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Development. 2013 Aug;140(16):3348-59. doi: 10.1242/dev.089193. Epub 2013 Jul 17.

The Pitx2:miR-200c/141:noggin pathway regulates Bmp signaling and ameloblast differentiation.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


The mouse incisor is a remarkable tooth that grows throughout the animal's lifetime. This continuous renewal is fueled by adult epithelial stem cells that give rise to ameloblasts, which generate enamel, and little is known about the function of microRNAs in this process. Here, we describe the role of a novel Pitx2:miR-200c/141:noggin regulatory pathway in dental epithelial cell differentiation. miR-200c repressed noggin, an antagonist of Bmp signaling. Pitx2 expression caused an upregulation of miR-200c and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed endogenous Pitx2 binding to the miR-200c/141 promoter. A positive-feedback loop was discovered between miR-200c and Bmp signaling. miR-200c/141 induced expression of E-cadherin and the dental epithelial cell differentiation marker amelogenin. In addition, miR-203 expression was activated by endogenous Pitx2 and targeted the Bmp antagonist Bmper to further regulate Bmp signaling. miR-200c/141 knockout mice showed defects in enamel formation, with decreased E-cadherin and amelogenin expression and increased noggin expression. Our in vivo and in vitro studies reveal a multistep transcriptional program involving the Pitx2:miR-200c/141:noggin regulatory pathway that is important in epithelial cell differentiation and tooth development.


Bmp; Noggin; Pitx2; Stem cells; Tooth development; miR-141; miR-200 family; miR-200c; miR-203

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