Epithelial-like transport of mineral distinguishes bone formation from other connective tissues

Harry C. Blair, Quitterie C. Larrouture, Irina L. Tourkova, Deborah J. Nelson, Steven F. Dobrowolski, Paul H. Schlesinger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We review unique properties of bone formation including current understanding of mechanisms of bone mineral transport. We focus on formation only; mechanism of bone degradation is a separate topic not considered. Bone matrix is compared to other connective tissues composed mainly of the same proteins, but without the specialized mechanism for continuous transport and deposition of mineral. Indeed other connective tissues add mechanisms to prevent mineral formation. We start with the epithelial-like surfaces that mediate transport of phosphate to be incorporated into hydroxyapatite in bone, or in its ancestral tissue, the tooth. These include several phosphate producing or phosphate transport-related proteins with special expression in large quantities in bone, particularly in the bone-surface osteoblasts. In all connective tissues including bone, the proteins that constitute the protein matrix are mainly type I collagen and γ−carboxylate-containing small proteins in similar molar quantities to collagen. Specialized proteins that regulate connective tissue structure and formation are surprisingly similar in mineralized and non-mineralized tissues. While serum calcium and phosphate are adequate to precipitate mineral, specialized mechanisms normally prevent mineral formation except in bone, where continuous transport and deposition of mineral occurs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1889-1899
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • arterial wall
  • osteoblast
  • osteocalcin
  • phosphate transport
  • skin
  • tendon
  • type I collagen


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