The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 39: 947 - 956 (1995)

Vol 39, Issue 6

Expression of the intermediate filament nestin during rodent tooth development

Published: 1 December 1995

C Terling, A Rass, T A Mitsiadis, K Fried, U Lendahl and J Wroblewski

Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Medical Nobel Institute, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


The developing tooth represents a suitable model for understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in induction, morphogenesis and differentiation of organs. It is conceivable that the developmental changes could be reflected in the distribution of different cytoskeletal components and in this report we analyze the expression of the intermediate filament nestin during rodent tooth development at the protein and mRNA levels (by immuno light and electron microscopy, and by in situ hybridization). Nestin is expressed at all stages of tooth development, but the expression levels increase after birth in both ectodermal and ectomesenchymal derivatives. The shift in nestin distribution, from the proliferating dental lamina to the dental mesenchyme, indicates that nestin may be involved in inductive phenomena. At early stages of mineralization, nestin is seen within the apical parts of the presecretory ameloblasts. Nestin is also expressed in odontoblasts, both during odontogenesis and after tooth eruption. The increase in nestin expression from early to late developmental stages and sustained expression in a differentiated cell type contrasts with previously observed patterns of nestin expression during nerve and muscle development. This suggests that nestin could be used as a specific marker for the odontoblast.

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