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Copyright © 2019 Xue, Beguel and La Peyre. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Dominin and segon are two proteins purified and characterized from the plasma of eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica, making up about 70% of the total plasma proteins. Their proposed functions are in host defense based on their pathogen binding properties and in metal metabolism based on their metal binding abilities. In the present study, the two proteins were further studied for their native states in circulation and extrapallial fluid and their possible involvement in shell formation. Two-dimensional electrophoresis confirmed that the oyster plasma was dominated by a few major proteins and size exclusion chromatography indicated that these proteins were present in circulation in a morphologically homogenous form. Density gradient ultracentrifugation in Cesium Chloride isolated morphologically homogenous particles of about 25 nm in diameter from the plasma and extrapallial fluids. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis identified dominin, segon and an unidentified protein as the principal components of the particles and the three proteins likely formed a multiprotein complex that associated to form the particle. Additionally, three major proteins extracted from shell organic matrix were identified based on the apparent molecular weight in SDS-PAGE to correspond to the three major proteins of plasma and protein particles. Moreover, the hemocyte expression of dominin and segon genes measured by real-time RT-PCR increased significantly upon the initiation of shell repair and were significantly greater in younger oysters. These findings suggest that dominin and segon form protein particles by association with each other and perhaps some other major plasma proteins and play a significant role in oyster shell formation.

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Frontiers in Physiology