Author(s): JahnenDechent W, Heiss A, Schfer C, Ketteler M
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Abstract The final step of biomineralization is a chemical precipitation reaction that occurs spontaneously in supersaturated or metastable salt solutions. Genetic programs direct precursor cells into a mineralization-competent state in physiological bone formation (osteogenesis) and in pathological mineralization (ectopic mineralization or calcification). Therefore, all tissues not meant to mineralize must be actively protected against chance precipitation of mineral. Fetuin-A is a liver-derived blood protein that acts as a potent inhibitor of ectopic mineralization. Monomeric fetuin-A protein binds small clusters of calcium and phosphate. This interaction results in the formation of prenucleation cluster-laden fetuin-A monomers, calciprotein monomers, and considerably larger aggregates of protein and mineral calciprotein particles. Both monomeric and aggregate forms of fetuin-A mineral accrue acidic plasma protein including albumin, thus stabilizing supersaturated and metastable mineral ion solutions as colloids. Hence, fetuin-A is a mineral carrier protein and a systemic inhibitor of pathological mineralization complementing local inhibitors that act in a cell-restricted or tissue-restricted fashion. Fetuin-A deficiency is associated with soft tissue calcification in mice and humans.
This article was published in Circ Res
and referenced in Journal of Cardiovascular Diseases & Diagnosis