Biomineralization of bone: a fresh view of the roles of non-collagenous proteins

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2011 Jun 1;16:2598-621. doi: 10.2741/3875.


The impact of genetics has dramatically affected our understanding of the functions of non-collagenous proteins. Specifically, mutations and knockouts have defined their cellular spectrum of actions. However, the biochemical mechanisms mediated by non-collagenous proteins in biomineralization remain elusive. It is likely that this understanding will require more focused functional testing at the protein, cell, and tissue level. Although initially viewed as rather redundant and static acidic calcium binding proteins, it is now clear that non-collagenous proteins in mineralizing tissues represent diverse entities capable of forming multiple protein-protein interactions which act in positive and negative ways to regulate the process of bone mineralization. Several new examples from the author's laboratory are provided which illustrate this theme including an apparent activating effect of hydroxyapatite crystals on metalloproteinases. This review emphasizes the view that secreted non-collagenous proteins in mineralizing bone actively participate in the mineralization process and ultimately control where and how much mineral crystal is deposited, as well as determining the quality and biomechanical properties of the mineralized matrix produced.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Calcification, Physiologic / genetics
  • Calcification, Physiologic / physiology*
  • Collagen / genetics
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Durapatite / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data


  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Collagen
  • Durapatite