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J Mol Histol. 2018 Oct;49(5):459-469. doi: 10.1007/s10735-018-9785-0. Epub 2018 Jul 16.

Methylation of Cdkn1c may be involved in the regulation of tooth development through cell cycle inhibition.

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Department of Stomatology, Second Xiangya Hospital, Renmin Middle Road, Changsha, 410011, Hunan, China.
Department of Oral Medicine, Xiangya Hospital Central South University, Changsha, 410083, Hunan, China.
Department of Stomatology, Second Xiangya Hospital, Renmin Middle Road, Changsha, 410011, Hunan, China.


Cdkn1c, a member of the Cip/Kip cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor family, is critically involved in regulating cell cycle and cellular differentiation during development in mammals. However, the functional role of Cdkn1c and the underlying mechanisms by which Cdkn1c affects odontogenesis remain largely unknown. In our study, we found that Cdkn1c expression dynamically changes from embryonic day 11.5 (E11.5) to postnatal day 3 (P3), and exhibits tissue-specific expression profiles. Evaluation of CDKN1C protein by immunohistochemistry and western blot, revealed that CDKN1C protein expression peaks at P3 and then is reduced at P5 and P7. Interestingly, we observed that CDKN1C expression is higher in immature odontoblasts than preodontoblasts, is lower in mature odontoblasts, and is practically absent from ameloblasts. We evaluated cell cycle progression to further investigate the mechanisms underlying CDKN1C-mediated regulation of odontogenesis, and found that pRB, cyclin D1 and CDK2 expression decreased from P1 to P3, and reduced at P5 and P7. In addition, we observed increased methylation of KvDMR1 at P1 and P3, and reduced KvDMR1 methylation at P5 and P7. However, the methylation levels of Cdkn1c-sDMR were relatively low from P1 to P7. In summary, we demonstrated that Cdkn1c expression and methylation status may be involved in early postnatal tooth development through regulating the cell cycle inhibition activity of Cdkn1c. Notably, Cdkn1c expression and methylation may associate with cell cycle exit and differentiation of odontoblasts.


Cdkn1c; Cell cycle; Cell differentiation; DNA methylation; Tooth development

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