Book Chapter

Intracrystalline Molecules from Brachiopod Shells


Curry GB, Cusack M, Endo K, Walton D & Quinn RH (1991) Intracrystalline Molecules from Brachiopod Shells. In: Suga S & Nakahara H (eds.) Mechanisms and Phylogeny of Mineralization in Biological Systems. Tokyo: Springer Verlag, pp. 35-39.

Shells are composed of both organic and inorganic constituents. It is believed that the organic compounds have important functions at several stages during the formation of biominerals. In brachiopod shells the disposition of inorganic biominerals and their enclosing organic sheaths have been thoroughly investigated using both scanning and transmission electron microscopy but little is known about the biochemistry of the intracrystalline molecules i.e. those enclosed within the inorganic portion. Such information is crucial for an understanding of biominerals if, as has been suggested, these compounds (i) induce crystal nucleation by providing a surface for precipitation, (ii) form compartments that determine the shape and volume of the biocrystal and (iii) determine the pattern of growth in the mineral phase in what is termed ‘matrix mediated nuneralisation’.

Brachiopod; intracrystalline; protein primary sequence; amino acid analysis;

Publication date31/12/1991
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Publisher URL
Place of publicationTokyo