Mineral-bearing vesicle transport in sea urchin embryos

Netta Vidavsky, Admir Masic, Andreas Schertel, Steve Weiner, Lia Addadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Sea urchin embryos sequester calcium from the sea water. This calcium is deposited in a concentrated form in granule bearing vesicles both in the epithelium and in mesenchymal cells. Here we use in vivo calcein labeling and confocal Raman spectroscopy, as well as cryo-FIB-SEM 3D structural reconstructions, to investigate the processes occurring in the internal cavity of the embryo, the blastocoel. We demonstrate that calcein stained granules are also present in the filopodial network within the blastocoel. Simultaneous fluorescence imaging and Raman spectroscopy show that these granules do contain a calcium mineral. By tracking the movements of these granules, we show that the granules in the epithelium and primary mesenchymal cells barely move, but those in the filopodial network move long distances. We could however not detect any unidirectional movement of the filopodial granules. We also show the presence of mineral containing multivesicular vesicles that also move in the filopodial network. We conclude that the filopodial network is an integral part of the mineral transport process, and possibly also for sequestering calcium and other ions. Although much of the sequestered calcium is deposited in the mineralized skeleton, a significant amount is used for other purposes, and this may be temporarily stored in these membrane-delineated intracellular deposits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-365
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomineralization
  • Cryo-FIB-SEM
  • Filopodia
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Sea urchin spicule
  • Vesicle transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology


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