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Gene 2007 May 01;3921-2:89-97. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2006.11.014.
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Identification and characterization of matrix metalloproteinase-20 (MMP20; enamelysin) genes in reptile and amphibian.

Shintani S , Kobata M , Kamakura N , Toyosawa S , Ooshima T .

Matrix metalloproteinase-20 (MMP20; enamelysin) is important for proteolytic processing of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins during the formation of enamel and plays a critical role in proteolytic processing of amelogenin (AMEL), the most abundant enamel ECM protein. MMP20 might have played a role in the emergence of teeth, because jawless vertebrates with primordial teeth on their external skeletons may have possessed the MMP20 gene, and MMP20 and enamel ECM proteins are thought to have evolved together in a special relationship over time. Thus, an understanding of the molecular evolution of the MMP20 gene is important for elucidating the evolution of enamel and it is necessary to identify the orthologs of the MMP20 gene in non-mammals, as it has been identified in mammals. In the present study, orthologs of the MMP20 genes from a reptile (caiman) and an amphibian (African clawed toad) were cloned and characterized. Comparisons of the orthologs revealed that the MMP20 proteins were highly conserved throughout the evolution of tetrapods. Further, the caiman, toad, and mammalian MMP20 shared several unique features specific for MMP20, but not for other matrix metalloproteinases. In addition, the toad MMP20 gene was transcribed only in the upper jaw, presumably in teeth. These results suggest that MMP20 in a common ancestor of tetrapods might have been recruited for the processing of AMEL and conserved over 350 million years of evolution.

PubMed ID: 17223283
Article link: Gene

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: amelx mmp20

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