Signaling Networks Regulating Tooth Organogenesis and Regeneration, and the Specification of Dental Mesenchymal and Epithelial Cell Lineages

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2012 Apr 1;4(4):a008425. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a008425.

Abstract

Teeth develop as ectodermal appendages from epithelial and mesenchymal tissues. Tooth organogenesis is regulated by an intricate network of cell-cell signaling during all steps of development. The dental hard tissues, dentin, enamel, and cementum, are formed by unique cell types whose differentiation is intimately linked with morphogenesis. During evolution the capacity for tooth replacement has been reduced in mammals, whereas teeth have acquired more complex shapes. Mammalian teeth contain stem cells but they may not provide a source for bioengineering of human teeth. Therefore it is likely that nondental cells will have to be reprogrammed for the purpose of clinical tooth regeneration. Obviously this will require understanding of the mechanisms of normal development. The signaling networks mediating the epithelial-mesenchymal interactions during morphogenesis are well characterized but the molecular signatures of the odontogenic tissues remain to be uncovered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Mesoderm / cytology*
  • Morphogenesis
  • Regeneration
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Tooth / growth & development*