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Connect Tissue Res. 1989;22(1-4):101-9.

Of mice and men: anatomy of the amelogenin gene.

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School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 90089-0191.


Mammalian enamel matrix is composed of two principal proteins, the enamelins and amelogenin. Recombinant complementary DNA (cDNA) molecules for the predominant mouse amelogenin have been identified, characterized by direct determination of the DNA sequence, and used as a specific hybridization probe. The spatial- and temporal-restricted pattern for amelogenin gene expression within developing mouse molars has been traced at the level of a single cell using in situ hybridization. The mouse genome has been shown to contain only one copy of the amelogenin (AMEL) gene which is not amplified or rearranged during ameloblast determination. In contrast, the human genome contains two copies of the AMEL gene, one residing on the X chromosome and one upon the Y chromosome. These observations, the availability of specific enamel gene probes coupled with the application of new techniques in molecular biology now afford unique opportunities for the analysis of the molecular basis of inherited defects of human enamel such as amelogenesis imperfecta. Recent advances towards obtaining a physical map and the complete nucleotide sequence for the human genome, as well as the documented developmental biology, defined genetics and transgenic capability of the mouse, suggest that mouse and man are the most relevant and potentially informative models for analysis of normal and abnormal enamel biomineralization.

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