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Regulation of pH During Amelogenesis

  • Author(s): Lacruz, Rodrigo S.
  • Nanci, Antonio
  • Kurtz, Ira
  • Wright, J. Timothy
  • Paine, Michael L.
  • et al.
Abstract

During amelogenesis, extracellular matrix proteins interact with growing hydroxyapatite crystals to create one of the most architecturally complex biological tissues. The process of enamel formation is a unique biomineralizing system characterized first by an increase in crystallite length during the secretory phase of amelogenesis, followed by a vast increase in crystallite width and thickness in the later maturation phase when organic complexes are enzymatically removed. Crystal growth is modulated by changes in the pH of the enamel microenvironment that is critical for proper enamel biomineralization. Whereas the genetic bases for most abnormal enamel phenotypes (amelogenesis imperfecta) are generally associated with mutations to enamel matrix specific genes, mutations to genes involved in pH regulation may result in severely affected enamel structure, highlighting the importance of pH regulation for normal enamel development. This review summarizes the intra- and extracellular mechanisms employed by the enamel-forming cells, ameloblasts, to maintain pH homeostasis and, also, discusses the enamel phenotypes associated with disruptions to genes involved in pH regulation.

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