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J Biol Chem. 2010 Dec 24;285(52):40593-603. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.131136. Epub 2010 Oct 7.

Perturbed amelogenin secondary structure leads to uncontrolled aggregation in amelogenesis imperfecta mutant proteins.

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


Mutations in amelogenin sequence result in defective enamel, and the diverse group of genetically altered conditions is collectively known as amelogenesis imperfecta (AI). Despite numerous studies, the detailed molecular mechanism of defective enamel formation is still unknown. In this study, we have examined the biophysical properties of a recombinant murine amelogenin (rM180) and two point mutations identified from human DNA sequences in two cases of AI (T21I and P41T). At pH 5.8 and 25 °C, wild type (WT) rM180 and mutant P41T existed as monomers, and mutant T21I formed lower order oligomers. CD, dynamic light scattering, and fluorescence studies indicated that rM180 and P41T can be classified as a premolten globule-like subclass protein at 25 °C. Thermal denaturation and refolding monitored by CD ellipticity at 224 nm indicated the presence of a strong hysteresis in mutants compared with WT. Variable temperature tryptophan fluorescence and dynamic light scattering studies showed that WT transformed to a partially folded conformation upon heating and remained stable. The partially folded conformation formed by P41T, however, readily converted into a heterogeneous population of aggregates. T21I existed in an oligomeric state at room temperature and, upon heating, rapidly formed large aggregates over a very narrow temperature range. Thermal denaturation and refolding studies indicated that the mutants are less stable and exhibit poor refolding ability compared with WT rM180. Our results suggest that alterations in self-assembly of amelogenin are a consequence of destabilization of the intrinsic disorder. Therefore, we propose that, like a number of other human diseases, AI appears to be due to the destabilization of the secondary structure as a result of amelogenin mutations.

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