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Crit Rev Oral Biol Med. 1998;9(2):201-23.

Is all bone the same? Distinctive distributions and properties of non-collagenous matrix proteins in lamellar vs. woven bone imply the existence of different underlying osteogenic mechanisms.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 64110, USA.


The purpose of this review is to summarize recent functional and structural findings regarding non-collagenous matrix proteins in bone and teeth, to compare gene locations for bone and tooth matrix proteins with loci for hereditary skeletal diseases, and to present several provocative hypotheses which integrate this new information into a physiological context. Hypothesis I proposes that the molecular composition of rapidly deposited and mineralized woven bone, as well as the responsiveness of cells synthesizing woven bone to stimuli, is different from that for more slowly synthesized lamellar bone, implying the existence of distinctive osteogenic mechanisms. This review of recent research strongly supports this proposal. Briefly, the protein composition of woven bone matrix is enriched in acidic phosphoproteins BAG-75 and BSP, which are not expressed in lamellar bone, which is itself enriched in osteocalcin. De novo deposition and mineralization of woven bone occurs faster than in lamellar bone by means of a matrix-vesicle-assisted mechanism. Deposition of woven bone occurs at sites experiencing biomechanical strains higher than those experienced by lamellar bone. In addition, woven bone in metaphyseal regions is more susceptible to osteoclastic resorption after space flight, ovariectomy, and loss of weightbearing than is lamellar bone. Finally, osteoprogenitor cells responsive to parathyroid hormone reside in the metaphyseal region of long bones. Taken together, these findings suggest that Hypothesis I represents a useful paradigm for future studies. Specific functions mediated by most individual bone and tooth matrix proteins remain uncertain. A review of current literature suggests that the functionality of skeletal matrix proteins is expressed through specific binding sites composed of particular species-conserved structural motifs (Hypothesis 2). Examples include the previously recognized Asp-Ser-Ser motif of dentin phosphophoryns and the gamma-carboxyglutamic acid motif of matrix GLA protein and osteocalcin. A new polyacidic amino acid motif composed of consecutive Asp and Glu residues (n > 7) was defined in extracellular matrix components osteopontin, bone sialoprotein, and bone acidic glycoprotein-75 on the basis of strong functional analogies with similar polyacidic stretches in divalent metal storage proteins of the endoplasmic reticulum and sarcoplasmic reticulum. These structural motifs represent prime targets for future structure-function studies in vivo and in vitro.

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