Proteinase bone morphogenetic protein 1, but not tolloid-like 1, plays a dominant role in maintaining periodontal homeostasis.
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BACKGROUND: Periodontitis is caused by multiple factors involving a bacterial challenge and a susceptible host, although there is no report on gene mutation directly linked to this common disease. Mutations in the proteinase bone morphogenetic protein 1 (BMP1) were identified in patients with osteogenesis imperfecta, who display some dentin defects and alveolar bone loss. We previously reported essential roles of BMP1 and tolloid-like 1 (TLL1), two closely related extracellular proteinases with overlapping functions, in mouse periodontium growth by simultaneous knockout (KO) of both genes, although the separate roles of BMP1 and TLL1 have remained unclear. Here, we have investigated whether and how BMP1 and TLL1 separately maintain periodontal homeostasis by comparing single Bmp1 KO and Tll1 KO with double KO (dKO) phenotypes. METHODS: Floxed Bmp1 and/or Tll1 alleles were deleted in transgenic mice via ubiquitously expressed CreERT2 induced by tamoxifen treatment starting at 4-weeks of age (harvested at 18-weeks of age). Multiple approaches, including X-ray, micro-CT, calcein and alizarin red double-labeling, scanning electron microscopy, and histological and immunostaining assays, were used to analyze periodontal phenotypes and molecular mechanisms. RESULTS: Both Bmp1 KO and double KO mice exhibited severe periodontal defects, characterized by periodontal ligament (PDL) fiber loss and ectopic ossification in the expanded PDL area, and drastic reductions in alveolar bone and cementum volumes, whereas Tll1 KO mice displayed very mild phenotypes. Mechanistic studies revealed a sharp increase in the uncleaved precursor of type I collagen (procollagen I), leading to defective extracellular matrices. CONCLUSIONS: BMP1, but not TLL1, is essential for maintaining periodontal homeostasis. This occurs at least partly via biosynthetic processing of procollagen I, thereby maintaining appropriate levels of procollagen I and its activated products such as mature collagen I.