Identification and characterisation of a calcium carbonate-binding protein, blue mussel shell protein (BMSP), from the nacreous layer

Michio Suzuki, Ai Iwashima, Naoaki Tsutsui, Tsuyoshi Ohira, Toshihiro Kogure, Hiromichi Nagasawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


The nacreous layer of molluscan shells consists of a highly organised, layered structure comprising calcium carbonate aragonite crystals, each surrounded by an organic matrix. In the Japanese pearl oyster Pinctada fucata, the Pif protein from the nacreous layer functions in aragonite binding, and plays a key role in nacre formation. Here, we investigated whether the blue mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis also has a protein with similar functions in the nacreous layer. By using a calcium carbonate-binding assay, we identified the novel protein blue mussel shell protein (BMSP) 100 that can bind calcium carbonate crystals of both aragonite and calcite. When the entire sequence of a cDNA encoding BMSP 100 was determined, it was found that BMSP is a preproprotein consisting of a signal peptide and two proteins, BMSP 120 and BMSP 100. BMSP 120 contains four von Willebrand factor A (VWA) domains and one chitin-binding domain, thus suggesting that it has a role in maintaining structure within the matrix. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that BMSP 100 is present throughout the nacreous layer with dense localisation in the myostracum. Posttranslational modification analysis indicated that BMSP 100 is phosphorylated and glycosylated. These results suggest that there is a common molecular mechanism between P. fucata and M. galloprovincialis that underlies the nacreous layer formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2478-2487
Number of pages10
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Nov 4 2011


  • Matrix protein
  • Mytilus galloprovincialis
  • Pearl
  • Pif
  • Structural biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry


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