Ameloblasts secrete enamel matrix proteins, including amelogenin, ameloblastin, enamelin, amelotin, and Apin/odontogenic ameloblast-associated protein (Apin/ODAM). Amelogenin is the major protein component of the enamel matrix. Amelogenin, ameloblastin, and enamelin are expressed during the secretory stage of ameloblast, while amelotin and Apin/ODAM are expressed during the maturation. Amelogenin and ameloblastin are also expressed in osteoblasts, and they regulate bone formation. In addition, recent studies show the importance of protein-protein interactions between enamel matrix components for enamel formation. In a mouse model mimicking a mutation of the amelogenin gene in amelogenesis imperfect (AI) in humans, the mutated amelogenin forms a complex with ameloblastin, which accumulates in the endoplasmic reticulum/Golgi apparatus and causes ameloblast dysfunction resulting in AI phenotypes. Ameloblastin is a cell adhesion molecule that regulates cell proliferation. It inhibits odontogenic tumor formation and regulates osteoblast differentiation through binding to CD63. Amelotin interacts with Apin/ODAM, but not ameloblastin, while Apin/ODAM binds to ameloblastin. These interactions may be important for enamel mineralization during amelogenesis. The enamel matrix genes are clustered on human chromosome 4 except for the amelogenin genes located on the sex chromosomes. Genes for these enamel matrix proteins evolved from a common ancestral gene encoding secretory calcium-binding phosphoprotein.
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