An exquisite interplay of developmental cues, transcription factors, and coregulatory and signaling proteins support formation of skeletal elements of the jaw during embryogenesis and dynamic remodeling of alveolar bone in postnatal life. These molecules promote initial condensation of the mesenchyme, commitment of the mesenchymal progenitor to osteogenic lineage cells, and differentiation of committed osteoblasts to mature osteocytes within mineralized bone. Parallel regulatory networks promote formation of the functional osteoclast from mononuclear cells to support continuous bone remodeling within the alveolar bone. With an ever expanding list of new regulatory factors, the complexities of the molecular mechanisms that control gene expression in skeletal cells are being further appreciated. This article examines the multifunctional roles of prominent nuclear proteins, cytokines, hormones, and paracrine factors that control osteogenesis.
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