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Structural Changes in a Protein Fragment from Abalone Shell during the Precipitation of Calcium Carbonate

Authors

  • Dr. Alessio Adamiano,

    1. Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca in Scienze Ambientali, Sede di Ravenna - Università di Bologna via S. Alberto 163, 48100 Ravenna (Italy), Fax: (+39) 051-2099456
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  • Dr. Sara Bonacchi,

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica “G. Ciamician”, Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna via Selmi 2, 40126 Bologna (Italy)
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  • Dr. Natalia Calonghi,

    1. Dipartimento di Biochimica “G. Moruzzi”, Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna via Belmeloro 6, 40126 Bologna (Italy)
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  • Prof. Daniele Fabbri,

    1. Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca in Scienze Ambientali, Sede di Ravenna - Università di Bologna via S. Alberto 163, 48100 Ravenna (Italy), Fax: (+39) 051-2099456
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  • Prof. Giuseppe Falini,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca in Scienze Ambientali, Sede di Ravenna - Università di Bologna via S. Alberto 163, 48100 Ravenna (Italy), Fax: (+39) 051-2099456
    2. Dipartimento di Chimica “G. Ciamician”, Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna via Selmi 2, 40126 Bologna (Italy)
    • Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca in Scienze Ambientali, Sede di Ravenna - Università di Bologna via S. Alberto 163, 48100 Ravenna (Italy), Fax: (+39) 051-2099456===

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  • Dr. Simona Fermani,

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica “G. Ciamician”, Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna via Selmi 2, 40126 Bologna (Italy)
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  • Dr. Damiano Genovese,

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica “G. Ciamician”, Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna via Selmi 2, 40126 Bologna (Italy)
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  • Dr. Damir Kralj,

    1. Laboratory for Precipitation Processes, Ruđer Bošković Institute, P. O. Box 180, 10002 Zagreb (Croatia)
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  • Dr. Marco Montalti,

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica “G. Ciamician”, Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna via Selmi 2, 40126 Bologna (Italy)
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  • Dr. Branka Njegić Džakula,

    1. Laboratory for Precipitation Processes, Ruđer Bošković Institute, P. O. Box 180, 10002 Zagreb (Croatia)
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  • Prof. Luca Prodi,

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica “G. Ciamician”, Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna via Selmi 2, 40126 Bologna (Italy)
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  • Prof. Giorgio Sartor

    1. Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca in Scienze Ambientali, Sede di Ravenna - Università di Bologna via S. Alberto 163, 48100 Ravenna (Italy), Fax: (+39) 051-2099456
    2. Dipartimento di Biochimica “G. Moruzzi”, Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna via Belmeloro 6, 40126 Bologna (Italy)
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Abstract

Mineralized tissues grow through biologically controlled processes in which specific macromolecules are involved. Some of these molecules, which are present in very low concentrations and are difficult to localize and characterize, become entrapped inside the mineralized tissue. Herein, a protein fragment, GP, which was obtained by the alkaline digestion of the green sheet of the abalone shell, is used as a probe to study the changes in molecular structure that occur during the precipitation of calcium carbonate. This important goal was achieved by exploiting a fluorescent tag in GP. The experimental results that were obtained by using spectroscopic-, chromatographic-, and microscopic techniques indicate that GP controls the precipitation kinetics and morphology of calcium carbonate crystals, and that it only undergoes structural reorganization when entrapped inside calcium carbonate crystals. To the best of our knowledge, this report represents one of the first studies on the conformational changes of a protein fragment that is involved in biomineralization processes on moving from the solution phase into the mineral phase.

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