The biomineralized radular teeth of chitons are known to consist of iron-based magnetic crystals, associated with the maximum hardness and stiffness of any biomineral. Based on our transmission electron microscopy analysis of partially mineralized teeth, we suggest that the organic matrix within the teeth controls the iron oxide nucleation. Thus, we used Nano-LC-MS to perform a proteomic analysis of the organic matrix in radular teeth of the chiton Cryptochiton stelleri in order to identify the proteins involved in the biomineralization process. Since the genome sequence of C. stelleri is not available, cross-species similarity searching and de novo peptide sequencing were used to screen the proteins. Our results indicate that several proteins were dominant in the mineralized part of the radular teeth, amongst which, myoglobin and a highly acidic peptide were identified as possibly involved in the biomineralization process.
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