Meet the Authors: Daria Larionova, Hervé Lesot, Ann Huysseune

By Sheryll Poe 

When it comes to the formation of teeth in vertebrates, even the smallest of cells can play a major role. 

For their paper, “Miniaturization: How many cells are needed to build a tooth,” published in Developmental Dynamics, Ghent University’s Daria Larionova, Herve Lesot and Ann Huysseune tackled the question by looking at the first functional dentition in small-sized teleost fish, such as medaka (Oryzias latipes). 

“Vertebrate tooth formation is a complex and multistage process, requiring the interaction of cells of different origins,” Larionova said via email. “Neural crest-derived odontoblasts play a major role in the formation of the tooth matrix. Whereas the murine dental papilla shows a very complex cellular heterogeneity, some teleost fish are able to develop a functional tooth with an extremely reduced number of odontoblasts. Such a tooth represents an extreme form of miniaturization of organogenesis and can be used as a model to study the interactions between the cells for regenerative dentistry.” The researchers found that the unique characteristics of a single cell in the dental papilla which can be qualified as a true odontoblast, ie: a dentin-producing cell.

Larionova, a post-doctoral assistant at the Department of Biology at Ghent University Belgium. joined the research group of Evolutionary Developmental Biology of Prof. Dr. Ann Huysseune in 2016. While Huysseune has a long history of collaboration with Lesot, whose research focuses on the development of teeth in mice, Larionova has focused on the early development of teleost fish, particularly their tooth formation. 

The group is all smiles when it comes to the process of submitting their research for publication with Developmental Dynamics, which Larionova described as “very clear and straightforward.”  She also noted that editor Paul Trainor was quick to respond to questions. 

Read: “Miniaturization: How many cells are needed to build a tooth?” by Daria Larionova, Herve Lesot and Ann Hysseune.