How do enamelysin and kallikrein 4 process the 32-kDa enamelin?

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The activities of two proteases – enamelysin (MMP-20) and kallikrein 4 (KLK4) – are necessary for dental enamel to achieve its high degree of mineralization. We hypothesize that the selected enamel protein cleavage products which accumulate in the secretory-stage enamel matrix do so because they are resistant to further cleavage by MMP-20. Later, they are degraded by KLK4. The 32-kDa enamelin is the only domain of the parent protein that accumulates in the deeper enamel. Our objective was to identify the cleavage sites of 32-kDa enamelin that are generated by proteolysis with MMP-20 and KLK4. Enamelysin, KLK4, the major amelogenin isoform (P173), and the 32-kDa enamelin were isolated from developing porcine enamel. P173 and the 32-kDa enamelin were incubated with MMP-20 or KLK4 for up to 48 h. Then, the 32-kDa enamelin digestion products were fractionated by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) and characterized by Edman sequencing, amino acid analysis, and mass spectrometry. Enamelysin cleaved the 32-kDa enamelin only after it was deglycosylated. Kallikrein 4 digestion of the 32-kDa enamelin generated nine major cleavage products, six of which were successfully characterized. After 12 h of digestion with KLK4, all of the 32-kDa enamelin had been cleaved, but some cleavage products persisted after 48 h of digestion.

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