Purification and characterization of a novel calcium binding protein from the extrapallial fluid of mollusc Mytilus edulis


In the bivalve mollusc Mytilus edulis shell thickening occurs from the extrapallial (EP) fluid wherein secreted shell matrix macromolecules are thought to self-assemble into a framework that regulates the growth of CaCO3 crystals, which eventually constitute ∼95% of the mature shell. Herein is the initial report on the purification and characterization of a novel EP fluid glycoprotein, which is likely a building block of the shell-soluble organic matrix. This primary EP fluid protein comprises 56% of the total protein in the fluid and is shown to be a dimer of 28,340 Da monomers estimated to be 14.3% by weight carbohydrate. The protein is acidic (pI = 4.43) and rich in histidine content (11.14%) as well as in Asx and Glx residues (25.15% total). The N terminus exhibits an unusual repeat sequence of histidine and aspartate residues that occur in pairs: NPVDDHHDDHHDAPIVEHHD∼. Ultracentrifugation and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis demonstrate that the protein binds calcium and in so doing assembles into a series of higher order protomers, which appear to have extended structures. Circular dichroism shows that the protein-calcium binding/protomer formation is coupled to a significant rearrangement in the protein's secondary structure in which there is a major reduction in β-sheet with an associated increase in α-helical content of the protein. A model for shell organic matrix self-assembly is proposed.


Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences

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The Journal of Biological Chemistry


American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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