In the process of orthodontic tooth movement (OTM), periodontal ligament fibroblasts (PDLFs) must undergo osteogenic differentiation. OTM increased the expression of Zinc finger and BTB domain-containing 16 (ZBTB16), which is implicated in osteogenic differentiation. Our goal was to investigate the mechanism of PDLF osteogenic differentiation mediated by ZBTB16. The OTM rat model was established, and PDLFs were isolated and exposed to mechanical force. Hematoxylin-eosin staining, Alizarin Red staining, immunofluorescence, and immunohistochemistry were carried out. The alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity was measured. Dual-luciferase reporter gene assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay were conducted. In OTM models, ZBTB16 was significantly expressed. Additionally, there was an uneven distribution of PDLFs in the OTM group, as well as an increase in fibroblasts and inflammatory infiltration. ZBTB16 interference hindered PDLF osteogenic differentiation and decreased Wnt and β-catenin levels. Meanwhile, ZBTB16 activated the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. ZBTB16 also enhanced the expression of the osteogenic molecules osterix, osteocalcin (OCN), osteopontin (OPN), and bone sialo protein (BSP) at mRNA and protein levels. The interactions between Wnt1 and ZBTB16, as well as GCN5 and ZBTB16, were also verified. The adeno-associated virus-shZBTB16 injection also proved to inhibit osteogenic differentiation and reduce tooth movement distance in in vivo tests. ZBTB16 was up-regulated in OTM. Through acetylation modification of ZBTB16, GCN5 regulated the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and further mediated PDLF osteogenic differentiation.
Keywords: GCN5; ZBTB16; acetylation; orthodontic tooth movement; osteogenic differentiation.