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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.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6122182 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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