A genetic model for the secretory stage of dental enamel formation

James P. Simmer, Jan C.C. Hu, Yuanyuan Hu, Shelly Zhang, Tian Liang, Shih Kai Wang, Jung Wook Kim, Yasuo Yamakoshi, Yong Hee Chun, John D. Bartlett, Charles E. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The revolution in genetics has rapidly increased our knowledge of human and mouse genes that are critical for the formation of dental enamel and helps us understand how enamel evolved. In this graphical review we focus on the roles of 41 genes that are essential for the secretory stage of amelogenesis when characteristic enamel mineral ribbons initiate on dentin and elongate to expand the enamel layer to the future surface of the tooth. Based upon ultrastructural analyses of genetically modified mice, we propose a molecular model explaining how a cell attachment apparatus including collagen 17, α6ß4 and αvß6 integrins, laminin 332, and secreted enamel proteins could attach to individual enamel mineral ribbons and mold their cross-sectional dimensions as they simultaneously elongate and orient them in the direction of the retrograde movement of the ameloblast membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107805
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • ACP4
  • Amelogenesis
  • Basement membrane
  • Biomineralization
  • Evolution
  • SLC13A5

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology


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