The gene expression and protein distribution of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) -2, -9, membrane type-1 MMP (MT1-MMP), as well as of TIMP-1, -2, and -3 were analyzed during mouse molar development. Immunohistochemical data demonstrated that all the MMPs investigated were expressed in the dental epithelium and mesenchyme. In contrast, gene and protein expression analysis for TIMPs showed that they were differentially expressed. TIMP-1 was expressed in the dental epithelium and mesenchyme between E13 and E16 and was transiently up-regulated at E14, the cap stage. TIMP-1 expression was also detected in differentiating odontoblasts. TIMP-2 RNA transcripts were found in the peridental and dental mesenchyme, odontoblasts, and ameloblasts. Protein analysis revealed high expression on the lingual side of the dental epithelium and underlying mesenchyme together with transient expression in the enamel knot at E14 and expression in the gingival tissue and enamel matrix postnatally. TIMP-3 RNA transcripts were found in discrete regions of the dental epithelium, including at high levels in the cervical loop at E16. Expression was also detected in preodontoblasts at E16 and transiently during ameloblast differentiation. Analysis of the protein distribution revealed a lower level of TIMP-3 on the lingual side of the dental epithelium at E14. MT1-MMP was expressed in the dental mesenchyme between E13 and E16, at relatively high levels in the cervical loop at E14, and in the odontoblasts and ameloblasts. The distinct temporospatial distribution patterns of the TIMPs suggest that these inhibitors play several intrinsic roles during tooth development.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.