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Biosilica: molecular biology, biochemistry and function in demosponges as well as its applied aspects for tissue engineering
Wang, X.; Schröder, H.C.; Wiens, M.; Schloßmacher, U.; Müller, W.E.G. (2012). Biosilica: molecular biology, biochemistry and function in demosponges as well as its applied aspects for tissue engineering. Adv. Mar. Biol. 62: 231-271.
In: Advances in Marine Biology. Academic Press: London, New York. ISSN 0065-2881, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Biomaterials; Biotechnology; Sponges; Porifera [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Biosilica; Silicatein; Silintaphin-1; Biomedicine

Authors  Top 
  • Wang, X.
  • Schröder, H.C.
  • Wiens, M.
  • Schloßmacher, U.
  • Müller, W.E.G.

    Biomineralization, biosilicification in particular (i.e. the formation of biogenic silica, SiO2), has become an exciting source of inspiration for the development of novel bionic approaches following 'nature as model'. Siliceous sponges are unique among silica-forming organisms in their ability to catalyze silica formation using a specific enzyme termed silicatein. In this study, we review the present state of knowledge on silicatein-mediated 'biosilica' formation in marine demosponges, the involvement of further molecules in silica metabolism and their potential applications in nano-biotechnology and bio-medicine. While most forms of multicellular life have developed a calcium-based skeleton, a few specialized organisms complement their body plan with silica. Only sponges (phylum Porifera) are able to polymerize silica enzymatically mediated in order to generate massive siliceous skeletal elements (spicules) during a unique reaction, at ambient temperature and pressure. During this biomineralization process (i.e. biosilicification), hydrated, amorphous silica is deposited within highly specialized sponge cells, ultimately resulting in structures that range in size from micrometres to metres. This peculiar phenomenon has been comprehensively studied in recent years, and in several approaches, the molecular background was explored to create tools that might be employed for novel bioinspired biotechnological and biomedical applications. Thus, it was discovered that spiculogenesis is mediated by the enzyme silicatein and starts intracellularly. The resulting silica nanoparticles fuse and subsequently form concentric lamellar layers around a central protein filament, consisting of silicatein and the scaffold protein silintaphin-1. Once the growing spicule is extruded into the extracellular space, it obtains final size and shape. Again, this process is mediated by silicatein and silintaphin-1/silintaphin-1, in combination with other molecules such as galectin and collagen. The molecular toolbox generated so far allows the fabrication of novel micro- and nano-structured composites, contributing to the economical and sustainable synthesis of bio-materials with unique characteristics. In this context, first bioinspired approaches implement recombinant silicatein and silintaphin-1 for applications in the field of biomedicine (biosilica-mediated regeneration of tooth and bone defects) with promising results.

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