Effects of Usag-1 and Bmp7 deficiencies on murine tooth morphogenesis

Kazuyuki Saito, Katsu Takahashi, Masakazu Asahara, Honoka Kiso, Yumiko Togo, Hiroko Tsukamoto, Boyen Huang, Manabu Sugai, Akira Shimizu, Masaharu Motokawa, Harold C. Slavkin, Kazuhisa Bessho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Wnt5a and Mrfzb1 genes are involved in the regulation of tooth size, and their expression levels are similar to that of Bmp7 during morphogenesis, including during the cap and early bell stages of tooth formation. We previously reported that Usag-1-deficient mice form supernumerary maxillary incisors. Thus, we hypothesized that BMP7 and USAG-1 signaling molecules may play important roles in tooth morphogenesis. In this study, we established double genetically modified mice to examine the in vivo inter-relationships between Bmp7 and Usag-1. Results: We measured the volume and cross-sectional areas of the mandibular incisors using micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) in adult Bmp7- and Usag-1-LacZ knock-in mice and their F2 generation upon interbreeding. The mandibular incisors of adult Bmp7+/-mice were significantly larger than those of wild-type (WT) mice. The mandibular incisors of adult Usag-1-/-mice were the largest of all genotypes examined. In the F2 generation, the effects of these genes were additive; Bmp7+/-was most strongly associated with the increase in tooth size using generalized linear models, and the total area of mandibular supernumerary incisors of Usag-1-/-Bmp7+/-mice was significantly larger than that of Usag-1-/-Bmp7 +/+ mice. At embryonic day 15(E15), BrdU assays demonstrated that the labeling index of Bmp7+/-embryos was significantly higher than that of WT embryos in the cervical loop. Additionally, the labeling index of Usag-1-/-embryos was significantly the highest of all genotypes examined in dental papilla. Conclusions: Bmp7 heterozygous mice exhibited significantly increased tooth sizes, suggesting that tooth size was controlled by specific gene expression. Our findings may be useful in applications of regenerative medicine and dentistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
JournalBMC Developmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Saito et al.


  • Bmp7
  • Mouse model
  • Tooth morphogenesis
  • Tooth size
  • Tooth volume
  • Usag-1


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