Structures of mollusc shell framework proteins

  • A Correction to this article was published on 10 July 1997


Mollusc shells consist of the nacreous mother-of-pearl layer and the prismatic layer. Both layers are microlaminate composites of CaCO3 crystals (aragonite in the nacre and calcite in the prismatic layer) and biopolymers. The main biopolymers are structural proteins, insoluble in water and methanoic acid, which determine the framework of each shell layer1,4 and bind soluble polyanionic proteins2,4 which determine the type of CaCO3 crystal that grows5,6. Here we report the sequences and structures of the framework proteins for the nacreous and prismatic layers of the pearl oyster, Pinctada fucata.

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Figure 1: Deduced amino-acid sequence (single-letter code) of pMSI1 (DDBL/EMBL/Genbank accession number D86074).
Figure 2: In situ hybridization of a, MSI60 and b, MSI31 mRNA in the mantle of Pfucata.


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Sudo, S., Fujikawa, T., Nagakura, T. et al. Structures of mollusc shell framework proteins. Nature 387, 563–564 (1997).

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