Highly mineralized tooth enamel develops from an extracellular matrix chiefly comprised of amelogenins formed by splicing of 7 (human) or 9 (rodent) exons secreted from specialized epithelial cells known as ameloblasts. Here we examined the role of the 59 amino acid alternatively spliced amelogenin known as leucine rich amelogenin peptide (LRAP) on enamel formation, using transgenic murine models in which LRAP overexpression is driven by an amelogenin promoter (TgLRAP). Beginning in the secretory stage of mouse amelogenesis, we found a reduced thickness of enamel matrix and a loss of Tomes' processes, followed by upregulated amelogenin mRNA expression, inhibited amelogenin secretion and loss of cell polarity. In the presecretory stage (P0) amelogenin m180 mRNA expression was increased 58 fold along with a 203 fold increase in MMP-20 expression and 3.5 and 3.2 fold increased in respectively enamelin and ameloblastin. When LRAP was overexpressed on an amelogenin knockout mouse model, the ameloblasts were not affected. Further, expression of the global chromatin organizer and transcription factor SATB1 was reduced in secretory stage TgLRAP ameloblasts. These findings identify a cellular role for LRAP in enamel formation that is not directly related to directing enamel crystal formation as is reported to be the primary function of full length amelogenins. The effect of LRAP overexpression in upregulating amelogenins, MMP-20 and SATB1, suggests a role in protein regulation critical to ameloblast secretion and matrix processing, to form a mineralized enamel matrix.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by NIH/NIDCR grants R01 DE013508 (P Den Besten) and R03 DE019682 (T Le). We thank the Schneider Laboratory at University of California San Francisco for assistance with the in situ hybridization.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology