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Characterization of the Complex Matrix of the Mytilus Edulis Shell and the Implications for Biomimetic Ceramics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2011

J. A. Keith
Affiliation:
Biotechnology Division, US Army Natick RD&E Center, Natick, MA 01760-5020, USA
S. A. Stockwell
Affiliation:
Biotechnology Division, US Army Natick RD&E Center, Natick, MA 01760-5020, USA
D. H. Ball
Affiliation:
Biotechnology Division, US Army Natick RD&E Center, Natick, MA 01760-5020, USA
W. S. Muller
Affiliation:
Biotechnology Division, US Army Natick RD&E Center, Natick, MA 01760-5020, USA
D. L. Kaplan
Affiliation:
Biotechnology Division, US Army Natick RD&E Center, Natick, MA 01760-5020, USA
T. W. Thannhauser
Affiliation:
Analytical and Synthesis Facility, Cornell University Biotechnolgy Core Facility, Ithaca, NY
R. W. Sherwood
Affiliation:
Analytical and Synthesis Facility, Cornell University Biotechnolgy Core Facility, Ithaca, NY
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Abstract

The macromolecular matrix present in the composite shell of the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis, accounts for less than 1% of the shell by weight but is theorized to play a significant role in controlling the growth, morphology, and orientation of the CaCO3 that makes up the shell. The presence of several proteins in this matrix, only some of which have affinity for calcium, suggests a hierarchical structural model for the shell. Proteins were isolated under denaturing, reducing conditions and separated by centrifugation, gel electrophoresis, and high performance liquid chromatography. The major matrix proteins, both soluble and insoluble, were evaluated for amino acid composition, calcium binding, and glycosylation. Some N-terminal sequence data was collected. Non-proteinaceous components of the matrix were also analyzed. Comparison of the mussel shell matrix with the protein matrix of other molluscan systems suggests that this complexity is not unique to the mussel and may provide a key to the understanding of more generic biomineralization processes necessary for such applications as biomimetic ceramics.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 1992

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