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Mar. Drugs 2015, 13(8), 5297-5333; doi:10.3390/md13085297

Silaffins in Silica Biomineralization and Biomimetic Silica Precipitation

1
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Fondation Sandoz Chair in Biophysical Chemistry of Macromolecules, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
2
Institute of Biological Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Vienna, Währinger Straße 38, 1090 Vienna, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Véronique Martin-Jézéquel
Received: 30 June 2015 / Revised: 17 July 2015 / Accepted: 20 July 2015 / Published: 19 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolites in Diatoms)
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Abstract

Biomineralization processes leading to complex solid structures of inorganic material in biological systems are constantly gaining attention in biotechnology and biomedical research. An outstanding example for biomineral morphogenesis is the formation of highly elaborate, nano-patterned silica shells by diatoms. Among the organic macromolecules that have been closely linked to the tightly controlled precipitation of silica in diatoms, silaffins play an extraordinary role. These peptides typically occur as complex posttranslationally modified variants and are directly involved in the silica deposition process in diatoms. However, even in vitro silaffin-based peptides alone, with and without posttranslational modifications, can efficiently mediate biomimetic silica precipitation leading to silica material with different properties as well as with encapsulated cargo molecules of a large size range. In this review, the biomineralization process of silica in diatoms is summarized with a specific focus on silaffins and their in vitro silica precipitation properties. Applications in the area of bio- and nanotechnology as well as in diagnostics and therapy are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomineralization; silaffins; diatoms; posttranslational modifications biomineralization; silaffins; diatoms; posttranslational modifications
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Lechner, C.C.; Becker, C.F.W. Silaffins in Silica Biomineralization and Biomimetic Silica Precipitation. Mar. Drugs 2015, 13, 5297-5333.

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