The structural and chemical basis of temporary adhesion in the sea star Asterina gibbosa.
ABSTRACT: Background: Marine biological adhesives are a promising source of inspiration for biomedical and industrial applications. Nevertheless, natural adhesives and especially temporary adhesion systems are mostly unexplored. Sea stars are able to repeatedly attach and detach their hydraulic tube feet. This ability is based on a duo-gland system and, upon detachment, the adhesive material stays behind on the substrate as a 'footprint'. In recent years, characterization of sea star temporary adhesion has been focussed on the forcipulatid species Asterias rubens. Results: We investigated the temporary adhesion system in the distantly related valvatid species Asterina gibbosa. The morphology of tube feet was described using histological sections, transmission-, and scanning electron microscopy. Ultrastructural investigations revealed two adhesive gland cell types that both form electron-dense secretory granules with a more lucid outer rim and one de-adhesive gland cell type with homogenous granules. The footprints comprised a meshwork on top of a thin layer. This topography was consistently observed using various methods like scanning electron microscopy, 3D confocal interference microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and light microscopy with crystal violet staining. Additionally, we tested 24 commercially available lectins and two antibodies for their ability to label the adhesive epidermis and footprints. Out of 15 lectins labelling structures in the area of the duo-gland adhesive system, only one also labelled footprints indicating the presence of glycoconjugates with ?-linked mannose in the secreted material. Conclusion: Despite the distant relationship between the two sea star species, the morphology of tube feet and topography of footprints in A. gibbosa shared many features with the previously described findings in A. rubens. These similarities might be due to the adaptation to a benthic life on rocky intertidal areas. Lectin- and immuno-labelling indicated similarities but also some differences in adhesive composition between the two species. Further research on the temporary adhesive of A. gibbosa will allow the identification of conserved motifs in sea star adhesion and might facilitate the development of biomimetic, reversible glues.
Project description:Sea stars use adhesive secretions to attach their numerous tube feet strongly and temporarily to diverse surfaces. After detachment of the tube feet, the adhesive material stays bound to the substrate as so-called 'footprints'. In the common sea star species Asterias rubens, the adhesive material has been studied extensively and the first sea star footprint protein (Sfp1) has been characterized. We identified Sfp1-like sequences in 17 additional sea star species, representing different taxa and tube foot morphologies, and analysed the evolutionary conservation of this protein. In A. rubens, we confirmed the expression of 34 footprint proteins in the tube foot adhesive epidermis, with 22 being exclusively expressed in secretory cells of the adhesive epidermis and 12 showing an additional expression in the stem epidermis. The sequences were used for BLAST searches in seven asteroid transcriptomes providing a first insight in the conservation of footprint proteins among sea stars. Our results highlighted a high conservation of the large proteins making up the structural core of the footprints, whereas smaller, potential surface-binding proteins might be more variable among sea star species. This article is part of the theme issue 'Transdisciplinary approaches to the study of adhesion and adhesives in biological systems'.
Project description:Marine organisms represent a rich source for discovering natural products and materials that could inspire the development of novel molecules or materials for a high variety of industrial applications. Among them are sea stars, emblematic animals of the seashore. These organisms rely on epidermal secretions to cope with their benthic life. Their integument produces a mucus, which represents the first barrier against invaders; and their tube feet produce adhesive secretions to pry open mussels and attach strongly but temporarily to rocks. In this study, we investigate for the first time the protein content of mucous and adhesive secretions from the sea star Asterias rubens. These secretomes were analysed using tandem mass spectrometry and resulting MS/MS data were searched against in silico translated tube foot transcriptome. Tube foot transcripts coding for proteins identified in the two secretions were then functionally annotated by similarity searches against NCBI nr database.
Project description:Sea stars adhere firmly but temporarily to various substrata as a result of underwater efficient adhesive secretions released by their tube feet. Previous studies showed that this material is mainly made up of proteins, which play a key role in its adhesiveness and cohesiveness. Recently, we solubilized the majority of these proteins and obtained 43 de novo-generated peptide sequences by tandem MS. Here, one of these sequences served to recover the full-length sequence of Sea star footprint protein 1 (Sfp1), by RT-PCR and tube foot transcriptome analysis. Sfp1, a large protein of 3,853 aa, is the second most abundant constituent of the secreted adhesive. By using MS and Western blot analyses, we showed that Sfp1 is translated from a single mRNA and then cleaved into four subunits linked together by disulphide bridges in tube foot adhesive cells. The four subunits display specific protein-, carbohydrate-, and metal-binding domains. Immunohistochemistry and immunocytochemistry located Sfp1 in granules stockpiled by one of the two types of adhesive cells responsible for the secretion of the adhesive material. We also demonstrated that Sfp1 makes up the structural scaffold of the adhesive footprint that remains on the substratum after tube foot detachment. Taken together, the results suggest that Sfp1 is a major structural protein involved in footprint cohesion and possibly in adhesive interactions with the tube foot surface. In recombinant form, it could be used for the design of novel sea star-inspired biomaterials.
