Binding of amelogenin to MMP-9 and their co-expression in developing mouse teeth

Junsheng Feng, Jennifer S. McDaniel, Hui Hsiu Chuang, Ouwen Huang, Audrey Rakian, Xiaoping Xu, Bjorn Steffensen, Kevin J. Donly, Mary MacDougall, Shuo Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Amelogenin is the most abundant matrix protein in enamel. Proper amelogenin processing by proteinases is necessary for its biological functions during amelogenesis. Matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) is responsible for the turnover of matrix components. The relationship between MMP-9 and amelogenin during tooth development remains unknown. We tested the hypothesis that MMP-9 binds to amelogenin and they are co-expressed in ameloblasts during amelogenesis. We evaluated the distribution of both proteins in the mouse teeth using immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy. At postnatal day 2, the spatial distribution of amelogenin and MMP-9 was co-localized in preameloblasts, secretory ameloblasts, enamel matrix and odontoblasts. At the late stages of mouse tooth development, expression patterns of amelogenin and MMP-9 were similar to that seen in postnatal day 2. Their co-expression was further confirmed by RT-PCR, Western blot and enzymatic zymography analyses in enamel organ epithelial and odontoblast-like cells. Immunoprecipitation assay revealed that MMP-9 binds to amelogenin. The MMP-9 cleavage sites in amelogenin proteins across species were found using bioinformative software program. Analyses of these data suggest that MMP-9 may be involved in controlling amelogenin processing and enamel formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-485
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular Histology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Ameloblasts
  • Amelogenin
  • Co-expression
  • MMP-9
  • Protein interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Histology


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