Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.
* These authors contributed equally to this work.
Tooth development is a complex process that is regulated precisely by several signalling pathways and transcription factors. GATA-binding protein 4 (GATA4) is a DNA binding transcription factor, and our previous study showed that GATA4 is a novel regulator of root development. However, it remains unclear whether GATA4 is necessary for odontoblast differentiation and dentin formation. Here, we evaluated the phenotypic changes of Wnt1-Cre;GATA4fl/fl mice. The mutant mice showed defective dentin and short root deformity. The odontoblasts lost polarity instead of exhibiting a shorter height and flattened morphology. Moreover, the expression of several molecules, such as DSPP, COL-1, DCN, and PCNA, were downregulated during mutant tooth development. In vivo, we injected lentivirus to overexpress GATA4 in mice root. The dentin formation and the expression of odonto/osteogenic markers (DSPP, COL-1, DCN) were enhanced in the GATA4 overexpression group. During the in vitro study, the ability of proliferation, migration and odonto/osteogenic differentiation was declined by GATA4 knockdown approach in human dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs). The expression of odonto/osteogenic markers (DSPP, BMP4, RUNX2, OSX, OPN, OCN) was reduced in the shGATA4 group, while overexpressing GATA4 in DPSCs promoted mineralization. Furthermore, an immunoprecipitation-mass spectrometry procedure was used to confirm the interaction between GATA4 and Fructose-1, 6-bisphosphatase 1 (FBP1). We used gain and lose-of-function to delineated the role of GATA4 in regulating FBP1 expression. Knocking down GATA4 in DPSCs resulted in decreased glucose consumption and lactate production. We used small hairpin RNA targeting FBP1 to reduce the expression of FBP1 in DPSCs, which significantly increased glucose consumption and lactate production. Together, the results suggested that GATA4 is important for root formation and odontoblast polarity, as it promotes the growth and differentiation of dental mesenchymal cells around the root and affects the glucose metabolism of DPSCs via the negative regulation of FBP1.
Keywords: knockout mice, neural crest, multipotent stem cells, dentinogenesis, odontoblasts, gluconeogenesis