The transcription factor OASIS gene, which encodes for a CREB/ATF family member, is specifically expressed in the salivary gland, the cartilage and the tooth germs of the mouse embryo. In the present study, the expression patterns were compared between OASIS mRNA and major vertebrate proteoglycans, which might be the downstream genes of OASIS in the tooth germs of mouse first mandibular molars, through in situ hybridization histochemistry. OASIS mRNA expression was observed in the inner enamel epithelium during the cap and bell stages (E14.5-E18.5) in the preodontoblasts during differentiation stage (E18.5-P0) and in the differentiating odontoblasts during the early secretory stage (P2.5-P4.5). Proteoglycans (versican, decorin, biglycan, glypican, syndecan-1, and syndecan-3) were expressed in the tooth germs in various patterns. Decorin, biglycan, syndecan-1 and syndecan-3 showed gene expressions overlapping with OASIS. Especially the expression pattern of decorin and syndecan-3 coincided temporally and spatially exactly with that of OASIS. These results suggest that the OASIS gene might be related to proteoglycan expression and may play an important role in the differentiation of the odontoblast and cells in inner enamel epithelium.