Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study reveals details of mussels' tenacious bonds

15.08.2006
When it comes to sticking power, marine mussels are hard to beat. They can adhere to virtually all inorganic and organic surfaces, sustaining their tenacious bonds in saltwater, including turbulent tidal environments. Little is known, however, about exactly how the bivalves achieve this amazing feat.

In a paper to be published online the week of Aug. 14 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a Northwestern University research team sheds new light on the adhesive strategies of mussels, information that could be used to develop adherents or repellants for use in medical implants.

This is the first-ever single molecule study to focus on the key amino acid 3,4-L-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA), a tyrosine derivative that is found in high concentration in the "glue" proteins of mussels.

The researchers, led by Phillip B. Messersmith, associate professor of biomedical engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, attached single DOPA amino acids to an atomic force microscope tip and measured the strength of interaction between DOPA and inorganic and organic surfaces.

They found that on an inorganic metal oxide surface DOPA interacts with the substrate by a coordinated noncovalent interaction, which is over an order of magnitude stronger than hydrogen bonding but still completely reversible.

On an organic substrate, DOPA can form even stronger, and irreversible, covalent bonds when it is oxidized by seawater. This helps to explain the remarkable versatility of mussels to adhere strongly to many different materials.

On neither substrate could tyrosine alone mimic such a strong binding interaction, which highlights that the modification of tyrosine residues to form DOPA during mussel glue processing is critical.

"Our results point the way toward new applications for our mussel mimetic polymers," said Messersmith, who has designed a versatile two-sided coating that sticks securely to a surface and prevents cell, protein and bacterial buildup. "For example, we may be able to take advantage of the reactivity of oxidized DOPA to form covalent bonds between adhesive DOPA-containing polymers and human tissue surfaces."

Megan Fellman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals
23.08.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Treating arthritis with algae
23.08.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>