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J Periodontol. 2003 Oct;74(10):1423-31.

Amelogenin: a potential regulator of cementum-associated genes.

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Department of Periodontics, Prevention and Geriatrics, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.



Studies suggest that enamel matrix proteins induce differentiation and mineralization of a variety of mesenchymal cells, including odontoblasts, osteoblasts, and cementoblasts. It has been postulated that this activity could be due to amelogenin-like proteins, known to be present in some mixtures of enamel matrix derivatives. Amelogenins have been reported to induce expression of a mineralized tissue-specific marker, bone sialoprotein (BSP), indicating that epithelial products can regulate the activity of mesenchyme-derived cells.


To explore the molecular mechanisms involved in BSP regulation, a clonal population of immortalized murine cementoblasts (OCCM-30) was exposed to full-length murine amelogenin protein (rp(H)M180), 0.1 microg/ml to 10.0 microg/ml, for 8 days in vitro. To further investigate the potential epithelial-mesenchymal interaction, an amelogenin knockout mouse model was used to examine expression of BSP and other markers, including Type I collagen, in tissue samples.


The lowest dose of amelogenin slightly enhanced BSP expression, whereas at the highest dose, a dramatic decrease (three-fold) in BSP expression was observed. Parallel experiments showed a corresponding decrease in mineral nodule formation in vitro for cells treated with the higher dose of rp(H)M180. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemical analysis of sections from amelogenin null mice revealed a dramatic reduction in expression of BSP mRNA and protein in cementoblasts and surrounding osteoblasts in comparison to age-matched controls. In contrast, the expression of Type I collagen was not significantly different from controls.


These data suggest that amelogenin may be a critical signaling molecule required for appropriate development of the periodontium.

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