Project description:The flatworm Macrostomum lignano features a duo-gland adhesive system that allows it to repeatedly attach to and release from substrates in seawater within a minute. However, little is known about the molecules involved in this temporary adhesion. In this study, we show that the attachment of M. lignano relies on the secretion of two large adhesive proteins, M. lignano adhesion protein 1 (Mlig-ap1) and Mlig-ap2. We revealed that both proteins are expressed in the adhesive gland cells and that their distribution within the adhesive footprints was spatially restricted. RNA interference knockdown experiments demonstrated the essential function of these two proteins in flatworm adhesion. Negatively charged modified sugars in the surrounding water inhibited flatworm attachment, while positively charged molecules impeded detachment. In addition, we found that M. lignano could not adhere to strongly hydrated surfaces. We propose an attachment-release model where Mlig-ap2 attaches to the substrate and Mlig-ap1 exhibits a cohesive function. A small negatively charged molecule is secreted that interferes with Mlig-ap1, inducing detachment. These findings are of relevance for fundamental adhesion science and efforts to mitigate biofouling. Further, this model of flatworm temporary adhesion may serve as the starting point for the development of synthetic reversible adhesion systems for medicinal and industrial applications.
Project description:Cypris larvae of barnacles are able to use a rapidly reversible temporary adhesion mechanism for exploring immersed surfaces. Despite decades of research interest, the means by which cyprids maintain attachment with surfaces prior to permanent settlement remain poorly understood. Here, we present novel observations on the morphology of 'footprints' of a putative adhesive secretion deposited by cyprids during surface exploration. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to image footprints at high resolution and to acquire measurements of interaction forces. R-CH3- and R-NH2-terminated glass surfaces were used for comparison of footprint morphology, and it was noted that on R-NH2 each footprint comprised three times the volume of material deposited for footprints on R-CH3. Direct scaling of adhesion forces derived from AFM measurements did not adequately predict the real attachment tenacity of cyprids, and it is suggested that a mixture of 'wet' and 'dry' adhesive mechanisms may be at work in cyprid adhesion. High-resolution images of cyprid footprints are presented that correlate well with the known morphology of the attachment structures.
Project description:The etiology of sea star wasting syndrome is hypothesized to be caused by a densovirus, sea star-associated densovirus (SSaDV), that has previously been reported on the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts of the United States. In this study, we reevaluated the presence of SSaDV among sea stars from the North American Atlantic Coast and in doing so discovered a novel densovirus that we have named Asterias forbesi-associated densovirus (AfaDV), which shares 78% nucleotide pairwise identity with SSaDV. In contrast to previous studies, SSaDV was not detected in sea stars from the North American Atlantic Coast. Using a variety of PCR-based techniques, we investigated the tissue tropism, host specificity, and prevalence of AfaDV among populations of sea stars at five locations along the Atlantic Coast. AfaDV was detected in three sea star species (Asterias forbesi, Asterias rubens, and Henricia sp.) found in this region and was highly prevalent (>80% of individuals tested; n?=?134), among sampled populations. AfaDV was detected in the body wall, gonads, and pyloric caeca (digestive gland) of specimens but was not detected in their coelomic fluid. A significant difference in viral load (copies mg-1) was found between tissue types, with the pyloric caeca having the highest viral loads. Further investigation of Asterias forbesi gonad tissue found germ line cells (oocytes) to be virus positive, suggesting a potential route of vertical transmission. Taken together, these observations show that the presence of AfaDV is not an indicator of sea star wasting syndrome because AfaDV is a common constituent of these animals' microbiome, regardless of health.IMPORTANCE Sea star wasting syndrome is a disease primarily observed on the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts of North America that has significantly impacted sea star populations. The etiology of this disease is unknown, although it is hypothesized to be caused by a densovirus, SSaDV. However, previous studies have not found a correlation between SSaDV and sea star wasting syndrome on the North American Atlantic Coast. This study suggests that this observation may be explained by the presence of a genetically similar densovirus, AfaDV, that may have confounded previous studies. SSaDV was not present in sea stars screened in this study, and instead, AfaDV was commonly found in sea star populations across the New England region, with no apparent signs of disease. These results suggest that sea star densoviruses may be common constituents of the animals' microbiome, and the diversity and extent of these viruses among wild populations may be greater than previously recognized.
