Details of apatite formation and development in bone below the nanometer scale remain enigmatic. Regulation of mineralization was shown to be governed by the activity of non-collagenous proteins with many bone diseases stemming from improper activity of these proteins. Apatite crystal growth inhibition or enhancement is thought to involve direct interaction of these proteins with exposed faces of apatite crystals. However, experimental evidence of the molecular binding events that occur and that allow these proteins to exert their functions are lacking. Moreover, recent high-resolution measurements of apatite crystallites in bone have shown that individual crystallites are covered by a persistent layer of amorphous calcium phosphate. It is therefore unclear whether non-collagenous proteins can interact with the faces of the mineral crystallites directly and what are the consequences of the presence of a disordered mineral layer to their functionality. In this work, the regulatory effect of recombinant osteopontin on biomimetic apatite is shown to produce platelet-shaped apatite crystallites with disordered layers coating them. The protein is also shown to regulate the content and properties of the disordered mineral phase (and sublayers within it). Through solid-state NMR atomic carbon-phosphorous distance measurements, the protein is shown to be located in the disordered phases, reaching out to interact with the surfaces of the crystals only through very few sidechains. These observations suggest that non-phosphorylated osteopontin acts as regulator of the coating mineral layers and exerts its effect on apatite crystal growth processes mostly from afar with a limited number of contact points with the crystal.
|State||Published - 24 Sep 2020|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Dr Yuval Elias and Professor Lia Addadi for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was funded by the Israel Science Foundation grants #1917/17 and #2104/20.
© 2020, The Author(s).