Orai1 expression pattern in tooth and craniofacial ectodermal tissues and potential functions during ameloblast differentiation

Li Zheng, Vina Zinn, Anna Lefkelidou, Nawar Taqi, Xanthippi Chatzistavrou, Tarek Balam, Jeanne Nervina, Silvana Papagerakis, Petros Papagerakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Orai1 is a plasma membrane protein that forms the pore of the calcium release activated calcium channel. Humans with mutated Orai1 present with hereditary combined immunodeficiency, congenital myopathy and anhidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. Consistent with the ectodermal dysplasia phenotype, enamel formation and mineralization is also abnormal in Orai1 deficient patients. The expression pattern and potential functions of Orai1 in enamel formation remains unclear. To contribute toward understanding the role of Orai1 in amelogenesis we characterized ORAI1 protein developmental pattern in comparison with other ectodermal organs. We also examined the effects of Orai1 down-regulation in ameloblast cell proliferation and differentiation. Results: Our data show strong expression of ORAI1 protein during the ameloblast secretory stage, which weans at the end of the maturation stage. In salivary glands, ORAI1 is expressed mainly in acini cells. ORAI1 expression is also found in hair follicle and oral epithelium. Knockdown of Orai1 expression decreases cell proliferation and results in RNA expression levels changes of key ameloblast genes regulating enamel thickness and mineralization. Conclusions: This study provides insights in the anhidrotic ectodermal dysplasia phenotype due to Orai1 mutation and highlights the importance of calcium signaling in controlling ameloblast differentiation and maturation during tooth development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1249-1258
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Amelogenesis imperfect
  • Calcium channels
  • Dentin
  • Ectodermal dysplasia
  • Enamel
  • Hair follicle
  • Oral epithelium
  • Salivary glands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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