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Cryst Growth Des. 2016 Sep 7;16(9):4981-4990. doi: 10.1021/acs.cgd.6b00569. Epub 2016 Aug 5.

Amelogenin Affects Brushite Crystal Morphology and Promotes Its Phase Transformation to Monetite.

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Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90033, United States.
Physical Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington 99352, United States.
Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089, United States.


Amelogenin protein is involved in organized apatite crystallization during enamel formation. Brushite (CaHPO4·2H2O), one of the precursors of hydroxyapatite mineralization in vitro, has been used for fabrication of biomaterials for hard tissue repair. In order to explore its potential application in biomimetic material synthesis, we studied the influence of the enamel protein amelogenin on brushite morphology and phase transformation to monetite. Our results show that amelogenin can adsorb onto the surface of brushite, leading to the formation of layered morphology on the (010) face. Amelogenin promoted the phase transformation of brushite into monetite (CaHPO4) in the dry state, presumably by interacting with crystalline water layers in brushite unit cells. Changes to the crystal morphology mediated by amelogenin continued even after the phase transformation from brushite to monetite, leading to the formation of organized platelets with an interlocked structure. This effect of amelogenin on brushite morphology and the phase transformation to monetite could provide a new approach to developing biomimetic materials.

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