3. Protein-protein interactions of the developing enamel matrix

Curr Top Dev Biol. 2006:74:57-115. doi: 10.1016/S0070-2153(06)74003-0.


Extracellular matrix proteins control the formation of the inorganic component of hard tissues including bone, dentin, and enamel. The structural proteins expressed primarily in the enamel matrix are amelogenin, ameloblastin, enamelin, and amelotin. Other proteins, like biglycan, are also present in the enamel matrix as well as in other mineralizing and nonmineralizing tissues of mammals. In addition, the presence of sulfated enamel proteins, and "tuft" proteins has been examined and discussed in relation to enamel formation. The structural proteins of the enamel matrix must have specific protein-protein interactions to produce a matrix capable of directing the highly ordered structure of the enamel crystallites. Protein-protein interactions are also likely to occur between the secreted enamel proteins and the plasma membrane of the enamel producing cells, the ameloblasts. Such protein-protein interactions are hypothesized to influence the secretion of enamel proteins, establish short-term order of the forming matrix, and to mediate feedback signals to the transcriptional machinery of these cells. Membrane-bound proteins identified in ameloblasts, and which interact with the structural enamel proteins, include Cd63 (cluster of differentiation 63 antigen), annexin A2 (Anxa2), and lysosomal-associated glycoprotein 1 (Lamp1). These and related data help explain the molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for the removal of the organic enamel matrix during the events of enamel mineralization, and how the enamel matrix influences its own fate through signaling initiated at the cell surface. The knowledge gained from enamel developmental studies may lead to better dental and nondental materials, or materials inspired by Nature. These data will be critical to scientists, engineers, and dentists in their pursuits to regenerate an entire tooth. For tooth regeneration to become a reality, the protein-protein interactions involving the key dental proteins must be identified and understood. The scope of this review is to discuss the current understanding of protein-protein interactions of the developing enamel matrix, and relate this knowledge to enamel biomineralization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amelogenin / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Dental Enamel / enzymology
  • Dental Enamel / growth & development*
  • Dental Enamel / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Peptide Hydrolases / physiology
  • Protein Interaction Mapping*
  • Proteins / metabolism*


  • Amelogenin
  • Proteins
  • Peptide Hydrolases