The extracellular matrix (ECM) not only provides physical support for tissues, but it is also critical for tissue development, homeostasis and disease. Over 300 ECM molecules have been defined as comprising the " core matrisome" in mammals through the analysis of whole genome sequences. During tooth development, the structure and functions of the ECM dynamically change. In the early stages, basement membranes (BMs) separate two cell layers of the dental epithelium and the mesenchyme. Later in the differentiation stages, the BM layer is replaced with the enamel matrix and the dentin matrix, which are secreted by ameloblasts and odontoblasts, respectively. The enamel matrix genes and the dentin matrix genes are each clustered in two closed regions located on human chromosome 4 (mouse chromosome 5), except for the gene coded for amelogenin, the major enamel matrix protein, which is located on the sex chromosomes. These genes for enamel and dentin matrix proteins are derived from a common ancestral gene, but as a result of evolution, they diverged in terms of their specific functions. These matrix proteins play important roles in cell adhesion, polarity, and differentiation and mineralization of enamel and dentin matrices. Mutations of these genes cause diseases such as odontogenesis imperfecta (OI) and amelogenesis imperfecta (AI). In this review, we discuss the recently defined terms matrisome and matrixome for ECMs, as well as focus on genes and functions of enamel and dentin matrix proteins.
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