Biomineralization in cephalopods (Mollusca): molecular process and evolution
Started in october 2017
Funding: doctoral grant
Cephalopods are an important class of molluscs, from which only a part of the living representatives possess a calcified shell (internal or external). The macro-evolutionary history of this clade suggests a general tendency to a shell reduction (to its complete disappearance) and shell internalization, from conserved basal forms to the most derived ones. Although phylogenetic relationships between living shell-bearing cephalopods are rather well established, molecular mechanisms of shell formation are almost entirely unknown. For example, one does not know whether the most derived cephalopods use the same ‘molecular toolbox’ as basal forms, for constructing their shell. To answer this puzzling question, this project proposes to explore the shell biomineralization of living cephalopods (nautilus, paper nautilus, cuttlefish, ram’s horn squid) by using a biochemical and proteomic approach on the calcifying shell matrix. In parallel, a structural work, based on techniques of solid-state physics (SEM, Raman spectroscopy, FT-IR, EBSD) will be performed, considering the phylogenetic context. The viability of the project is guaranteed by the combined expertise of the two project holders: cephalopod evolution and integrated analysis of evolutionary patterns (P. Neige), and carbonated biomineralization and molecular characterization of calcifying matrices (F. Marin).
biomineralization, cephalopods, evolution
Antonio Checa (University of Granada) and Isabelle Rouget (Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris 6)