Amelogenin comprises ~90% of enamel proteins; however, the involvement of Amelx transcriptional activation in regulating ameloblast differentiation from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) remains unknown. In this study, we generated doxycycline-inducible Amelx-expressing mouse iPSCs (Amelx-iPSCs). We then established a three-stage ameloblast induction strategy from Amelx-iPSCs, including induction of surface ectoderm (stage 1), dental epithelial cells (DECs; stage 2), and ameloblast lineage (stage 3) in sequence, by manipulating several signaling molecules. We found that adjunctive use of lithium chloride (LiCl) in addition to bone morphogenetic protein 4 and retinoic acid promoted concentration-dependent differentiation of DECs. The resulting cells had a cobblestone appearance and keratin14 positivity. Attenuation of LiCl at stage 3 together with transforming growth factor β1 and epidermal growth factor resulted in an ameloblast lineage with elongated cell morphology, positivity for ameloblast markers, and calcium deposition. Although stage-specific activation of Amelx did not produce noticeable phenotypic changes in ameloblast differentiation, Amelx activation at stage 3 significantly enhanced cell adhesion as well as decreased proliferation and migration. These results suggest that the combination of inducible Amelx transcription and stage-specific ameloblast induction for iPSCs represents a powerful tool to highlight underlying mechanisms in ameloblast differentiation and function in association with Amelx expression.
- Cell adhesion
- Cell differentiation
- Induced pluripotent stem cells
- Transcriptional activation