A Novel Chitin Binding Crayfish Molar Tooth Protein with Elasticity Properties Academic Article uri icon


  • The molar tooth of the crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus is part of the mandible, and is covered by a layer of apatite (calcium phosphate). This tooth sheds and is regenerated during each molting cycle together with the rest of the exoskeleton. We discovered that molar calcification occurs at the pre-molt stage, unlike calcification of the rest of the new exoskeleton. We further identified a novel molar protein from C. quadricarinatus and cloned its transcript from the molar-forming epithelium. We termed this protein Cq-M13. The temporal level of transcription of Cq-M13 in an NGS library of molar-forming epithelium at different molt stages coincides with the assembly and mineralization pattern of the molar tooth. The predicted protein was found to be related to the pro-resilin family of cuticular proteins. Functionally, in vivo silencing of the transcript caused molt cycle delay and a recombinant version of the protein was found to bind chitin and exhibited elastic properties.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015