Biomineralization in diatoms: characterization of novel polyamines associated with silica

Manfred Sumper, Eike Brunner, Gerhard Lehmann
FEBS Letters 2005 July 4, 579 (17): 3765-9
Pattern formation during silica biomineralization in diatoms appears to depend on long-chain polyamines as well as proteins covalently modified with polyamines (silaffins). Recently, the complete genome of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana has been sequenced making this species an attractive model organism for future studies on biomineralization. Mass- and NMR-spectroscopic analysis of the long-chain polyamines from this diatom species reveals the existence of a complex population with as yet unknown structural features. These include complex methylation patterns, different attachment moieties as well as the existence of quaternary ammonium functionalities.

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