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A role for iron and oxygen chemistry in preserving soft tissues, cells and molecules from deep time

Published on Nov 27, 2013
· DOI :10.1098/rspb.2013.2741
Mary H. Schweitzer24
Estimated H-index: 24
(NCSU: North Carolina State University),
Wenxia Zheng10
Estimated H-index: 10
(NCSU: North Carolina State University)
+ 5 AuthorsSirine C. Fakra35
Estimated H-index: 35
(LBNL: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
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Abstract
The persistence of original soft tissues in Mesozoic fossil bone is not explained by current chemical degradation models. We identified iron particles (goethite-αFeO(OH)) associated with soft tissues recovered from two Mesozoic dinosaurs, using transmission electron microscopy, electron energy loss spectroscopy, micro-X-ray diffraction and Fe micro-X-ray absorption near-edge structure. Iron chelators increased fossil tissue immunoreactivity to multiple antibodies dramatically, suggesting a role for iron in both preserving and masking proteins in fossil tissues. Haemoglobin (HB) increased tissue stability more than 200-fold, from approximately 3 days to more than two years at room temperature (25°C) in an ostrich blood vessel model developed to test post-mortem ‘tissue fixation’ by cross-linking or peroxidation. HB-induced solution hypoxia coupled with iron chelation enhances preservation as follows: HB + O2 > HB − O2 > −O2 ≫ +O2. The well-known O2/haeme interactions in the chemistry of life, such as respiration and bioenergetics, are complemented by O2/haeme interactions in the preservation of fossil soft tissues.
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  • Citations (35)
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References88
Newest
#1Ludovic Orlando (UCPH: University of Copenhagen)H-Index: 53
#2Aurélien Ginolhac (UCPH: University of Copenhagen)H-Index: 17
Last.Ida Moltke (U of C: University of Chicago)H-Index: 25
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#1Carolyn Dehner (ND: University of Notre Dame)H-Index: 6
#2Nydia Morales-Soto (ND: University of Notre Dame)H-Index: 8
Last.Jennifer L. DuBois (SRI: SRI International)H-Index: 16
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#1Elizabeth C. Theil (Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute)H-Index: 49
#2Rabindra Kumar Behera (Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute)H-Index: 10
Last.Takehiko Tosha (Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute)H-Index: 2
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#1Mary H. Schweitzer (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 24
#2Wenxia Zheng (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 10
Last.Marshall W. Bern (PARC)H-Index: 40
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#1Morten E. Allentoft (UCPH: University of Copenhagen)H-Index: 25
#2Matthew J. Collins (Ebor: University of York)H-Index: 51
Last.Eske Willerslev (UCPH: University of Copenhagen)H-Index: 90
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Cited By35
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#1Victoria E. McCoy (University of Bonn)H-Index: 7
#2Sarah E. Gabbott (University of Leicester)H-Index: 21
Last.Xavier Delclòs (University of Barcelona)H-Index: 18
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#1Alida M. Bailleul (CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 6
#2Jingmai K. O'Connor (CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 22
Last.Mary H. SchweitzerH-Index: 24
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#1Maicon Sebold (State University of Campinas)H-Index: 1
#2Carolina Bosso André (State University of Campinas)H-Index: 7
Last.Marcelo Giannini (State University of Campinas)H-Index: 36
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#1Dawid Surmik (University of Silesia in Katowice)H-Index: 3
#2Mateusz Dulski (University of Silesia in Katowice)H-Index: 12
Last.R. Pawlicki (Jagiellonian University Medical College)
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#1Anezka Popovski Kolaceke (University of Regina)H-Index: 1
#2Ryan C. McKellar (KU: University of Kansas)H-Index: 12
Last.Mauricio Barbi (University of Regina)H-Index: 1
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