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Arch Oral Biol. 1991;36(1):55-63.

Purification and characterization of a rabbit salivary protein, a potent inhibitor of crystal growth of calcium phosphate salts.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Human saliva is supersaturated with respect to basic calcium phosphate salts but is stabilized by specific macromolecules that inhibit calcium phosphate precipitation. One of the families of inhibitory proteins in human and monkey saliva is the acidic proline-rich proteins. The purpose of this study was to isolate and characterize inhibitors of calcium phosphate precipitation from rabbit parotid saliva. Saliva was fractionated by immunoaffinity chromatography and anion exchange chromatography. Individual fractions were assayed for their ability to inhibit calcium phosphate crystal growth and the fraction associated with the inhibition was purified by repeated anion exchange chromatography, preparative gel electrophoresis and electroelution. A major (APRP) and two minor proteins (AM1, AM2) that were inhibitory were purified. APRP is an acidic proline-rich phospho-glycoprotein and a very potent inhibitor of secondary crystal growth of calcium phosphate as it was active at a concentration of 2 x 10(-8) M in a standard assay. The N-terminal sequence of one APRP was EYENLDGSLAATQNDDD?Q and a clostripain fragment of APRP had the following N-terminal sequence PQHRPPRPGGH-????SPPP?GN???PPP. Although the N-terminal segment of APRP does not resemble that of proline-rich proteins, alignment of the clostripain fragment with the repeat region of such proteins from rat, mouse, monkey and man revealed a high degree of similarity, indicating a structural relationship with the proline-rich protein family.

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