Past progress in the chemistry of enamel proteins picture will emerge from this resume of is reviewed and the current state of knowledge what appear to me to be the mostorelevant assessed. The matrix ofyoung enamel is a complex characteristics of enamel proteins. system in which some 20 distinct components with Though the history of enamel protein is molecular weights in the region of 3,000 to 16,000 modem, its beginning can be traced to that are in dynamic equilibrium with much larger Age of Reason, the eighteenth century. aggregates. During maturation, most of these Exactly 250 years ago, on St. Valentine's components are selectively lost, more or less day was bom John Hunter the English completely, from the enamel. 'Amelogenin ' com- day,ewas bren John Huter, the Engsponents rich in proline and histidine are removed surgeon, renowned both for his writngs first and 'tuft protein', characterized by high and his museum, an unwritten book, which seine and glycine, is often partially retained in contains the germ of theidea of the evolu-mature enamel. Some components have been tion of species developed by Darwin almost isolated in a state approaching purity and a mea- a century later. Hunter3 realized the nature sure ofagreement has been reached between labora- of dental enamel, since in his book The tories concerning their characteristics. Partial Natural History of the Human Teeth h
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