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Earth's biota produces vast quantities of polymerized silica at ambient temperatures and pressures by mechanisms that are not understood. Silica spicules constitute 75% of the dry weight of the sponge Tethya aurantia, making this organism uniquely tractable for analyses of the proteins intimately associated with the biosilica. Each spicule contains a(More)
gamma-Aminobutyric acid (a simple amino acid and potent neurotransmitter in human brain and other tissues of higher animals) and certain of its congeners rapidly and synchronously induce planktonic larvae of the red abalone, Haliotis rufescens, to settle and commence behavioral and developmental metamorphosis. These naturally occurring inducers of algal(More)
Properties of the organic matrix of bone as well as its function in the microstructure could be the key to the remarkable mechanical properties of bone. Previously, it was found that on the molecular level, calcium-mediated sacrificial bonds increased stiffness and enhanced energy dissipation in bone constituent molecules. Here we present evidence for how(More)
A specialized extracellular matrix of proteins and polysaccharides controls the morphology and packing of calcium carbonate crystals and becomes occluded within the mineralized composite during formation of the molluscan shell and pearl. We have cloned and characterized the cDNA coding for Lustrin A, a newly described matrix protein from the nacreous layer(More)
The standard model for the structure of collagen in tendon is an ascending hierarchy of bundling. Collagen triple helices bundle into microfibrils, microfibrils bundle into subfibrils, and subfibrils bundle into fibrils, the basic structural unit of tendon. This model, developed primarily on the basis of x-ray diffraction results, is necessarily vague about(More)
Almost all mineralized tissues contain proteins that are unusually acidic. As they are also often intimately associated with the mineral phase, they are thought to fulfill important functions in controlling mineral formation. Relatively little is known about these important proteins, because their acidic nature causes technical difficulties during(More)
Structural materials in nature exhibit remarkable designs with building blocks, often hierarchically arranged from the nanometer to the macroscopic length scales. We report on the structural properties of biosilica observed in the hexactinellid sponge Euplectella sp. Consolidated, nanometer-scaled silica spheres are arranged in well-defined microscopic(More)
A family of soluble proteins from the shell of Haliotis rufescens was introduced over a growing calcite crystal being scanned in situ by an atomic force microscope (AFM). Atomic step edges on the crystal surface were altered in shape and speed of growth by the proteins. Proteins attached nonuniformly to the surface, indicating different interactions with(More)
The mixture of EDTA-soluble proteins found in abalone nacre are known to cause the nucleation and growth of aragonite on calcite seed crystals in supersaturated solutions of calcium carbonate. Past atomic force microscope studies of the interaction of these proteins with calcite crystals did not observe this transition because no information about the(More)
Phragmatopoma californica is a marine polychaete that builds protective tubes by joining bits of shell and sand grains with a secreted proteinaceous cement. The cement forms a solid foam (closed cells) via covalent crosslinking, as revealed by electron and laser scanning confocal microscopy. The cement contains extractable calcium and magnesium, and(More)