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Short Communication - (2022) Volume 6, Issue 6

A Highly Abundant Single-Celled Marine Coccolithophore a Well-Studied Sea Urchin Larval Model for Single Crystal Formation
Daniele Piomelli*
Department of Chemistry, University of Georgia, Georgia
*Correspondence: Daniele Piomelli, Department of Chemistry, University of Georgia, Georgia, Email:

Received: 30-Nov-2022, Manuscript No. IPACRH-22-15291; Editor assigned: 02-Dec-2022, Pre QC No. IPACRH-22-15291 (PQ); Reviewed: 16-Dec-2022, QC No. IPACRH-22-15291; Revised: 21-Dec-2022, Manuscript No. IPACRH-22-15291 (R); Published: 28-Jan-2023, DOI: 10.21767/2572-4657.6.6.29


Minerals are formed by organisms in all life forms. All mineral formation pathways involve uptake of ions from the environment, transport of ions through the cell, sometimes temporary storage, and finally deposition inside or outside the cell. Although the details of how they are performed vary widely, all pathways must respect both the chemical limitations of ion manipulation and the many housekeeping roles of ions in cellular function. Our approach is to compare and contrast ion pathways involving calcium, phosphate and carbonate in three very different organisms. A highly abundant single-celled marine coccolithophore, a well-studied sea urchin larval model for single crystal formation, a complex pathway used by vertebrates to form bone.


Both common and unique processes are highlighted in this comparison. Importantly, phosphate is involved in regulating calcium carbonate deposition and carbonate is involved in regulating calcium phosphate deposition. An often overlooked commonality is that the solutions involved are typically supersaturated from uptake to deposition. This therefore involves not only avoiding mineral deposition where it is not needed, but also exploiting this saturation state to create labile mineral precursors that can be conveniently stored, remelted and manipulated into different forms. It also requires a more regular and frequent deposition during deposition. A working final deposit can be converted.

The formation of calcareous skeletal elements by various echinoderms, particularly sea urchins, provides an excellent opportunity to learn more about some of the processes involved in bio mineral formation. Euetinoid larval needles have been the subject of considerable research, including their evolutionary origins. The needle consists of a single optical crystal of high magnesium calcite and variable amounts of amorphous calcium carbonate. Enclosed within the needle is a proteinaceous matrix, most of which is soluble. This matrix accounts for approximately 0.1% of the mass. Needles are also surrounded by extracellular matrix and are almost completely surrounded by cytoplasmic chains. Needles are deposited by primary mesenchyme cells that accumulate calcium and secrete calcium carbonate. A number of PMC-specific or highly enriched proteins have been cloned and studied. Recent studies support the hypothesis that proteins found in the extracellular matrix of bone fragments are important for bio mineralization [1-4].


Sea urchin larvae have an endoskeleton consisting of two calcite needles. We have reconstructed the different stages of the calcium carbonate formation pathway, from calcium ions in seawater to mineral deposition and integration into forming needles. Monitoring calcium uptake with the fluorescent dye calcein shows that calcium ions first enter the embryo and are subsequently deposited intracellular. Surprisingly, calcium carbonate deposits are widely distributed throughout the embryo, including primary mesenchyme and are found in surface epithelial cells. Using cryo-SEM, we show that the vesicles contain intracellular calcium carbonate deposits. We confirmed the presence of solid calcium carbonate in the vesicles using the newly developed which allows direct correlation of fluorescence and energy dispersive spectroscopy. This mineral phase appears as aggregates of nanospheres consistent with amorphous calcium carbonate. Aggregates eventually deposit in the spikelet compartment, where they are integrated into the growing spikelet.



Conflict of Interest

Authors declare no conflict of interest.


Citation: Piomelli D (2022) A Highly Abundant Single-Celled Marine Coccolithophore, a Well-Studied Sea Urchin Larval Model for Single Crystal Formation. Arch Chem Res. 6:29.

Copyright: © 2022 Piomelli D. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.