FGF8 and BMP2 mediated dynamic regulation of dental mesenchyme proliferation and differentiation via Lhx8/Suv39h1 complex.


Zhou C(1)(2)(3), Chen D(1)(2)(3), Ren J(1)(2)(3), Huang D(1)(2)(3), Li R(1)(2)(3), Luo H(1)(2)(3), Guan C(1)(2)(3), Cao Y(1)(2)(3), Wang W(1)(2)(3).
Author information:
(1)Hospital of Stomatology, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.
(2)Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Stomatology, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.
(3)Guanghua School of Stomatology, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.


The homeobox gene, LIM-homeobox 8 (Lhx8), has previously been identified as an essential transcription factor for dental mesenchymal development. However, how Lhx8 itself is regulated and regulates odontogenesis remains poorly understood. In this study, we employed an RNAscope assay to detect the co-expression pattern of Lhx8 and Suv39h1 in the dental mesenchyme, which coincided with the dynamic expression profiles of the early epithelium signal of Fibroblast Growth Factor 8 (FGF8) and the later mesenchymal signal Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2 (BMP2). Moreover, FGF8 activated Lhx8, whereas BMP2 repressed Lhx8 expression at the transcriptional level. The high expression of Lhx8 in the early dental mesenchyme maintained the cell fate in an undifferentiated status by interacting with Suv39h1, a histone-lysine N-methyltransferase constitutively expressed in the dental mesenchyme. Further in the ex vivo organ culture model, the knockdown of Suv39h1 significantly blocked the function of Lhx8 and FGF8. Mechanistically, Lhx8/Suv39h1 recognized the odontoblast differentiation-related genes and repressed gene expression via methylating H3K9 on their promoters. Taken together, our data here suggest that Lhx8/Suv39h1 complex is inversely regulated by epithelium-mesenchymal signals, balancing the differentiation and proliferation of dental mesenchyme via H3K9 methylation.