Evolution and Function of Dinosaur Teeth at Ultramicrostructural Level Revealed Using Synchrotron Transmission X-ray Microscopy.
ABSTRACT: The relationship between tooth form and dietary preference is a crucial issue in vertebrate evolution. However, the mechanical properties of a tooth are influenced not only by its shape but also by its internal structure. Here, we use synchrotron transmission X-ray microscopy to examine the internal microstructures of multiple dinosaur teeth within a phylogenetic framework. We found that the internal microstructures of saurischian teeth are very different from advanced ornithischian teeth, reflecting differences in dental developmental strategies. The three-tissue composition (enamel-mantle dentin-bulk dentin) near the dentinoenamel junction (DEJ) in saurischian teeth represents the primitive condition of dinosaur teeth. Mantle dentin, greatly reduced or absent from DEJ in derived ornithischian teeth, is a key difference between Saurischia and Ornithischia. This may be related to the derived herbivorous feeding behavior of ornithischians, but interestingly, it is still retained in the herbivorous saurischian sauropods. The protective functions of mantle dentin with porous microstructures between enamel and bulk dentin inside typical saurischian teeth are also discussed using finite-element analysis method. Evolution of the dental modifications in ornithischian dinosaurs, with the absence of mantle dentin, may be related to changes in enamel characteristics with enamel spindles extending through the DEJ.
Project description:Teeth are key to understanding the feeding ecology of both extant and extinct vertebrates. Recent studies have highlighted the previously unrecognized complexity of dinosaur dentitions and how specific tooth tissues and tooth shapes differ between taxa with different diets. However, it is unknown how the ultrastructure of these tooth tissues contributes to the differences in feeding style between taxa. In this study, we use third harmonic generation microscopy and scanning electron microscopy to examine the ultrastructure of the dentine in herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs to understand how the structure of this tissue contributes to the overall utility of the tooth. Morphometric analyses of dentinal tubule diameter, density and branching rates reveal a strong signal for dietary preferences, with herbivorous saurischian and ornithischian dinosaurs consistently having higher dentinal tubule density than their carnivorous relatives. We hypothesize that this relates to the hardness of the dentine, where herbivorous taxa have dentine that is more resistant to breakage and wear at the dentine-enamel junction than carnivorous taxa. This study advocates the detailed study of dentine and the use of advanced microscopy techniques to understand the evolution of dentition and feeding ecology in extinct vertebrates.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Tooth morphology within theropod dinosaurs has been extensively investigated and shows high disparity throughout the Cretaceous. Changes or diversification in feeding ecology, i.e., adoption of an herbivorous diet (e.g., granivorous), is proposed as a major driver of tooth evolution in Paraves (e.g., Microraptor, troodontids and avialans). Here, we studied the microscopic features of paravian non-avian theropod and avialan teeth using high-spatial-resolution synchrotron transmission X-ray microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. RESULTS:We show that avialan teeth are characterized by the presence of simple enamel structures and a lack of porous mantle dentin between the enamel and orthodentin. Reduced internal structures of teeth took place independently in Early Cretaceous birds and a Microraptor specimen, implying that shifts in diet in avialans from that of closely related dinosaurs may correlate with a shift in feeding ecology during the transition from non-avian dinosaurs to birds. CONCLUSION:Different lines of evidence all suggest a large reduction in biting force affecting the evolution of teeth in the dinosaur-bird transition. Changes in teeth microstructure and associated dietary shift may have contributed to the early evolutionary success of stemward birds in the shadow of other non-avian theropods.
Project description:Previous investigations document functional and phylogenetic signals in the histology of dinosaur teeth. In particular, incremental lines in dentin have been used to determine tooth growth and replacement rates in several dinosaurian clades. However, to date, few studies have investigated the dental microstructure of theropods in the omnivory/herbivory spectrum. Here we examine dental histology of Therizinosauria, a clade of large-bodied theropods bearing significant morphological evidence for herbivory, by examining the teeth of the early-diverging therizinosaurian Falcarius utahensis, and an isolated tooth referred to Suzhousaurus megatherioides, a highly specialized large-bodied representative. Despite attaining some of the largest body masses among maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs, therizinosaurian teeth are diminutive, measuring no more than 0.90 cm in crown height (CH) and 0.38 cm in crown base length (CBL). Comparisons with other theropods and non-theropodan herbivorous dinosaurs reveals that when controlling for estimated body mass, crown volume in therizinosaurians plots most closely with dinosaurs of similar dietary strategy as opposed to phylogenetic heritage. Analysis of incremental growth lines in dentin, observed in thin sections of therizinosaurian teeth, demonstrates that tooth growth rates fall within the range of other archosaurs, conforming to hypothesized physiological limitations on the production of dental tissues. Despite dietary differences between therizinosaurians and hypercarnivorous theropods, the types of enamel crystallites present and their spatial distribution-i.e., the schmelzmuster of both taxa-is limited to parallel enamel crystallites, the simplest form of enamel and the plesiomorphic condition for Theropoda. This finding supports previous hypotheses that dental microstructure is strongly influenced by phylogeny, yet equally supports suggestions of reduced reliance on oral processing in omnivorous/herbivorous theropods rather than the microstructural specializations to diet exhibited by non-theropodan herbivorous dinosaurs. Finally, although our sample is limited, we document a significant reduction in the rate of enamel apposition contrasted with increased relative enamel thickness between early and later diverging therizinosaurians that coincides with anatomical evidence for increased specializations to herbivory in the clade.