Phosphophoryn (PP) and dentin sialoprotein (DSP) are two of the most abundant dentin matrix non-collagenous proteins, and are derived from dentin sialoprotein-phosphophoryn (DSP-PP) mRNA. Mutations in the DSP-PP gene are linked to dentinogenesis imperfecta II and III. Previously, we reported transient DSP-PP expression in preameloblast cells first, followed by co-expression in preameloblasts and young odontoblasts, and finally sustained expression in odontoblasts. This phenomenon raised the possibility that DSP/PP proteins secreted by preameloblasts might promote dental pulp cell migration toward the dental pulp border and promote dental pulp cell differentiation. To examine the effects of DSP/PP proteins on dental pulp cell development, we investigated:(1) native PP effects on dental pulpcell migration and matrix protein expression; and (2) recombinant DSP/PP protein effects on cell proliferation and differentiation. We found that PP promoted cell migration and the expression of high levels of Col type I and PP in dental pulp cells. The addition of recombinant DSP/PP proteins affected cell proliferation and differentiation in a dental pulp cell line. These findings strongly suggest that DSP/PP may modulate cell migration, cell proliferation and differentiation, thus leading to dentin formation. DSP/PP protein may be useful clinically for pulp tissue regeneration.
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