The tooth is a convenient experimental modell for studies on the basic mechanisms of organ development, including morphogenesis, cell interaction, and cell differentiation, as well as the production and mineralization of extracellular matrices. A multistep and complex process of gene expression is involved in tooth development.
We are using microarrays and RT-PCR to study gene expression during development of mouse molar and incisor tooth germ. For protein detection we use immunohistchemistry and Western blotting. To assess biological functions associated with genes that are highly expressed in tooth germ, we use bioinformatic analysis.
We also study the expression and function of microRNAs which constitute a class of non-coding RNAs that are considered as important regulatory molecules during foetal development. Our studies show that several microRNAs are highly expressed in the tooth germ, and may probably modulate tooth morphogenesis.