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Molecule characterizing maturation and function of periodontal ligament identified

Tenomodulin emerges with tooth eruption and enhances cellular adhesion


University Hospital
Graduate School of Engineering / Faculty of Engineering

The periodontal ligament (PDL) plays important roles in connecting teeth to the jaw, sensing occlusal force, and providing shock absorption. Poor oral hygiene ultimately results in periodontitis, an inflammatory disease of the periodontal tissue, leading to loss of the PDL and teeth. Despite extensive studies on regenerative therapies for the periodontal tissue, regeneration of the PDL is still challenging. In particular, it has been difficult to verify that the property of the regenerated PDL is comparable to that of the normal PDL; there has been no reliable indicator that can assess functional regeneration of the PDL.

© Yuske Komiyama. (A) Expression of Tenomodulin (Tnmd) in the periodontal ligament emerges in conjunction with tooth eruption. (B-a) Tnmd has three domains: BRICHOS domain, CS region, and CTD. (B-b) In vitro analysis of Tnmd-overexpressing cells revealed Tnmd-mediated enhancement of cell adhesion. (B-c) Disruption of Tnmd decreased cell adhesion in fibroblasts. (B-d) In the analysis of domain deletion mutants of Tnmd, BRICHOS domain and CS region canceled Tnmd-mediated enhancement of cell adhesion, suggesting their important roles in Tnmd function.

Dr. Yuske Komiyama (Project clinical fellow, The University of Tokyo Hospital Intensive Care Unit), Project Associate Professor Shinsuke Ohba (Department of Bioengineering, The University of Tokyo), and Professor Ung-il Chung (Department of Bioengineering, The University of Tokyo), collaborating with Drs. Denitsa Docheva (Lutwig-Maximillians University), Chisa Shukunami (Associate Professor, Kyoto University), and Yuji Hiraki (Professor, Kyoto University), found that tenomodulin (Tnmd) expression emerged in conjunction with tooth eruption and it enhanced cellular adhesion to extracellular matrix. This study sheds light on a novel function of Tnmd, pointing to Tnmd as not only a molecular marker for mature tendons and ligaments, but also a molecule that functionally characterizes the tendon/ligament tissue. Findings in this study will contribute to the understanding of the molecular basis of tendons and ligaments including the PDL, and to developing strategies for regenerating functional tendons and ligaments.

Press release


Yuske Komiyama, Shinsuke Ohba, Nobuyuki Shimohata, Keiji Nakajima, Hironori Hojo, Fumiko Yano, Tsuyoshi Takato, Denitsa Docheva, Chisa Shukunami, Yuji Hiraki, Ung-il Chung,
“Tenomodulin expression in the periodontal ligament enhances cellular adhesion”,
PLOS ONE Online Edition: 2013/4/10. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060203.
Article link


Graduate School of Engineering

Graduate School of Medicine

Department of Bioengineering, Graduate School of Engineering

Graduate School of Medicine Skeletal Development and Regeneration Research Group

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