Amelogenic transcriptome profiling in ameloblast-like cells derived from adult gingival epithelial cells

Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 6;9(1):3736. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40091-x.


Dental enamel is the highly mineralized tissue covering the tooth surface and is formed by ameloblasts. Ameloblasts have been known to be impossible to detect in adult tooth because they are shed by apoptosis during enamel maturation and tooth eruption. Owing to these, little was known about appropriate cell surface markers to isolate ameloblast-like cells in tissues. To overcome these problems, epithelial cells were selectively cultivated from the gingival tissues and used as a stem cell source for ameloblastic differentiation. When gingival epithelial cells were treated with a specified concentration of BMP2, BMP4, and TGFβ-1, the expression of ameloblast-specific markers was increased, and both the MAPK and Smad signaling pathways were activated. Gingival epithelial cells differentiated into ameloblast-like cells through epithelial-mesenchymal transition. By RNA-Seq analysis, we reported 20 ameloblast-specific genes associated with cell surface, cell adhesion, and extracellular matrix function. These cell surface markers might be useful for the detection and isolation of ameloblast-like cells from dental tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ameloblasts / cytology*
  • Ameloblasts / metabolism
  • Amelogenesis
  • Amelogenin / genetics*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gingiva / cytology*
  • Gingiva / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Signal Transduction
  • Young Adult


  • Amelogenin