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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2015 Oct;46:27-35. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2015.06.007. Epub 2015 Aug 7.

Diatom silica biomineralization: Parallel development of approaches and understanding.

Author information

1
Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, USA. Electronic address: mhildebrand@ucsd.edu.
2
Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, USA.

Abstract

Diatom silica cell walls present an intriguing application of biomineralization in a single celled organism. The ability of diatoms to make an enormous variety of silica structures on the nano- to micro-scale is unparalleled in nature. The process is a whole-cell endeavor, involving diverse cellular components that coordinate "bottom up" and "top down" structure formation processes to reproducibly convert genetic information into physical structure. The study of silicification has been similarly all encompassing, involving the application of diverse analytical techniques to examine different aspects of the process. This review highlights the application of different approaches used to study silicification and the insights they have provided, and documents the progress that has been made. The current status offers the possibility of major breakthroughs in our understanding, by enabling a more widespread identification of genes involved, and direct testing of the role these genes play by genetic manipulation.

KEYWORDS:

Biomineralization; Diatom; Silicification; Structure formation

PMID:
26256954
DOI:
10.1016/j.semcdb.2015.06.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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