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PU14, a Novel Matrix Protein, Participates in Pearl Oyster, Pinctada Fucata , Shell Formation
Marine Biotechnology  (IF3.619),  Pub Date : 2021-03-10, DOI: 10.1007/s10126-020-10014-3
Yinghui Ji, Xue Yang, Dong Yang, Rongqing Zhang

Biomineralization is a widespread biological process, involved in the formation of shells, teeth, and bones. Shell matrix proteins have been widely studied for their importance during shell formation. In 2015, our group identified 72 unique shell matrix proteins in Pinctada fucata, among which PU14 is a matrix protein detected in the soluble fraction that solely exists in the prismatic layer. However, the function of PU14 is still unclear. In this study, the full-length cDNA sequence of PU14 was obtained and functional analyses of PU14 protein during shell formation were performed. The deduced protein has a molecular mass of 77.8 kDa and an isoelectric point of 11.34. The primary protein structure contains Gln-rich and random repeat units, which are typical characteristics of matrix protein and indicate its potential function during shell formation. In vivo and in vitro experiments indicated PU14 has prismatic layer functions during shell formation. The tissue expression patterns showed that PU14 was mainly expressed in the mantle tissue, which is consistent with prismatic layer formation. Notching experiments suggested that PU14 responded to repair and regenerate the injured shell. After inhibiting gene expression by injecting PU14-specific double-stranded RNA, the inner surface of the prismatic layer changed significantly and became rougher. Further, in vitro experiments showed that recombinant protein rPU14 impacted calcite crystal morphology. Taken together, characterization and functional analyses of a novel matrix protein, PU14, provide new insights about basic matrix proteins and their functions during shell formation.