Mineralization of tooth dentin (the deposition of hydroxyapatite crystals in and around collagen type I fibers of the extracellular matrix) requires the involvement of several genes, among them the gene coding for the dentin matrix protein 1, DMP1. We determined the exon-intron organization of the cattle DMP1 gene and used this information to amplify by the polymerase chain reaction homologous gene fragments from the genomic DNA of two species of metatherian (marsupial) mammals and one prototherian (monotreme) species. The translated proto- and metatherian protein sequences are highly divergent from the eutherian sequences but retain the general characteristics of the DMP1 (high acidity, serine-richness, multiple glycosylation sites, and the presence of the RGD cell attachment tripeptide). They therefore appear to be functional even though, evolutionarily, teeth are in a regression phase in prototherians. It is possible, therefore, that DMP1 is also involved in other functions besides dentinogenesis. The DMP1 gene appears to evolve rapidly and apparently tolerates nonframe-shifting insertions/deletions throughout the coding sequence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology