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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Enamel biomineralization defects result from alterations to amelogenin self-assembly.

Enamel formation is a powerful model for the study of biomineralization. A key feature common to all biomineralizing systems is their dependency upon the biosynthesis of an extracellular organic matrix that is competent to direct the formation of the subsequent mineral phase. The major organic component of forming mouse enamel is the 180-amino-acid amelogenin protein (M180), whose ability to undergo self-assembly is believed to contribute to biomineralization of vertebrate enamel. Two recently defined domains (A and B) within amelogenin appear essential for this self-assembly. The significance of these two domains has been demonstrated previously by the yeast two-hybrid system, atomic force microscopy, and dynamic light scattering. Transgenic animals were used to test the hypothesis that the self-assembly domains identified with in vitro model systems also operate in vivo. Transgenic animals bearing either a domain-A-deleted or domain-B-deleted amelogenin transgene expressed the altered amelogenin exclusively in ameloblasts. This altered amelogenin participates in the formation an organic enamel extracellular matrix and, in turn, this matrix is defective in its ability to direct enamel mineralization. At the nanoscale level, the forming matrix adjacent to the secretory face of the ameloblast shows alteration in the size of the amelogenin nanospheres for either transgenic animal line. At the mesoscale level of enamel structural hierarchy, 6-week-old enamel exhibits defects in enamel rod organization due to perturbed organization of the precursor organic matrix. These studies reflect the critical dependency of amelogenin self-assembly in forming a competent enamel organic matrix and that alterations to the matrix are reflected as defects in the structural organization of enamel.[1]


  1. Enamel biomineralization defects result from alterations to amelogenin self-assembly. Paine, M.L., Zhu, D.H., Luo, W., Bringas, P., Goldberg, M., White, S.N., Lei, Y.P., Sarikaya, M., Fong, H.K., Snead, M.L. J. Struct. Biol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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