Tenascin is a large extracellular-matrix glycoprotein found in developing connective tissue. A cDNA probe to mouse tenascin, mTN2, was used to determine the cellular origins of this molecule in the murine tooth germ by in situ hybridization. At embryonic day 19, a hybridization signal significantly greater than background was detected with mTN2 in the subodontoblastic layer of the dental mesenchyme and in the inner enamel epithelium of the enamel organ. At postnatal day 1, a signal was detected over pre-odontoblasts and the strata intermedium and externum. No tenascin mRNA was detected in odontoblasts or the stellate reticulum at either age, and hybridization in ameloblasts was not significantly greater than background at postnatal day 1. Thus, much of the tenascin found throughout developing teeth appears to be synthesized by pre-odontoblasts and the inner enamel epithelium, the two populations of cells destined to generate mineralized matrix.
- extracellular matrix
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