Gene Discovered with Both Skin and Tooth Role

Oregon State University researchers have discovered that the expression of CTIP2 may play a role in some skin disorders. But the research was two-fold, as the team also found the gene to control tooth enamel.

According to the skin study, published by the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the gene is a factor in the different levels of skin development, specifically protective barrier formation. In addition, it plays a role in biosysnthesis. Understanding these roles could lead to better knowledge of skin disease and premature skin aging, according to the report

The National Institutes of Health funded the study. The researchers believe this finding could be used to stimulate gene expression with botanical extracts and other compounds in order to rejuvenate skin more scientifically, effectively and permanently.

CTIP2 also was found to control the production of tooth enamel, a discovery that could lead to new methods of repairing damaged enamel and preventing cavities, restoring teeth or producing replacement teeth. This finding was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This is the first transcription factor ever found to control the formation and maturation of ameloblasts, which are the cells that secrete enamel," noted Chrissa Kioussi, assistant professor in the college of pharmacy at Oregon State, in a university press release.

To study the genes effect on enamel, Kioussi and her colleagues studied baby mice in which the gene had been eliminated and its protein was missing. The mice lacked the proper enamel coating, making them unable to function. The researcher hope to use the CTIP2 research to human applications to prevent cavities and tooth decay.

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