Formation of Mollusk Shells

  • Jürgen EngelEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology book series (BRIEFSAPPLSCIENCES)


Secretion of calcium and carbonate ions together with 300 to 600 proteins and polysaccharides from the calcifying epithelium of the mantle organ of bivalves leads to the formation of shells with calcite or aragonite. These minerals exists in the state of highly ordered micro-crystals arranged in 3 to 9 different shell layers. The proteins were extracted from the shells. They were sequenced with the help of the genome and analysed by homology searches. Surprisingly the repertoire of shell proteins is very linage specific with little genetic overlap between species. Also no similarity of shell proteins with proteins involved in other biomineralization processes was found. It is suggested that yet unknown events in the secretion process may determine the complex shell structure.


Shell Layer Oyster Shell Mollusk Shell Spider Silk Shell Protein 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biophysical ChemistryBiozentrum University of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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