Abstract / Description of output
Healthy dental enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized human tissue. Though acellular, nonvital, and without capacity for turnover or repair, it can nevertheless last a lifetime. Amelogenesis imperfecta (AI) is a collective term for failure of normal enamel development, covering diverse clinical phenotypes that typically show Mendelian inheritance patterns. One subset, known as hypomaturation AI, is characterised by near-normal volumes of organic enamel matrix but with weak, creamy-brown opaque enamel that fails prematurely after tooth eruption. Mutations in genes critical to enamel matrix formation have been documented, but current understanding of other key events in enamel biomineralization is limited. We investigated autosomal-recessive hypomaturation AI in a consanguineous Pakistani family. A whole-genome SNP autozygosity screen identified a locus on chromosome 15q21.3. Sequencing candidate genes revealed a point mutation in the poorly characterized WDR72 gene. Screening of WDR72 in a panel of nine additional hypomaturation AI families revealed the same mutation in a second, apparently unrelated, Pakistani family and two further nonsense mutations in Omani families. Immunohistochemistry confirmed intracellular localization in maturation-stage ameloblasts. WDR72 function is unknown, but as a putative β propeller is expected to be a scaffold for protein-protein interactions. The nearest homolog, WDR7, is involved in vesicle mobilization and Ca2+-dependent exocytosis at synapses. Vesicle trafficking is important in maturation-stage ameloblasts with respect to secretion into immature enamel and removal of cleaved enamel matrix proteins via endocytosis. This raises the intriguing possibility that WDR72 is critical to ameloblast vesicle turnover during enamel maturation.