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Scientific Publication Citing Dragonfly

Ultrastructural studies of developing egg tooth in grass snake Natrix natrix (Squamata, Serpentes) embryos, supported by X-ray microtomography analysis

Mateusz Hermyt (1), Brian Metscher (2), Weronika Rupik (1)
Zoology, 146, June 2021. DOI: 10.1016/j.zool.2021.125913


egg tooth development; snake embryos; histology; hatching


The egg tooth development is similar to the development of all the other vertebrate teeth except earliest developmental stages because the egg tooth develops directly from the oral epithelium instead of the dental lamina similarly to null generation teeth. The developing egg tooth of Natrix natrix changes its curvature differently than the egg tooth of the other investigated unidentates due to the presence of the rostral groove. The developing grass snake egg tooth comprises dental pulp and the enamel organ. The fully differentiated enamel organ consists of outer enamel epithelium, stellate reticulum, and ameloblasts in its inner layer. The enamel organ directly in contact with the oral cavity is covered with periderm instead of outer enamel epithelium. Stellate reticulum cells in the grass snake egg tooth share intercellular spaces with the basal part of ameloblasts and are responsible for their nutrition. Ameloblasts during egg tooth differentiation pass through the following stages: presecretory, secretory, and mature. The ameloblasts from the grass snake egg tooth show the same cellular changes as reported during mammalian amelogenesis but are devoid of Tomes’ processes. Odontoblasts of the developing grass snake egg tooth pass through the following classes: pre-odontoblasts, secretory odontoblasts, and ageing odontoblasts. They have highly differentiated secretory apparatus and in the course of their activity accumulate lipofuscin. Grass snake odontoblasts possess processes which are poor in organelles. In developing egg tooth cilia have been identified in odontoblasts, ameloblasts and cells of the stellate reticulum. Dental pulp cells remodel collagen matrix during growth of the grass snake egg tooth. They degenerate in a way previously not described in other teeth.

How Our Software Was Used

Dragonfly was used to perform 3D reconstruction of CT data.

Author Affiliation

(1) University of Silesia in Katowice, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Institute of Biology, Biotechnology and Environmental Protection, 9 Bankowa Str., 40-007, Katowice, Poland.
(2)Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Vienna, Althanstraße 14, 1090, Austria.

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