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J Dent Res. 2013 Mar;92(3):229-34. doi: 10.1177/0022034512470830. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Oral lining mucosa development depends on mesenchymal microRNAs.

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Craniofacial Development and Stem Cell Biology, and Biomedical Research Centre, Dental Institute, King's College London, Guy's Hospital, London Bridge, London SE1 9RT, UK.


The oral mucosa plays critical roles in protection, sensation, and secretion and can be classified into masticatory, lining, and specialized mucosa that are known to be functionally, histologically, and clinically distinct. Each type of oral mucosa is believed to develop through discrete molecular mechanisms, which remain unclear. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are 19 to 25nt non-coding small single-stranded RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression by binding target mRNAs. miRNAs are crucial for fine-tuning of molecular mechanisms. To investigate the role of miRNAs in oral mucosa development, we examined mice with mesenchymal (Wnt1Cre;Dicer(fl/fl)) conditional deletion of Dicer. Wnt1Cre;Dicer(fl/fl) mice showed trans-differentiation of lining mucosa into an epithelium with masticatory mucosa/ skin-specific characteristics. Up-regulation of Fgf signaling was found in mutant lining mucosal epithelium that was accompanied by an increase in Fgf7 expression in mutant mesenchyme. Mesenchyme miRNAs thus have an indirect effect on lining mucosal epithelial cell growth/differentiation.

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