A Novel Acidic Matrix Protein, PfN44, Stabilizes the Magnesium Calcite to Inhibit the Crystallization of Aragonite [Glycobiology and Extracellular Matrices]

December 3rd, 2013 by Pan, C., Fang, D., Xu, G., Liang, J., Zhang, G., Wang, H., Xie, L., Zhang, R.

Magnesium is widely used to control calcium carbonate deposition in the shell of pearl oysters. Matrix proteins in the shell are responsible for nucleation and growth of calcium carbonate crystals. However, there is no direct evidence supporting a connection between matrix proteins and magnesium. Here, we identified a novel acidic matrix protein named PfN44 that affected aragonite formation in the shell of the pearl oyster Pinctada fucata. Using immunogold-labeling assays, we found PfN44 in both the nacreous and prismatic layers. In shell repair, PfN44 was repressed while other matrix proteins were upregulated. Disturbing the function of PfN44 by RNAi led to the deposition of porous nacreous tablets with overgrowth of crystals in the nacreous layer. By in vitro circular dichroism spectra and fluorescence quenching, we found that PfN44 bound to both calcium and magnesium with a stronger affinity for magnesium. During in vitro calcium carbonate crystallization and calcification of amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC), PfN44 regulated the magnesium content of crystalline carbonate polymorphs and stabilized magnesium calcite to inhibit aragonite deposition. Taken together, our results suggested that by stabilizing magnesium calcite to inhibit aragonite deposition, PfN44 participated in P. fucata shell formation. These observations extend our understanding of the connections between matrix proteins and magnesium.
  • Posted in Journal of Biological Chemistry, Publications
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