• enamel;
  • mineralization;
  • pH regulation;
  • pH sensing;
  • sodium bicarbonate transporter

Snead CM, Smith SM, Sadeghein N, Lacruz RS, Hu P, Kurtz I, Paine ML. Identification of a pH-responsive DNA region upstream of the transcription start site of human NBCe1-B. Eur J Oral Sci 2011; 119 (Suppl. 1): 136–141. © 2011 Eur J Oral Sci

In rodent incisors two distinct stages of enamel formation can be identified visually based on cell morphology: the secretory stage and the maturation stage. The expression profiles of many genes characterize both stages, including the bicarbonate transport protein NBCe1. Bicarbonate is a requirement for the mineralizing enamel matrix to buffer excessive protons that form as a consequence of hydroxyapatite formation. NBCe1-B mRNA is up-regulated during the maturation stage of amelogenesis, where hydroxyapatite formation predominates. In this study, a presumed 572-bp NBCe1-B promoter region was subcloned into a reporter construct, and within this 572-bp region of DNA we characterized a 285-bp segment that shows an increase of ∼ 2.3-fold in gene-transcription activity when transfected into ameloblast-like cells and cultured in medium maintained at pH 6.8 (vs. pH 7.4). A presumed pH-responsive transcriptional factor-binding domain(s) thus resides in the 285-bp NBCe1-B promoter region where candidate domains include the nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B-cells1(NFKB1), jun proto-oncogene (JUN), and tumor protein p53(TP53)-binding sites. Mutagenesis studies identify that both the NFKB1- and TP53-binding sites are responsive to changes in the extracellular pH. These data help to explain how ameloblasts respond to the altered extracellular milieu of protons by changing their gene-expression profile throughout the stages of amelogenesis.