IMR Press / FBE / Volume 4 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.2741/e412

Frontiers in Bioscience-Elite (FBE) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 2 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Open Access Review

The crustacean cuticle: structure, composition and mineralization

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1 Department of Applied Biological Chemistry, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Academic Editor: Ermanno Bonucci

Front. Biosci. (Elite Ed) 2012, 4(2), 711–720;
Published: 1 January 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The biomineralization process: mechanism, problems, perspectives)

Crustaceans have a rigid exoskeleton, which is made of a layered cuticle, covering the soft body parts for protection from conspecific competitors and/or interspecific predators. Calcium carbonate adds rigidity to the crustacean cuticle, which consequently means that growth only occur at each molt. The current study presents a review of existing literature on crustacean exoskeleton cuticle physiology and biochemistry in relation to the molting process with special reference to calcification. As a result, research matter where knowledge remains limited has been identified during the molting process, including 1) whether the same or different epithelial cells are responsible for the decomposition and/or reconstruction of chitin and proteins, 2) how calcium carbonate levels are regulated at the cellular level during transfer between the cuticle and body organs, and 3) what factors maintain the amorphous state of calcium carbonate following deposition in the exoskeleton and temporary storage organs. The identification of these areas of focus provides a basis on which targeted future research may be developed, and potentially applied to other invertebrate or even vertebrate processes.

Acidic macromolecule
Amorphous calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate
Molting hormone
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