Acidic bone matrix proteins and their roles in calcification.
ABSTRACT Mammalian bones are composed of calcium phosphate crystals in a protein matrix. The major form of the calcium phosphate is hydroxyapatite. The most abundant matrix protein in bone is type I collagen. Collagen contributes to the mechanical properties of bone and is necessary for calcification of the tissue. In addition to collagen, several acidic proteins are present as minor components. Osteocalcin is a gamma-carboxyglutamic acid-containing protein of bone, which has an affinity to hydroxyapatite and can prevent crystal growth. Bone sialoprotein (BSP) and osteopontin are acidic glycophosphoproteins of bone. These proteins have RGD cell-attachment sequences and consecutive sequences of acidic amino acids. The poly glutamic acid sequences of BSP act as possible nucleation sites for hydroxyapatite crystals. Dentin phosphoprotein is the major non-collagenous protein of dentin. This protein has (Asp-Ser-Ser) repeat sequences, in which most of the Ser residues are phosphorylated. Some of these acidic matrix proteins are immobilized on the collagen fibrils and induce nucleation of hydroxyapatite crystals. They can also modulate crystal shape by adsorption on a specific face of the crystals.