The transport system of nacre components through the surface membrane of gastropods

Elena Macías-Sánchez, Antonio G. Checa, Marc G. Willinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The surface membrane is a lamellar structure exclusive of gastropods that is formed during the shell secretion. It protects the surface of the growing nacre and it is located between the mantle epithelium and the mineralization compartment. At the mantle side of the surface membrane numerous vesicles provide material, and at the nacre side, the interlamellar membranes detach from the whole structure. Components of nacre (glycoproteins, polysaccharides and calcium carbonate) cross the structure to reach the mineralization compartment, but the mechanism by which this occurs is still unknown. In this paper we have investigated the ultrastructure of the surface membrane and the associated vesicle layer by means of Transmission Electron Microscopy. Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy and Energy-dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy were used for elemental analysis. The analyses revealed the concentration of calcium in the studied structures: vesicles, surface membrane, and interlamellar membranes. We discuss the possible linkage of calcium to the organic matrix.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
JournalKey Engineering Materials
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomineralization
  • Calcium
  • Molluscs
  • Vesicles


Dive into the research topics of 'The transport system of nacre components through the surface membrane of gastropods'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this