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Nat Mater. 2003 Aug;2(8):552-8.

Nucleation of apatite crystals in vitro by self-assembled dentin matrix protein 1.

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  • 1Department of Oral Biology (M/C 690), University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.

Abstract

Bones and teeth are biocomposites that require controlled mineral deposition during their self-assembly to form tissues with unique mechanical properties. Acidic extracellular matrix proteins play a pivotal role during biomineral formation. However, the mechanisms of protein-mediated mineral initiation are far from understood. Here we report that dentin matrix protein 1 (DMP1), an acidic protein, can nucleate the formation of hydroxyapatite in vitro in a multistep process that begins by DMP1 binding calcium ions and initiating mineral deposition. The nucleated amorphous calcium phosphate precipitates ripen and nanocrystals form. Subsequently, these expand and coalesce into microscale crystals elongated in the c-axis direction. Characterization of the functional domains in DMP1 demonstrated that intermolecular assembly of acidic clusters into a beta-sheet template was essential for the observed mineral nucleation. Protein-mediated initiation of nanocrystals, as discussed here, might provide a new methodology for constructing nanoscale composites by self-assembly of polypeptides with tailor-made peptide sequences.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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