Navigation Links
Super sticky barnacle glue cures like blood clots
Date:10/15/2009

Barnacles are a big problem for boats. Adhering to the undersides of vessels, carpets of the crustaceans can increase fuel consumption by as much as 25%. Ship owners would love to know how to stop these hitchhikers gluing on, but before you can learn how to disrupt an adhesive, you have to understand the curing process. Curious about many aspects of the crustacean's lifestyle, Dan Rittschof from Duke University decided to find out how barnacle adhesive polymerizes. 'The process must be related to something because glue isn't de novo,' says Rittschof, so he wondered what else coagulates under water and came up with two answers: blood and semen. With a colossal body of blood clotting literature to draw on, Rittschof decided to follow his evolutionarily inspired theory to see whether barnacle glue polymerization is really an extreme example of scab formation and publishes his results on 16 October 2009 in the Journal of Experimental Biology at http://jeb.biologists.org.

Rittschof teamed up with Gary Dickinson and the first thing that Dickinson had to do was work out how to collect the unpolymerised glue and keep it fluid. Building on 30 years of Rittschof's experience and Beatriz Orihuela's expertise at growing and reattaching barnacles, Dickinson learned to gently lift polymerised glue away from the pores that secrete the adhesive and quickly collect the minute drops as they oozed from the shell. Working in the cold room to slow the polymerization process, Dickinson had only 5 minutes before each sample polymerized and the glue set solid.

Next the team had to convince themselves that the viscous secretion was glue and not some other body fluid. Dickinson found that the fluid polymerised rapidly and was packed full of protein, just like barnacle glue. Next Dickinson teamed up with Kathy Wahl to use atomic force microscopy to compare the molecular structures of naturally cured glue (from stuck-down barnacles) and his polymerized samples. The two samples were virtually indistinguishable and Dickinson could clearly see tangled webs of fibres in his glue drops, similar to the tangled fibres in blood clots.

But this evidence was still far from proving that barnacle glue cures by the same process as blood clots. Dickinson and Rittschof needed to identify the key proteins that polymerize the cement. Knowing that blood clots are formed when enzymes, known as trypsin-like serine proteases, trigger a cascade of events that culminates in the formation of the long fibres found in blood clots, Dickinson and Rittschoff began searching for the protease in the unpolymerised glue. Separating the glue's components on a gel, Dickinson could see the tell-tale pattern of bands that suggested that a trypsin-like serine protease was present. And when Dickinson added an inhibitor, to inactivate the protease, to a fresh sample of glue, the sample didn't set.

Having convinced themselves that the glue contained a trypsin-like serine protease, the team began to search for other blood-clot-like proteins in the barnacle's secretions. Teaming up with Joseph Bonaventura and Irving Vega, Dickinson chopped each glue component into minute fragments, measured their sizes with mass spectrometry and matched the fragment pattern to known protein sequences. Amazingly, one of the glue proteins was remarkably similar to human factor XIII: a human blood clotting factor that cross-links clot fibres to form a scab. In fact, some regions of the human and barnacle proteins were completely identical. Dickinson and Rittschof had stumbled across the crucial protein that cross-links the glue fibres to cure barnacle cement and it was very similar to factor XIII, an essential human blood-clotting factor.

Rittschof admits that he is shocked that his hypothesis stands up to the tests. 'It seems likely that barnacle glue polymerization is a specialized form of wound healing,' he says and suspects that many other marine animals that rely on glue to get a grip may use the same polymerization mechanism.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kathryn Knight
kathryn@biologists.com
44-122-342-5525
The Company of Biologists
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Rosetta Stone of supervolcanoes discovered in Italian Alps
2. LLNL technology cleans up Visalia Superfund 100 years ahead of schedule
3. Superscanner helps scientists see into the unknown
4. New Iowa State supercomputer, Cystorm, unleashes 28.16 trillion calculations per second
5. New supercomputer to reel in answers to some of Earths problems
6. C. difficile spores spread superbug
7. Super-sleepers could help super-sizers!
8. The Vision Revolution: Eyes are the source of human superpowers
9. Changing climate likely to make super weed even more powerful
10. Bacteria create aquatic superbugs in waste treatment plants
11. Super reefs fend off climate change, study says
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/11/2016)...  According to new research from Acuity Market ... 200 fingerprint, iris, and eye-vein biometric smartphones have ... names. This includes market leaders Apple, Samsung, Huawei, ... that 600 million biometric smartphones are currently in ... Maxine Most , Acuity Market Intelligence ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Vigilant Solutions announces today that ... are being used by Lee,s Summit ... recent location and arrest of a homicide suspect. ... covers around 65 square miles and is home to ... Department has a single mobile license plate reader system and ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... PUNE, India , February 10, 2016 ... --> According to 2016 iris ... fingerprint identification iris recognition is more widely ... are available with both fingerprint and iris ... allows the user to avoid purchasing two ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... Global Stem Cells Group, ... Bankok,Thailand-based Global Stem Cells Network (GSCN) to distribute exosome injection and other biological ... Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Argentina, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Venezuela, Peru, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Febr. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. (NYSE: ... to announce that Mitsui & Co. Ltd., its partner ... acid plant, is investing an additional CDN$25 million in ... its stake from 30% to 40%.  Mitsui will also ... acid produced in Sarnia , providing ...
(Date:2/10/2016)...  The Maryland House of Delegates and House Speaker ... of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert ... Medical System President and CEO Robert Chrencik , ... honor given to the public by the leader of ... and Mr. Chrencik for their contributions to our ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb.10, 2016 ASAE is introducing ... Association Management Companies (AMC) the option of joining or ... annual fee determined by staff size, every employee in ... join ASAE and reap all available member benefits.   ... "Our new organizational membership options will allow organizations of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: