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Journal of Dental Research published the new results on tooth development from Prof. Zhi CHEN's group
On January 8, 2021, the top journal in Dentistry， Journal of Dental Research, published a research article entitled " Zeb1 Promotes Odontoblast Differentiation in a Stage-Dependent Manner" from Prof. Zhi Chen group. This article clarified the different mechanisms by which Zeb1 regulates the odontoblast differentiation in the early and late stages of tooth development.
A comprehensive study of odontoblast differentiation is essential to understand the process of tooth development, and to achieve the ability of tooth regeneration in the future. Odontoblast differentiation involves a series of induced and permissive interactions between genes, which has always been the emphasis and difficulty in scientific research. Prof. CHEN’s group found that transcription factor Zeb1 plays a key role in promoting odontoblast differentiation during tooth development. By using high-throughput sequencing technology, including the assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with high-throughput sequencing (ATAC-seq) and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq), they revealed that Zeb1 directly enhances and interacts with genes, such as Runx2, to alter the chromatin accessibility near odontogenesis-related genes in the early stage of tooth development, whereas in the late stage, Zeb1 directly binds and enhances the activity of a cis-element upstream of Dentin Sialophosphoprotein coding gene, Dspp, thereby accelerating odontoblast differentiation, thereby revealed a dual role of Zeb1 in promoting odontoblast differentiation in a stage-dependent manner.
Yao XIAO, PhD student, is the first author, and Prof. Zhi CHEN and Associate Professor Huan Liu are the corresponding author of this article. This work was supported by grants received from the National Key R&D Project of China and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.