE cells. Outside the EK, IDE cell-BM interactions changed locally during the initial molar cusp delimitation and on the labial part of the incisor cervical loop. Conversely, cell-cell junctions stabilized the anterior part of the incisor during completion of morphogenesis. Time and space regulation of cell-matrix and cell-cell interactions might thus play complementary roles in allowing plasticity during tooth morphogenesis and stabilization at later stages of epithelial histogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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