The enamel organic matrix: structure and function


  • Alexandre Ribeiro Espírito Santo Piracicaba Dental School, State University of Campinas
  • Sérgio Roberto Peres Line Piracicaba Dental School, State University of Campinas



Dental enamel. Extracellular matrix. Amelogenesis. Dental enamel proteins. Dental enamel proteinases


Dental enamel is the most mineralized tissue in the vertebrate body and contains the largest known biologically formed hydroxyapatite crystals. Its formation occurs extracellularly through the collaboration of a proteic transient framework (the enamel organic matrix), which controls hydroxyapatite crystal growth, morphology and orientation. This matrix is deposited with a small amount of mineral during the secretory stage of amelogenesis. The organic components begin to be degraded in the transition stage and are extensively corrupted, and almost entirely replaced by the inorganic crystallites during maturation stage. The present paper reviews current knowledge on the structural biology of the enamel organic matrix.


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Author Biographies

Alexandre Ribeiro Espírito Santo, Piracicaba Dental School, State University of Campinas

Possui Graduação (2002) em Odontologia pela UFBA, Mestrado (2005) e Doutorado (2008) em Biologia Buco-Dental com área de concentração em Histologia e Embriologia pela UNICAMP. Atualmente é Professor Adjunto 4 e Chefe do Departamento de Biomorfologia do Instituto de Ciências da Saúde da UFBA. Tem experiência na área de Histologia, desenvolvendo projetos com a colaboração da UNICAMP acerca do comportamento de células e matrizes extracelulares de tecidos bucais em processos normais e patológicos. É professor permanente do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biociências do Instituto Multidisciplinar em Saúde da UFBA.

Sérgio Roberto Peres Line, Piracicaba Dental School, State University of Campinas

has graduation at Odontologia by Universidade Estadual de Campinas (1985) , Ph.D. at Patologia Experimental e Comparada by Universidade de São Paulo (1989) and Postdoctorate by National Institute Of Health (1991) . Currently is Servidor público ou celetista of Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Membro de corpo editorial of Journal of Applied Oral Science (Impresso), Membro de corpo editorial of Brazilian Journal of Oral Sciences (Impresso) e of Faculdade de Odontologia de Piracicaba-UNICAMP. Has experience in the area of Odontology. Focused, mainly, in the subjects: Laminina, Matriz extracelular, Menbrana Basal, Metaloproteases. 


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How to Cite

Espírito Santo AR, Line SRP. The enamel organic matrix: structure and function. Braz. J. Oral Sci. [Internet]. 2015 Nov. 18 [cited 2022 Dec. 3];4(13):716-24. Available from:



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