Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Connecting the dots: Dental medicine team describes how enamel forms

Date:
August 9, 2011
Source:
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Summary:
Dental medicine researchers are piecing together the process of tooth enamel biomineralization, which could lead to novel nanoscale approaches to developing biomaterials.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine are piecing together the process of tooth enamel biomineralization, which could lead to novel nanoscale approaches to developing biomaterials. The findings are reported online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Related Articles


Dental enamel is the most mineralized tissue in the body and combines high hardness with resilience, said Elia Beniash, Ph.D., associate professor of oral biology, Pitt School of Dental Medicine. Those properties are the result of its unique structure, which resembles a complex ceramic microfabric.

"Enamel starts out as an organic gel that has tiny mineral crystals suspended in it," he said. "In our project, we recreated the early steps of enamel formation so that we could better understand the role of a key regulatory protein called amelogenin in this process."

Dr. Beniash and his team found that amelogenin molecules self-assemble in stepwise fashion via small oligomeric building blocks into higher-order structures. Just like connecting a series of dots, amelogenin assemblies stabilize tiny particles of calcium phosphate, which is the main mineral phase in enamel and bone, and organize them into parallel arrays. Once arranged, the nanoparticles fuse and crystallize to build the highly mineralized enamel structure.

"The relationship isn't clear to us yet, but it seems that amelogenin's ability to self-assemble is critical to its role in guiding the dots, called prenucleation clusters, into this complex, highly organized structure," Dr. Beniash said. "This gives us insight into ways that we might use biologic molecules to help us build nanoscale minerals into novel materials, which is important for restorative dentistry and many other technologies."

Co-authors include Ping-An Fang, Ph.D., and James F. Conway, Ph.D., both of Pitt; Henry C. Margolis, Ph.D., of the Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, Mass.; and James P. Simmer, D.D.S., Ph.D., of the University of Michigan. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ping-An Fang, James F. Conway, Henry C. Margolis, James P. Simmer, Elia Beniash. Hierarchical self-assembly of amelogenin and the regulation of biomineralization at the nanoscale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1106228108

Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Connecting the dots: Dental medicine team describes how enamel forms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110808152223.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. (2011, August 9). Connecting the dots: Dental medicine team describes how enamel forms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110808152223.htm
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Connecting the dots: Dental medicine team describes how enamel forms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110808152223.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins