AMBN mutations causing hypoplastic amelogenesis imperfecta and Ambn knockout-NLS-lacZ knockin mice exhibiting failed amelogenesis and Ambn tissue-specificity

Tian Liang, Yuanyuan Hu, Charles E. Smith, Amelia S. Richardson, Hong Zhang, Jie Yang, Brent Lin, Shih Kai Wang, Jung Wook Kim, Yong Hee Chun, James P. Simmer, Jan C.C. Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Ameloblastin (AMBN) is a secreted matrix protein that is critical for the formation of dental enamel and is enamel-specific with respect to its essential functions. Biallelic AMBN defects cause non-syndromic autosomal recessive amelogenesis imperfecta. Homozygous Ambn mutant mice expressing an internally truncated AMBN protein deposit only a soft mineral crust on the surface of dentin. Methods: We characterized a family with hypoplastic amelogenesis imperfecta caused by AMBN compound heterozygous mutations (c.1061T>C; p.Leu354Pro/ c.1340C>T; p.Pro447Leu). We generated and characterized Ambn knockout/NLS-lacZ (AmbnlacZ/lacZ) knockin mice. Results: No AMBN protein was detected using immunohistochemistry in null mice. ß-galactosidase activity was specific for ameloblasts in incisors and molars, and islands of cells along developing molar roots. AmbnlacZ/lacZ 7-week incisors and unerupted (D14) first molars showed extreme enamel surface roughness. No abnormalities were observed in dentin mineralization or in nondental tissues. Ameloblasts in the AmbnlacZ/lacZ mice were unable to initiate appositional growth and started to degenerate and deposit ectopic mineral. No layer of initial enamel ribbons formed in the AmbnlacZ/lacZ mice, but pockets of amelogenin accumulated on the dentin surface along the ameloblast distal membrane and within the enamel organ epithelia (EOE). NLS-lacZ signal was positive in the epididymis and nasal epithelium, but negative in ovary, oviduct, uterus, prostate, seminal vesicles, testis, submandibular salivary gland, kidney, liver, bladder, and bone, even after 15 hr of incubation with X-gal. Conclusions: Ameloblastin is critical for the initiation of enamel ribbon formation, and its absence results in pathological mineralization within the enamel organ epithelia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere929
JournalMolecular Genetics and Genomic Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Ambn Amelx
  • amelin
  • ameloblastin
  • amelogenin
  • dental enamel formation
  • matrix proteins
  • mineralization
  • missense mutation
  • sheath protein
  • sheathlin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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