In recent years, the medicinal potential of marine organisms has attracted increasing attention. This is due to their immense diversity and adaptation to unique ecological niches that has led to vast physiological and biochemical diversification. Among these organisms, marine calcifiers are an abundant source of novel proteins and chemical entities that can be used for drug discovery. Studies of the skeletal organic matrix proteins of marine calcifiers have focused on biomedical applications such as the identification of growth inducing proteins that can be used for bone regeneration, for example, 2/4 bone morphogenic proteins (BMP). Although a few reports on the functions of proteins derived from marine calcifiers can be found in the literature, marine calcifiers themselves remain an untapped source of proteins for the development of innovative pharmaceuticals. Following an overview of the current knowledge of skeletal organic matrix proteins from marine calcifiers, this review will focus on various aspects of marine skeletal protein research including sources, biosynthesis, structures, and possible strategies for chemical or physical modification. Special attention will be given to potential medical applications and recent discoveries of skeletal proteins and polysaccharides with biologically appealing characteristics. In addition, I will introduce an effective protocol for sample preparation and protein purification that includes isolation technology for biopolymers (of both soluble and insoluble organic matrices) from coralline algae. These algae are a widespread but poorly studied group of shallow marine calcifiers that have great potential for marine drug discovery.
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