Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 66, Issue 16, pp 2707–2719 | Cite as

Protein constituents of the eggshell: eggshell-specific matrix proteins

  • Megan L. H. Rose
  • Maxwell T. Hincke


In this article, we review the results of recent proteomic and genomic analyses of eggshell matrix proteins and draw attention to the impact of these data on current understanding of eggshell formation and function. Eggshell-specific matrix proteins from avian (ovocleidins and ovocalyxins) and non-avian (paleovaterin) shells are discussed. Two possible roles for eggshell-specific matrix proteins have been proposed; both reflect the protective function of the eggshell in avian reproduction: regulation of eggshell mineralization and antimicrobial defense. An emerging concept is the dual role (mineralization/antimicrobial protection) that certain eggshell matrix proteins can play.


Eggshell Ovocleidin Ovocalyxin Mineralization Calcite Antimicrobial protection 



The authors work has been supported by funding from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural affairs (OMAFRA) and Poultry Industry Council (PIC) to M.T.H.


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© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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