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J Dent Res. 2000 Apr;79(4):912-9.

Cloning human enamelin cDNA, chromosomal localization, and analysis of expression during tooth development.

Author information

  • 1University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, School of Dentistry, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, 78284-7888, USA. huj@uthscsa.edu


Enamelin is the largest protein in the enamel matrix of developing teeth. In the pig, enamelin is secreted as 186-kDa phosphorylated glycoprotein, which is rapidly processed by enamel proteinases into smaller cleavage products. During the secretory stage of enamel formation, enamelin is found among the crystallites in the rod and interrod enamel and comprises roughly 5% of total matrix protein. Although the function of enamelin is unknown, it is thought to participate in enamel crystal nucleation and extension, and the regulation of crystal habit. Here we report the results of enamelin in situ hybridization in a day 1 mouse developing incisor that shows that enamelin is expressed by ameloblasts, but not by odontoblasts or other cells in the dental pulp. The restricted pattern of enamelin expression makes the human enamelin gene a prime candidate in the etiology of amelogenesis imperfecta (AI), a genetic disease in which defects of enamel formation occur in the absence of non-dental symptoms. We have cloned and characterized a full-length human enamelin cDNA and determined by radiation hybrid mapping and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) that the gene is located on chromosome 4q near the ameloblastin gene in a region previously linked to local hypoplastic AI in six families. These findings will facilitate the search for specific mutations in the enamelin gene in kindreds suffering from amelogenesis imperfecta.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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