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Nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, is a biomineral that forms inside of molluskan shells and also makes up the outer coating of pearls. It is formed through a blend of minerals that are secreted by oysters and other mollusks and deposited inside their shells. The iridescent optical property of nacre has contributed to it being long sought after for decorative purposes, but its fracture-resistant feature also makes it a strong candidate for the creation of biomimetic materials that can be used for, among other purposes, synthetic bone and teeth. Scientists have long studied nacre due to this fascinating combination of characteristics and potential, but the mechanisms behind its formation have remained elusive.
However, research conducted by Professor Hyung Joon Cha and Dr. So Yeong Bahn from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), in collaboration with Professor Yoo Seong Choi at Chungnam National University, has shed light on the key mechanism behind the formation of nacre. The team has discovered the role of the matrix protein Pif80 from the pearl oyster Pinctada fucata and its involvement in the development of the nacre....
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