Non-collagenous matrix proteins secreted by the ameloblasts (amelogenin) and odontoblasts (osteocalcin) play important roles in the mineralization of enamel and dentin. In this study, comparative genomics approaches were used to identify the functional domains and model the three-dimensional structure of amelogenin and osteocalcin, respectively. Multiple sequence analysis of amelogenin in different species showed a high degree of sequence conservation at the nucleotide and protein levels. At the protein level, motifs (a sequence pattern that occurs repeatedly in a group of related proteins or genes), conserved domains, secondary structural characteristics, and functional sites of amelogenin from lower phyla were similar to those of the higher-level mammals, reflecting the high degree of sequence conservation during vertebrate evolution. Osteocalcin, produced by both odontoblasts and osetoblasts, also showed sequence similarity between species. Three-dimensional structure predictions developed by modeling of conserved domains of osteocalcin supported a role for glutamic acid residues in the calcium mineralization process.
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