Three-dimensional microarchitecture of the plates (primary, secondary, and carinar process) in the developing tooth of Lytechinus variegatus revealed by synchrotron X-ray absorption microtomography (microCT)

S. R. Stock*, K. I. Ignatiev, T. Dahl, A. Veis, F. De Carlo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper reports the first noninvasive, volumetric study of entire cross-sections of a sea urchin tooth in which the individual calcite structural elements could be resolved. Two cross-sectionally intact fragments of a Lytechinus variegatus tooth were studied with synchrotron microCT (microcomputed tomography) with 1.66μm voxels (volume elements). These fragments were from the plumula, that is the tooth zone with rapidly increasing levels of mineral; one fragment was from a position aboral of where the keel developed and the second was from the zone where the keel was developing. The primary plates, secondary plates, carinar process plates, prisms, and elements of the lamellar-needle complex were resolved. Comparison of the microCT data with optical micrographs of stained thin sections confirmed the identifications and measured dimensions of the characteristic microarchitectural features. The interplay of reinforcing structures (plates and prisms) was more clearly revealed in the volumetric numerical data sets than in single or sequential slices. While it is well known that the primary plates and prisms in camarodont teeth are situated to improve resistance to bending (which can be termed primary bending), the data presented provide a new understanding of the mechanical role of the carinar process plates, that is, a geometry consistent with that required in the keel to resist lateral or transverse bending of the tooth about a second axis. The increase in robustness of teeth incorporating lateral keel reinforcement suggests that the relative development of carinar processes (toward a geometry similar to that of L. variegatus) is a character which can be used to infer which sea urchins among the stirodonts are most primitive and among the camarodonts which are more primitive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-300
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Volume144
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2003

Keywords

  • Biomineralization
  • Lytechinus variegatus
  • Microtomography (microCT)
  • Sea urchin
  • Synchrotron radiation
  • Tooth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology

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