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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Mar 17;106(11):4278-83. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0900568106. Epub 2009 Feb 26.

Ctip2/Bcl11b controls ameloblast formation during mammalian odontogenesis.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.


The transcription factor Ctip2/Bcl11b plays essential roles in developmental processes of the immune and central nervous systems and skin. Here we show that Ctip2 also plays a key role in tooth development. Ctip2 is highly expressed in the ectodermal components of the developing tooth, including inner and outer enamel epithelia, stellate reticulum, stratum intermedium, and the ameloblast cell lineage. In Ctip2(-/-) mice, tooth morphogenesis appeared to proceed normally through the cap stage but developed multiple defects at the bell stage. Mutant incisors and molars were reduced in size and exhibited hypoplasticity of the stellate reticulum. An ameloblast-like cell population developed ectopically on the lingual aspect of mutant lower incisors, and the morphology, polarization, and adhesion properties of ameloblasts on the labial side of these teeth were severely disrupted. Perturbations of gene expression were also observed in the mandible of Ctip2(-/-) mice: expression of the ameloblast markers amelogenin, ameloblastin, and enamelin was down-regulated, as was expression of Msx2 and epiprofin, transcription factors implicated in the tooth development and ameloblast differentiation. These results suggest that Ctip2 functions as a critical regulator of epithelial cell fate and differentiation during tooth morphogenesis.

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