This study examined the detailed gene expression pattern of three different heat shock proteins (HSPs), Hsc73, Hsj2, and Hsp86, by means of an in situ hybridization method. Hsc73, Hsj2, and Hsp86 were shown in our previous study to be differentially expressed in the mouse embryonic mandible at day 10.5 (E10.5) gestational age. These HSP genes showed similar expression patterns during development of the mouse lower first molar. HSPs-expressing cells were widely distributed in both the epithelial and underlying ectomesenchymal cells at E10.5, and then were slightly localized at E12 in an area where the tooth germ of the lower first molar is estimated to be formed. A strong expression of HSPs was observed in the tooth germ at E13.5. At the cap stage, HSPs were expressed in the enamel organ and dental papilla. At the bell stage, HSPs were distinctly expressed in the inner enamel epithelium and dental papilla cells facing the inner enamel epithelial layer, which later differentiate into ameloblasts and odontoblasts, respectively. This study is the first report in which Hsc73, Hsj2, and Hsp86 were distinctly expressed in the developing tooth germ, thus suggesting these HSPs are related to the development and differentiation of odontogenic cells.
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