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Voigt, Oliver; Adamska, Maja; Adamski, Marcin; Kittelmann, Andre; Wencker, Lukardis; Wörheide, Gert ORCID: 0000-0002-6380-7421 (2017): Spicule formation in calcareous sponges: Coordinated expression of biomineralization genes and spicule-type specific genes. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 7, 45658
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The ability to form mineral structures under biological control is widespread among animals. In several species, specific proteins have been shown to be involved in biomineralization, but it is uncertain how they influence the shape of the growing biomineral and the resulting skeleton. Calcareous sponges are the only sponges that form calcitic spicules, which, based on the number of rays (actines) are distinguished in diactines, triactines and tetractines. Each actine is formed by only two cells, called sclerocytes. Little is known about biomineralization proteins in calcareous sponges, other than that specific carbonic anhydrases (CAs) have been identified, and that uncharacterized Asx-rich proteins have been isolated from calcitic spicules. By RNA-Seq and RNA in situ hybridization (ISH), we identified five additional biomineralization genes in Sycon ciliatum: two bicarbonate transporters (BCTs) and three Asx-rich extracellular matrix proteins (ARPs). We show that these biomineralization genes are expressed in a coordinated pattern during spicule formation. Furthermore, two of the ARPs are spicule-type specific for triactines and tetractines (ARP1 or SciTriactinin) or diactines (ARP2 or SciDiactinin). Our results suggest that spicule formation is controlled by defined temporal and spatial expression of spicule-type specific sets of biomineralization genes.