Key to Maintaining Bone Mineral Content
Researchers at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Dentistry have identified an important new mechanism in the process by which bones build and maintain both strength and elasticity. The results of their most recent findings were published in the January 21 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
"Bone forms in an unusual way -- its cells intentionally entomb themselves in a mineralized protein matrix which they themselves produce," said Jeff Gorski, Ph.D., professor of Oral Biology at the UMKC School of Dentistry and lead author of the journal publication. "As part of our ongoing research, we discovered that a specific enzyme -- subtilisin-kexin-like protease 1 (SKI-1) -- is required for bone mineralization."
By studying bone cells in culture dishes, the researchers were able to show that no bone mineralization takes place if SKI-1 is deactivated. Alternatively, they observed that if the actions of SKI-1 are stimulated, more mineralization takes place, triggering the expression/production of the several proteins that form the bone's mineralized matrix.