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J Periodontal Res. 1989 Jan;24(1):28-40.

Hertwig's epithelial root sheath differentiation and initial cementum and bone formation during long-term organ culture of mouse mandibular first molars using serumless, chemically-defined medium.


Studies were designed to test the hypothesis that Hertwig's epithelial root sheath (HERS) synthesizes and secretes enamel-related proteins that participate in the process of acellular cementum formation. Our experimental strategy was to examine sequential root development of the mouse mandibular first molar in vivo and in long-term organ culture in vitro using serumless, chemically-defined medium. Using anti-amelogenin, anti-enamelin and anti-peptide antibodies, enamel-related antigens were localized within intermediate cementum during HERS differentiation and root formation in vivo. Cap stage molars maintained for periods of up to 31 days in organ culture expressed morphogenesis and cytodifferentiation as identified by tooth crown and initial root, cementum and bone formation. Metabolically-labeled HERS products were analyzed by immunodetection using enamel-related antibodies and one- and two-dimensional SDS gel electrophoresis. A 72 kDa and 26 kDa polypeptide were identified in forming mouse cementum. Both of these root putative cementum proteins yield similar (identical) amino acid compositions; however, both proteins differed from the compositions of either mouse crown enamelin or amelogenin proteins. This approach provides a new and novel in vitro model towards understanding HERS differentiation and functions related to root and bone formation. The data support the hypothesis that HERS cells synthesize polypeptides related to but also different from canonical crown enamel proteins.

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