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The chiton stylus canal: An element delivery pathway for tooth cusp biomineralization

Shaw, J.A., Macey, D.J., Brooker, L.R., Stockdale, E.J., Saunders, M. and Clode, P.L. (2009) The chiton stylus canal: An element delivery pathway for tooth cusp biomineralization. Journal of Morphology, 270 (5). pp. 588-600.

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A detailed investigation of the stylus canal situated within the iron mineralized major lateral teeth of the chiton Acanthopleura hirtosa was undertaken in conjunction with a row-by-row examination of cusp mineralization. The canal is shown to contain columnar epithelial tissue similar to that surrounding the mineralized cusps, including the presence of iron rich particles characteristic of the iron storage protein ferritin. Within the tooth core, a previously undescribed internal pathway or plume is evident above the stylus canal, between the junction zone and mineralizing posterior face of the cusp. Plume formation coincides with the appearance of iron in the superior epithelium and the onset of mineralization at tooth row 13. The plume persists during the delivery of phosphorous and calcium into the tooth core, and is the final region of the cusp to become mineralized. The presence of the stylus canal was confirmed in a further 18 chiton species, revealing that the canal is common to polyplacophoran molluscs. These new data strongly support the growing body of evidence highlighting the importance of the junction zone for tooth mineralization in chiton teeth, and indicate that the chemical and structural environment within the tooth cusp is under far greater biological control than previously considered.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright: © 2008 Wiley-Liss
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