Dental enamel, the hardest tissue in the human body, is derived from dental epithelial cell ameloblast-secreted enamel matrices. Enamel mineralization occurs in a strictly synchronized manner along with ameloblast maturation in association with ion transport and pH balance, and any disruption of these processes results in enamel hypomineralization. G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) function as transducers of external signals by activating associated G proteins and regulate cellular physiology. Tissue-specific GPCRs play important roles in organ development, although their activities in tooth development remain poorly understood. The present results show that the adhesion GPCR Gpr115 (Adgrf4) is highly and preferentially expressed in mature ameloblasts and plays a crucial role during enamel mineralization. To investigate the in vivo function of Gpr115, knockout (Gpr115-KO) mice were created and found to develop hypomineralized enamel, with a larger acidic area because of the dysregulation of ion composition. Transcriptomic analysis also revealed that deletion of Gpr115 disrupted pH homeostasis and ion transport processes in enamel formation. In addition, in vitro analyses using the dental epithelial cell line cervical loop-derived dental epithelial (CLDE) cell demonstrated that Gpr115 is indispensable for the expression of carbonic anhydrase 6 (Car6), which has a critical role in enamel mineralization. Furthermore, an acidic condition induced Car6 expression under the regulation of Gpr115 in CLDE cells. Thus, we concluded that Gpr115 plays an important role in enamel mineralization via regulation of Car6 expression in ameloblasts. The present findings indicate a novel function of Gpr115 in ectodermal organ development and clarify the molecular mechanism of enamel formation.
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