Calcified Tissue International

, Volume 56, Issue 6, pp 578–583 | Cite as

Purification and immunochemistry of a soluble matrix protein of the chicken eggshell (ovocleidin 17)

  • M. T. Hincke
  • C. P. W. Tsang
  • M. Courtney
  • V. Hill
  • R. Narbaitz
Laboratory Investigations


The protein components of biomineralized structures (matrix proteins) are believed to modulate crystal nucleation and growth, and theraby influence the shape and strength of the final structure. The chicken eggshell contains a complex array of distinct matrix proteins. The most abundant of these was purified to homogeneity by a combination of anionic exchange and hydroxyapatite chromatographies. Antibodies to this protein were raised in rabbit, and utilized for Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. These studies indicated that the 17 kDa antigen (ovocleidin 17, OC-17) is found in the shell gland mucosa, and that only the tubular gland cells were positive. Immunohistochemistry with decalcified shell indicated that OC-17 is uniformly distributed throughout the shell matrix, but concentrated in the mammillary bodies. Our results indicate that this protein is secreted during shell formation and becomes incorporated into this structure. It may therefore play a role in the crystallization process and influence the properties of the resulting eggshell.

Key words

Eggshell Shell matrix Biomineralization 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. T. Hincke
    • 1
  • C. P. W. Tsang
    • 2
  • M. Courtney
    • 1
  • V. Hill
    • 1
  • R. Narbaitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and NeurobiologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Food and Animal ResearchAgriculture CanadaOttawaCanada

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