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Multiple sulfatase deficiency (MSD) is a rare autosomal recessive inborn error of metabolism due to reduced catalytic activity of the different sulfatase. Affected individuals show neurologic deterioration with mental retardation, skeletal anomalies, organomegaly, and skin changes as in X-linked ichthyosis. The only organ that was not examined in MSD patients is the dentition. OBJECTIVES:To evaluate the effect of the metabolic error on dental development in a patient with the intermediate severe late-infantile form of MSD (S155P). METHODS:Histological and chemical study were performed on three deciduous and five permanent teeth from MSD patient and pair-matched normal patients. RESULTS:Tooth germ size and enamel thickness were reduced in both deciduous and permanent MSD teeth, and the scalloping feature of the DEJ was missing in MSD teeth causing enamel to break off from the dentin. The mineral components in the enamel and dentin were different. CONCLUSIONS:The metabolic error insults the teeth in the stage of organogenesis in both the deciduous and permanent dentition. The end result is teeth with very sharp cusp tips, thin hypomineralized enamel, and exposed dentin due to the break off of enamel. These findings are different from all other types of MPS syndromes.Clinically the phenotype of intermediate severe late-infantile form of MSD appeared during the third year of life. In children of parents that are carriers, we can diagnose the disease as early as birth using X-ray radiograph of the anterior upper region or as early as 6-8 months when the first deciduous tooth erupt and consider very early treatment to ameliorate the symptoms.
Project description:Dentin sialophosphoprotein (DSPP) is one of the major non-collagenous proteins present in dentin, cementum and alveolar bone; it is also transiently expressed by ameloblasts. In humans many mutations have been found in DSPP and are associated with two autosomal-dominant genetic diseases - dentinogenesis imperfecta II (DGI-II) and dentin dysplasia (DD). Both disorders result in the development of hypomineralized and mechanically compromised teeth. The erupted mature molars of Dspp(-/-) mice have a severe hypomineralized dentin phenotype. Since dentin and enamel formations are interdependent, we decided to investigate the process of enamel onset mineralization in young Dspp(-/-) animals. We focused our analysis on the constantly erupting mouse incisor, to capture all of the stages of odontogenesis in one tooth, and the unerupted first molars. Using high-resolution microCT, we revealed that the onset of enamel matrix deposition occurs closer to the cervical loop and both secretion and maturation of enamel are accelerated in Dspp(-/-) incisors compared to the Dspp(+/-) control. Importantly, these differences did not translate into major phenotypic differences in mature enamel in terms of the structural organization, mineral density or hardness. The only observable difference was the reduction in thickness of the outer enamel layer, while the total enamel thickness remained unchanged. We also observed a compromised dentin-enamel junction, leading to delamination between the dentin and enamel layers. The odontoblast processes were widened and lacked branching near the DEJ. Finally, for the first time we demonstrate expression of Dspp mRNA in secretory ameloblasts. In summary, our data show that DSPP is important for normal mineralization of both dentin and enamel.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Matrix metallopeptidase 20 (MMP20) is an evolutionarily conserved protease that is essential for processing enamel matrix proteins during dental enamel formation. MMP20 mutations cause human autosomal recessive pigmented hypomaturation-type amelogenesis imperfecta (AI2A2; OMIM #612529). MMP20 is expressed in both odontoblasts and ameloblasts, but its function during dentinogenesis is unclear. METHODS:We characterized 10 AI kindreds with MMP20 defects, characterized human third molars and/or Mmp20-/- mice by histology, Backscattered Scanning Electron Microscopy (bSEM), µCT, and nanohardness testing. RESULTS:We identified six novel MMP20 disease-causing mutations. Four pathogenic variants were associated with exons encoding the MMP20 hemopexin-like (PEX) domain, suggesting a necessary regulatory function. Mutant human enamel hardness was softest (13% of normal) midway between the dentinoenamel junction (DEJ) and the enamel surface. bSEM and µCT analyses of the third molars revealed reduced mineral density in both enamel and dentin. Dentin close to the DEJ showed an average hardness number 62%-69% of control. Characterization of Mmp20-/- mouse dentin revealed a significant reduction in dentin thickness and mineral density and a transient increase in predentin thickness, indicating disturbances in dentin matrix secretion and mineralization. CONCLUSION:These results expand the spectrum of MMP20 disease-causing mutations and provide the first evidence for MMP20 function during dentin formation.
