Molecular control of odontogenic patterning: positional dependent initiation and morphogenesis

Eur J Oral Sci. 1998 Jan;106 Suppl 1:44-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0722.1998.tb02152.x.


We have previously proposed that the patterning of the mammalian dentition is determined by an odontogenic homeobox code, whereby positional specification of odontogenic ectomesenchymal cell populations in a given region of the first branchial arch are determined by the combination of different homeobox genes expressed, described in detail in (1). Here we describe the first functional evidence for such a mechanism, and show that development of different types of teeth is controlled by independent genetic pathways. We suggest a mechanism whereby patterning is determined by position dependent control of tooth germ initiation, and propose that the pathway of morphogenesis is directly linked to the early mesenchymal expression of homeobox genes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Homeobox*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Incisor / embryology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Biological
  • Odontogenesis / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors


  • Distal-less homeobox proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Transcription Factors