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Connect Tissue Res. 2003;44 Suppl 1:52-7.

Amelogenin self-assembly and the role of the proline located within the carboxyl-teleopeptide.

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


A hallmark of biological systems is a reliance on protein assemblies to perform complex functions. We have focused attention on mammalian enamel formation because it relies on a self-assembling protein complex to direct mineral habit. The principle protein of enamel is amelogenin that self-assembles to form nanospheres. In mice, the principal amelogenin product is a 180 amino acid hydrophobic protein. The yeast two-hybrid assay has been used to demonstrate the importance of amelogenin self-assembly domains. We have generated specific variants of amelogenin to analyze contributions of individual amino acids to the self-assembly process. These amelogenin variants have been produced either by deleting carboxyl-terminal amino acids (to generate proteins that relate to the documented proteolytic products of mouse amelogenin) or by a site-directed mutagenesis approach. Assessment of variant amelogenins truncated at the carboxyl-terminal imply that the proline at position 169 of mouse amelogenin (M180) plays a significant role in amelogenin self-assembly. Site-directed mutagenesis of this particular proline, however, failed to disrupt the amelogenin self-assembly property. These conflicting data add to the complexity of protein-protein assembly mechanisms as they relate to the enamel matrix. Available data suggest a robustness of this enamel protein (amelogenin) that ensures a functional, even though mechanically less than optimal, enamel results despite either minor or major genetic errors to the amelogenin gene locus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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