Biomineralization proteins: from vertebrates to bacteria
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- Wang, L. & Nilsen-Hamilton, M. Front. Biol. (2013) 8: 234. doi:10.1007/s11515-012-1205-3
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Biomineralization processes are frequently found in nature. Living organisms use various strategies to create highly ordered and hierarchical mineral structures under physiologic conditions in which the temperatures and pressures are much lower than those required to form the same mineralized structures by chemical synthesis. Although the mechanism of biomineralization remains elusive, proteins have been found responsible for the formation of such mineral structures in many cases. These proteins are active components in the process of biomineralization. The mechanisms by which their function can vary from providing active organic matrices that control the formation of specific mineral structures to being catalysts that facilitate the crystallization of certain metal ions. This review summarizes the current understanding of the functions of several representative biomineralization proteins from vertebrates to bacteria in the hopes of providing useful insight and guidance for further elucidation of mechanisms of biomineralization processes in living organisms.