Chapter 2. Collagen: A Huge Matrix in Glass Sponge Flexible Spicules of the Meter-Long Hyalonema sieboldi

  1. Prof. Dr. Edmund Bäuerlein
  1. Hermann Ehrlich and
  2. Hartmut Worch

Published Online: 20 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9783527619443.ch2

Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation

Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation

How to Cite

Ehrlich, H. and Worch, H. (2007) Collagen: A Huge Matrix in Glass Sponge Flexible Spicules of the Meter-Long Hyalonema sieboldi, in Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation (ed E. Bäuerlein), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, Weinheim, Germany. doi: 10.1002/9783527619443.ch2

Editor Information

  1. Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, Department of Membrane Biochemistry, Am Klopferspitz 18 A, 82152 Planegg, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 MAR 2008
  2. Published Print: 25 MAY 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527316410

Online ISBN: 9783527619443

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Keywords:

  • biosilicification;
  • biomineralization;
  • collagen;
  • glass sponge;
  • collagen-silica;
  • biocomposites;
  • biomaterials;
  • biomimetic

Summary

The internal skeletons of sponges of the class Hexactinellida comprise a meshwork of six-rayed spicules of ca. 1 mm diameter made from solid silica (SiO2-nH2O). Their hierarchical construction from the nanometer to the centimeter scale has been elucidated, but as yet the nature of the organic template on which silica is deposited from dissolved silicic acid Si(OH)4 has eluded identification. In order to investigate the structure of the organic matrix associated with silica, we studied spicules from the stalk of the glass rope sponge (Hyalonema sieboldi). These anchoring spicules are remarkable for their size, durability, high flexibility and their exceptional fiber-optic properties which together render them of interest as a novel natural material. Among these investigations, we present a study confirming our hypothesis that an organic matrix of collagenous nature within the H. sieboldi spicules is responsible for their extraordinary mechanical properties. Hexactinellida sponges are organisms that date back to the Cambrium period (600 million years ago); consequently, it can be assumed that the evolutionary history of collagen is at least equally long. Furthermore, collagen also serves as a template for calcium phosphate and carbonate deposition in bone, suggesting that the evolution of silica and bone skeletons share a common origin with respect to collagen as a unified template for biomineralization.