Parathyroid hormone (PTH)-related protein (PTHrP)-knockout mice die at birth with a chondrodystrophic phenotype characterized by premature chondrocyte differentiation and accelerated bone formation, whereas overexpression of PTHrP in the chondrocytes of transgenic mice produces a delay in chondrocyte maturation and endochondral ossification. Replacement of PTHrP expression in the chondrocytes of PTHrP-knockout mice using a procollagen II-driven transgene results in the correction of the lethal skeletal abnormalities and generates animals that are effectively PTHrP-null in all sites other than cartilage. These rescued PTHrP-knockout mice survive to at least 6 months of age but are small in stature and display a number of developmental defects, including cranial chondrodystrophy and a failure of tooth eruption. Teeth appear to develop normally but become trapped by the surrounding bone and undergo progressive impaction. Localization of PTHrP mRNA during normal tooth development by in situ hybridization reveals increasing levels of expression in the enamel epithelium before the formation of the eruption pathway. The type I PTH/PTHrP receptor is expressed in both the adjacent dental mesenchyme and in the alveolar bone. The replacement of PTHrP expression in the enamel epithelium with a keratin 14-driven transgene corrects the defect in bone resorption and restores the normal program of tooth eruption. PTHrP therefore represents an essential signal in the formation of the eruption pathway.