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Enamel Proteins More Versatile Than Once Thought

February 10, 2006

Amelogenins have long been typecast in the scientific literature as the family of proteins that regulates the mineralization of tooth enamel.  Over the last few years, however, some scientists have begun to build the case that certain alternatively spliced amelogenin variants may also play a key role in the development of the periodontium, the various tissues that support and surround our teeth.  In the February issue of the Journal of Dental Research, a team of NIDCR scientists and grantees add important new evidence to support this idea.  They show in laboratory studies that two variant amelogenin proteins called LRAP and P172 promote the proliferation and migration of precursor cells that form cementum and periodontal ligament cells.  Importantly, the authors also found that LRAP seems to inhibit the formation of bone-destroying cells called osteoclasts.  The researchers concluded, “The enhanced cell proliferation and migration by these variants imply their potential role in periodontal regeneration . . .” 



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This page last updated: February 26, 2014