- Dental enamel, the hardest tissue in the human body, is derived from dental epithelial cell ameloblast-secreted enamel matrices. Enamel mineralization occurs in a strictly synchronized manner along with ameloblast maturation in association with ion transport and pH balance, and any disruption of these processes results in enamel hypomineralization. G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) function as transducers of external signals by activating associated G proteins and regulate cellular physiology.
- The development of ectodermal organs, such as teeth, requires epithelial–mesenchymal interactions. Basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) transcription factors regulate various aspects of tissue development, and we have previously identified a bHLH transcription factor, AmeloD, from a tooth germ cDNA library. Here, we provide both in vitro and in vivo evidence that AmeloD is important in tooth development. We created AmeloD-knockout (KO) mice to identify the in vivo functions of AmeloD that are critical for tooth morphogenesis.
- Tooth enamel is mineralized through the differentiation of multiple dental epithelia including ameloblasts and the stratum intermedium (SI), and this differentiation is controlled by several signaling pathways. Previously, we demonstrated that the transcriptional coactivator Mediator 1 (MED1) plays a critical role in enamel formation. For instance, conditional ablation of Med1 in dental epithelia causes functional changes in incisor-specific dental epithelial stem cells, resulting in mineralization defects in the adult incisors.