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J Struct Biol. 2006 Mar;153(3):264-77. Epub 2005 Dec 19.

The distribution of chitin in larval shells of the bivalve mollusk Mytilus galloprovincialis.

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Lehrstuhl Biochemie I, Universität Regensburg, D-93053 Regensburg, Germany.


The insoluble matrix of larval shells of the marine bivalve mollusk Mytilus galloprovincialis is investigated by confocal laser scanning microscopy using a GFP fusion protein with a chitin-binding domain for labeling of chitinous structures. We show that chitinous material is present in the larval shell, presumably as a chitin-protein complex. We further show that the structure of the chitinous material changes with the development of the larvae. We conclude from the presence of characteristic chitinous structures in certain shell regions that chitin fulfills an important function in the formation and functionality of larval bivalve shells.

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