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Eur J Oral Sci. 2011 Dec;119 Suppl 1:254-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0722.2011.00905.x.

Ameloblastin-rich enamel matrix favors short and randomly oriented apatite crystals.

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  • 1Brodie Laboratory for Craniofacial Genetics, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.


Molecular evolution studies suggest that amelogenin (AMELX), the principal component of the mammalian enamel matrix, emerged considerably later than ameloblastin (AMBN), and enamelin. Here, we created a transgenic mouse model to ask the question how a conceivable basal enamel lacking AMELX and enriched in the more basal AMBN might compare with recent mouse enamel. To answer this question we overexpressed AMBN using a keratin 14 (K14) promoter and removed AMELX from the genetic background by crossbreeding with amelx(-/-) mice. Enamel coverings of amelx(-/-) mice and of the squamate Iguana iguana were used for comparison. Scanning electron microscopic analysis documented that AMBN transgenic (TG) × amelx(-/-) mouse molars were covered by a 5 μm thin 'enameloid' layer resembling the thin enamel of the Iguana squamate. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that the enamel of developing AMBN TG × amelx(-/-) mouse molars contained short (approximately 70 nm) and randomly oriented crystals, while WT controls, AMBN overexpressors, and AMELX(-/-) mice all featured elongated and parallel oriented crystals measuring between 300 and 600 nm in average length. Together, these studies illustrate that AMBN promotes the growth of a crystalline enamel layer with short and randomly oriented crystals, but lacks the ability to facilitate the formation of long and parallel oriented apatite crystals.

© 2011 Eur J Oral Sci.

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