Project description:Sea urchins have specialized adhesive organs called tube feet, which mediate strong but reversible adhesion. Tube feet are composed by a disc, producing adhesive and de-adhesive secretions for substratum attachment, and a stem for movement. After detachment the secreted adhesive remains bound to the substratum as a footprint. Recently, a label-free quantitative proteomic approach coupled with the latest mass-spectrometry technology was used to analyze the differential proteome of Paracentrotus lividus adhesive organ, comparing protein expression levels in the tube feet adhesive part (the disc) versus the non-adhesive part (the stem), and also to profile the proteome of the secreted adhesive (glue). This data article contains complementary figures and results related to the research article "Deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying sea urchin reversible adhesion: a quantitative proteomics approach" (Lebesgue et al., 2016) . Here we provide a dataset of 1384 non-redundant proteins, their fragmented peptides and expression levels, resultant from the analysis of the tube feet differential proteome. Of these, 163 highly over-expressed tube feet disc proteins (>3-fold), likely representing the most relevant proteins for sea urchin reversible adhesion, were further annotated in order to determine the potential functions. In addition, we provide a dataset of 611 non-redundant proteins identified in the secreted adhesive proteome, as well as their functional annotation and grouping in 5 major protein groups related with adhesive exocytosis, and microbial protection. This list was further analyzed to identify the most abundant protein groups and pinpoint putative adhesive proteins, such as Nectin, the most abundant adhesive protein in sea urchin glue. The obtained data uncover the key proteins involved in sea urchins reversible adhesion, representing a step forward to the development of new wet-effective bio-inspired adhesives.
Project description:Marine bioadhesives have unmatched performances especially in wet environments, being valuable sources of inspiration for industrial and biomedical applications. In sea urchins specialized adhesive organs, called tube feet, mediate adhesion. These are composed by a disc, which produces adhesive and de-adhesive secretions for strong reversible attachment, and a motile stem. After detachment, the secreted adhesive remains bound to the substratum as a footprint. Previous studies showed that sea urchin adhesive is composed of proteins and sugars, but so far only one protein, Nectin, was shown to be over-expressed as a transcript in tube feet discs, suggesting its involvement in sea urchin adhesion. Here we use high-resolution quantitative mass-spectrometry technologies to profile Paracentrotus lividus tube feet differential proteome, comparing protein expression levels in its adhesive part (disc) versus the non-adhesive part (stem). This allowed us to identify 163 highly over-expressed disc proteins and propose the first molecular model of sea urchin reversible adhesion. The secreted adhesive proteome was also analyzed, whereby we found that 70% of its components fall within five protein groups, involved in adhesive exocytosis and protection against microbes. Our data also provides evidence that Nectin is not only highly expressed in tube feet discs but is a component of the adhesive itself, thus constituting the first report of a sea urchin tube foot adhesive protein. These results give us an unprecedented insight on the molecular mechanics underlying sea urchins reversible adhesion, opening new doors to develop new, wet-reliable, reversible, efficient, ecological biomimetic adhesives.
Project description:The oral surface of sea stars is lined with arrays of tube feet that enable them to achieve highly controlled locomotion on various terrains. The activity of the tube feet is orchestrated by a nervous system that is distributed throughout the body without a central brain. How such a distributed nervous system produces a coordinated locomotion is yet to be understood. We develop mathematical models of the biomechanics of the tube feet and the sea star body. In the model, the feet are coupled mechanically through their structural connection to a rigid body. We formulate hierarchical control laws that capture salient features of the sea star nervous system. Namely, at the tube foot level, the power and recovery strokes follow a state-dependent feedback controller. At the system level, a directionality command is communicated through the nervous system to all tube feet. We study the locomotion gaits afforded by this hierarchical control model. We find that these minimally coupled tube feet coordinate to generate robust forward locomotion, reminiscent of the crawling motion of sea stars, on various terrains and for heterogeneous tube feet parameters and initial conditions. Our model also predicts a transition from crawling to bouncing consistently with recent experiments. We conclude by commenting on the implications of these findings for understanding the neuromechanics of sea stars and their potential application to autonomous robotic systems.
Project description:The flatworm Macrostomum lignano features a duo-gland adhesive system that allows it to repeatedly attach to and release from substrates in seawater within a minute. However, little is known about the molecules involved in this temporary adhesion. In this study, we showed that the attachment of M. lignano relieds on the secretion of two large adhesive proteins, Macrostomum lignano adhesion protein 1 (Mlig-ap1) and Mlig-ap2. We revealed that both proteins are expressed in the adhesive gland cells and that their distribution within the adhesive footprints was spatially restricted. RNA interference knock-down experiments demonstrated the essential function of these two proteins in flatworm adhesion. Negatively-charged modified sugars in the surrounding water inhibited flatworm attachment, while positively-charged molecules impeded detachment. In addition, we found that M. lignano could not adhere to strongly hydrated surfaces. We propose an attachment-release model where Mlig-ap2 attaches to the substrate and Mlig-ap1 exhibits a cohesive function. A small negatively-charged molecule is secreted that interferes with Mlig-ap1, inducing detachment. These findings are of relevance for fundamental adhesion science and efforts to mitigate biofouling. Further, this first model of flatworm temporary adhesion may serve as the starting point for the development of synthetic reversible adhesion systems for medicinal and industrial applications.