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Cryst Growth Des. 2010 Nov;10(11):4815-4822.

Tooth enamel proteins enamelin and amelogenin cooperate to regulate the growth morphology of octacalcium phosphate crystals.

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Dental Materials Science, Asahi University School of Dentistry, Gifu, Japan.


To examine the hypothetical cooperative role of enamelin and amelogenin in controlling the growth morphology of enamel crystals in the post-secretory stage, we applied a cation selective membrane system for the growth of octacalcium phosphate (OCP) in the truncated recombinant porcine amelogenin (rP148) with and without the 32kDa enamelin fragment. Enamelin alone inhibited the growth in the c-axis direction more than rP148, yielding OCP crystals with the smallest aspect ratio of all conditions tested. When enamelin was added to the amelogenin "gel-like matrix", the inhibitory action of the protein mixture on the growth of OCP in the c-axis direction was diminished, while that in the b-axis direction was increased. As a result, the length to width ratio (aspect ratio) of OCP crystal was markedly increased. Addition of enamelin to amelogenin enhanced the potential of amelogenin to stabilize the amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) transient phase. The ratio of enamelin and amelogenin was crucial for stabilization of ACP and the growth of OCP crystals with larger aspect ratio. The cooperative regulatory action of enamelin and amelogenin was attained, presumably, through co-assembling of enamelin and amelogenin. These results have important implications in understanding the growth mechanism of enamel crystals with large aspect ratio.

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