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J Bone Miner Res. 2005 Jun;20(6):1032-40. Epub 2005 Jan 24.

Enamel matrix protein interactions.

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  • 1Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, University of Southern California, School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, California 90033, USA.


The recognized structural proteins of the enamel matrix are amelogenin, ameloblastin, and enamelin. While a large volume of data exists showing that amelogenin self-assembles into multimeric units referred to as nanospheres, other reports of enamel matrix protein-protein interactions are scant. We believe that each of these enamel matrix proteins must interact with other organic components of ameloblasts and the enamel matrix. Likely protein partners would include integral membrane proteins and additional secreted proteins.


The purpose of this study was to identify and catalog additional proteins that play a significant role in enamel formation.


We used the yeast two-hybrid assay to identify protein partners for amelogenin, ameloblastin, and enamelin. Once identified, RT-PCR was used to assess gene transcription of these newly identified and potential "enamel" proteins in ameloblast-like LS8 cells.


In the context of this yeast assay, we identified a number of secreted proteins and integral membrane proteins that interact with amelogenin, ameloblastin, and enamelin. Additionally, proteins whose functions range from the inhibition of soft tissue mineralization, calcium ion transport, and phosphorylation events have been identified as protein partners to these enamel matrix proteins. For each protein identified using this screening strategy, future studies are planned to confirm this physiological relationship to biomineralization in vivo.


Identifying integral membrane proteins of the secretory surface of ameloblast cells (Tomes' processes) and additional enamel matrix proteins, based on their abilities to interact with the most abundant enamel matrix proteins, will better define the molecular mechanisms of enamel formation at its most rudimentary level.

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