Dentin extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins: comparison to bone ECM and contribution to dynamics of dentinogenesis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Dentinogenesis involves the initial odontoblastic synthesis of a collagen-rich extracellular matrix (ECM) and predentin that is converted to dentin when the collagen fibrils become mineralized. Since the width of predentin is rather uniform, we postulate that extracellular events regulate dentinogenesis. Similarly, osteogenesis involves an initial unmineralized osteoid that is mineralized and converted to bone. To gain insights into these two processes, we compared ECM proteins in bone with those in dentin, focusing upon the sialic acid (SA)-rich proteins. We observed qualitative similarities between the SA-rich proteins, but distinct differences in the amounts of osteopontin (OPN) and dentin sialoprotein (DSP). OPN, a predominant protein in bone, was found in much smaller amounts in dentin. Conversely, DSP was abundant in dentin ECM, but found sparingly in bone. Molecular cloning experiments indicate that coding sequences for DSP and dentin phosphoprotein (DPP) are found on the same mRNA. We believe that the initial form of the precursor protein DSPP is inactive in influencing the mineralization process and that it must be activated by cleavage of peptide bonds in conserved regions. Thus, unknown proteinases would act on DSPP, possibly at the mineralization front, and liberate active DPP, which plays an initiation and regulatory role in the formation of apatite crystals. This post-translational processing reaction would represent an important control point in dentinogenesis. Recently, we identified uncleaved DSPP in dentin extracts, which should allow us to test portions of our hypothesis.

published proceedings

  • Connect Tissue Res

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Butler, W. T., Brunn, J. C., & Qin, C.

citation count

  • 84

complete list of authors

  • Butler, William T||Brunn, Jan C||Qin, Chunlin

publication date

  • January 2003