Project description:Lanzhousaurus magnidens, a large non-hadrosauriform iguanodontian dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Hekou Group of Gansu Province, China has the largest known herbivorous dinosaur teeth. Unlike its hadrosauriform relatives possessing tooth batteries of many small teeth, Lanzhousaurus utilized a small number (14) of very large teeth (~10?cm long) to create a large, continuous surface for mastication. Here we investigate the significance of Lanzhousaurus in the evolutionary history of iguanodontian-hadrosauriform transition by using a combination of stable isotope analysis and CT imagery. We infer that Lanzhousaurus had a rapid rate of tooth enamel elongation or amelogenesis at 0.24?mm/day with dental tissues common to other Iguanodontian dinosaurs. Among ornithopods, high rates of amelogenesis have been previously observed in hadrosaurids, where they have been associated with a sophisticated masticatory apparatus. These data suggest rapid amelogenesis evolved among non-hadrosauriform iguanodontians such as Lanzhousaurus, representing a crucial step that was exapted for the evolution of the hadrosaurian feeding mechanism.
Project description:Recent histological studies suggest relatively rapid growth in dinosaurs. However, the timing of reproductive maturity (RM) in dinosaurs is poorly known because unambiguous indicators of RM are rare. One exception is medullary bone (MB), which is an ephemeral bony tissue that forms before ovulation in the marrow cavities of birds as a calcium source for eggshelling. Recently, MB also was described in a single specimen of the saurischian dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex. Here, we report two other occurrences of MB: in another saurischian dinosaur, Allosaurus, and in the ornithischian dinosaur Tenontosaurus. We show by counting lines of arrested growth and performing growth curve reconstructions that Tenontosaurus, Allosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus were reproductively mature by 8, 10, and 18 years, respectively. RM in these dinosaurs coincided with a transition from growth acceleration to deceleration. It also far precedes predictions based on the growth rates of living reptiles scaled to similar size. Despite relatively rapid growth, dinosaurs were similar to reptiles in that RM developed before reaching asymptotic size. However, this reproductive strategy also occurs in medium- to large-sized mammals and correlates with a strategy of prolonged multiyear growth. RM in actively growing individuals suggests that these dinosaurs were born relatively precocial and experienced high adult mortality. The origin of the modern avian reproductive strategy in ornithuran birds likely coincided with their extreme elevations in growth rate and truncations to growth duration.
Project description:Tooth development is a complex process that involves precise and time-dependent orchestration of multiple genetic, molecular, and cellular interactions. Ameloblastin (AMBN, also named "amelin" or "sheathlin") is the second most abundant enamel matrix protein known to have a key role in amelogenesis. Amelogenesis imperfecta (AI [MIM: 104500]) refers to a genetically and phenotypically heterogeneous group of conditions characterized by inherited developmental enamel defects. The hereditary dentin disorders comprise a variety of autosomal-dominant genetic symptoms characterized by abnormal dentin structure affecting either the primary or both the primary and secondary teeth. The vital role of Ambn in amelogenesis has been confirmed experimentally using mouse models. Only two cases have been reported of mutations of AMBN associated with non-syndromic human AI. However, no AMBN missense mutations have been reported to be associated with both human AI and dentin disorders. We recruited one kindred with autosomal-dominant amelogenesis imperfecta (ADAI) and dentinogenesis imperfecta/dysplasia characterized by generalized severe enamel and dentin defects. Whole exome sequencing of the proband identified a novel heterozygous C-T point mutation at nucleotide position 1069 of the AMBN gene, causing a Pro to Ser mutation at the conserved amino acid position 357 of the protein. Exfoliated third molar teeth from the affected family members were found to have enamel and dentin of lower mineral density than control teeth, with thinner and easily fractured enamel, short and thick roots, and pulp obliteration. This study demonstrates, for the first time, that an AMBN missense mutation causes non-syndromic human AI and dentin disorders.
Project description:The purposes of this study were to: (1) investigate adhesion through shear bond strength (SBS) testing of a resin composite bonded with a self-etching bonding system (SEB) to amelogenesis imperfecta (AI)-affected deproteinized mouse enamel or dentin; and (2) compare wild-type (WT), amelogenin null (AmelxKO), and matrix metalloproteinase-20 null (Mmp20KO) enamel and dentin phenotypes using micro-CT and nanoindentation.Enamel incisor surfaces of WT, AmelxKO, and Mmp20KO mice were treated with SEB with and without sodium hypochlorite and tested for SBS. Incisor dentin was also treated with SEB and tested for SBS. These surfaces were further examined by scanning electron miscroscopy. Micro-CT and nanoindentation analyses were performed on mouse dentin and enamel. Data were analyzed for significance by analysis of variance.Deproteinization did not improve SBS of SEB to these AI-affected enamel surfaces. SBS of AmelxKO teeth was similar in dentin and enamel; however, it was higher in Mmp20KO dentin. The nanohardness of knockout enamel was significantly lower than WT, while knockout dentin nanohardness was not different from WT.Using animal amelogenesis imperfecta models, enamel sodium hypochlorite deproteinization of hypoplastic and hypoplastic-hypomaturation enamel did not increase shear bond strength, while removal of the defective enamel allowed optimal dentin bonding.