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Additional resources for Silicon Biomineralization: Biology — Biochemistry — Molecular Biology — Biotechnology
7A) shows the previously identiﬁed (Pickett-Heaps et al. 1979) silica microﬁbrils, attached to the silicalemma with what appears to be fairly regular spacing. The extent of siliciﬁcation is less near the valve-plane oriented silicalemmas and greater towards the raphe ﬁssure and in the center of the SDV, although siliciﬁcation is skewed towards the cytoplasmic side of the lumen (Fig. 7A). A similar arrangement was seen in the pennate Navicula cuspidata (Edgar and Pickett-Heaps 1984b). Examination of other cross sections suggested that siliciﬁcation began where two silicalemma intralumenal surfaces were appressed, and as the SDV expanded and microﬁbrils lengthened, the central region became increasingly siliciﬁed (PickettHeaps et al.
Although based on a limited number of unquantiﬁed observations, the microﬁbrils seen in diatom silica (Figs. 6 and 7) appear to be more elongated than silica precipitates formed in vitro by the silafﬁns and polyamines (Kröger et al. 1999, 2000), and their orientation in the direction of SDV expansion (Fig. 7), are consistent with this idea. Although macrostructure-directing or -affecting properties of silafﬁns and polyamines (or other potential diatom siliciﬁcation determinants) have not yet been directly demonstrated, a recently proposed model suggests a mechanism contributing to the formation of successively smaller hexagonally arranged pore structures in the valve of the genus Coscinodiscus (Sumper 2002), and also suggests possible mechanisms affecting macrostructure in other diatom species.
Interestingly, bands of identical size were seen in the three diatom species examined (Vrieling et al. 1999a), which included two pennates and one centric, suggesting that these proteins were highly conserved. These proteins were apparently much less abundant in C. fusiformis than in the other species (Vrieling et al. 1999a). They were of much larger size (45–60 kDa) than the silafﬁns, and apparently did not have any silica precipitating activity (Swift and Wheeler 1992). Recent results (Naik et al.