Epigenetic regulation in lingual epithelium development
The stratified lingual epithelium is a unique array of epithelial-mesenchymal appendages termed papillae. Taste buds, neuro-epithelial cell clusters, are harbored by fungiform papillae (FGP) and are localized in the anterior tongue. FGPs are surrounded by keratinized, non-gustatory filiform papillae (FFP) that function as a physical barrier.
The sense of taste allows us to distinguish nutritious foods from toxic foods and is therefore essential for survival. While the functions of epithelial-mesenchymal interactions and different signaling pathways in regulating FGP patterning have been well characterized, the roles cell-intrinsic mechanisms in the specification and maintenance of taste cells and other cell lineages in the tongue epithelium is poorly understood. We are interested in elucidating the roles of histone modifiers, in particular Polycomb repressive complexes, in the specification and maintenance of the lingual structures.
Figure 1. The mouse lingual epithelium. Left - a diagram of the mouse tongue. Right - Sagittal section through the lingual epithelium of a newborn mouse. Arrow marks a fungiform papilla. Arrowheads mark the surrounding filiform papillae.