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Histochem Cell Biol. 2012 Mar;137(3):367-76. doi: 10.1007/s00418-011-0895-y. Epub 2011 Dec 9.

The novel function of Oct3/4 in mouse tooth development.

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Division in Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Department of Oral Biology, Research Center for Orofacial Hard Tissue Regeneration, Brain Korean 21 Project, Oral Science Research Center, College of Dentistry, Yonsei University, 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 120-752, Korea.


Octamer-binding factor 3/4 (Oct3/4) is one of the key regulators maintaining the pluripotency and self-renewal in embryonic stem cells and is involved in the developmental events. However, the functional significance of Oct3/4 remains to be clarified during tooth morphogenesis. This study aimed to examine the functional role of Oct3/4 in mouse. During tooth morphogenesis (E11-E16.5), Oct3/4-positive cells, detected by nuclear immunoreaction, increased in number, and subsequently, their immunoreaction shifted from the nucleus to the cytoplasm at the stage of cell differentiation (E18.5). Quantitative real-time PCR clearly demonstrated the relationship between isoforms of Oct3/4 and the in vivo cellular localization of Oct3/4, suggesting that the Oct3/4 expressed in nucleus was Oct3/4A, whereas that expressed in the cytoplasm was Oct3/4B. RNAi knockdown of Oct3/4 induced apoptosis and arrested tooth morphogenesis. Our results suggest that (1) the increased number of Oct3/4-positive cells with nuclear immunoreaction correlate with active cell proliferation during tooth morphogenesis and (2) the shift of Oct3/4 from the nucleus to the cytoplasm plays a crucial role in cell differentiation.

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