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Biological Adhesive Systems. Biological adhesive systems : from nature to technical and medical application. Kearn GC, Evans-Gowing R Attachment and detachment of the anterior adhesive pads of the monogenean platyhelminth parasite Entobdella soleae from the skin of the common sole Solea solea.
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There is a growing need for new adhesives for technical and medical applications! The nature uses adhesion in a host of ways and we can learn a great deal. There is a growing need for new adhesives for technical and medical applications! The nature uses adhesion in a host of ways and we can.
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Specifically, the absence of intermediate filaments in the anchor cells led to papillae with open tips, a reduction of the cytoskeleton network, a decline in hemidesmosomal connections, and to shortened microvilli containing less actin. Our findings reveal an elaborate biological adhesion system in a free-living flatworm, which permits impressively rapid temporary adhesion-release performance in the marine environment. We demonstrate that the structural integrity of the supportive cell, the anchor cell, is essential for this adhesion process: the knock-down of the anchor cell-specific intermediate filament gene resulted in the inability of the animals to adhere.
The RNAi mediated changes of the anchor cell morphology are comparable to situations observed in human gut epithelia. Therefore, our current findings and future investigations using this powerful flatworm model system might contribute to a better understanding of the function of intermediate filaments and their associated human diseases.
Biological adhesion is a prerequisite for many organisms to accomplish critical tasks of life, and a broad range of organisms are able to attach to a variety of different surfaces, even under extreme environmental conditions [ 1 — 3 ]. For example, geckos are well-known for their impressive climbing capabilities relying on millions of small hair-like structures [ 4 — 7 ].
In contrast, aquatic organisms such as blue mussels, acorn barnacles, sandcastle worms, starfish, the freshwater caddisfly, and flatworms secrete adhesives to attain permanent or temporary attachment. The blue mussel Mytilus edulis attaches to the substrate using an apparatus called the byssus. It is composed of bundles of threads that terminate in the byssal plaque, which attaches to the substrate.
The molecules of the plaque have already been identified [ 8 — 13 ]. Substantial progress has been made in characterizing the cement glue of barnacles [ 14 — 18 ]. The barnacle cement glands are huge cells secreting a proteinaceous substance containing more than 10 proteins into a duct, which is then secreted as the cement, a self-organizing, multi-functional complex that serves to permanently attach the animals to the substrate [ 18 ]. Adhesive secretions are also produced by the disc of the tube feet of echinoderms, which adhere and release from the substrate by means of a duo-gland system [ 19 , 20 ].
The composition of the involved proteins and the carbohydrate components has recently been analyzed for the sea star Asterias rubens [ 21 , 22 ] and the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus [ 23 , 24 ]. Lectin staining has also been applied in planarian flatworms to label subepidermal marginal adhesive gland cells [ 25 ]. The glue of the sandcastle worm has been analyzed in detail [ 26 ]. Two secretory cells expel vesicles at the building organ, i. Together with additional components the vesicles are secreted and the mixture cures within 30 seconds to form the glue [ 27 ].
The caddisfly larvae spin adhesive silk to capture food and to construct a cover for protection and camouflage. Caddisfly silk fibers are composed of heavy- and light-chain fibroin protein linked by disulfide bridges [ 28 — 30 ]. The exact mechanism how silks stick underwater is not yet understood. Most likely phosphorylated serines and the presence of surface exposed phosphates play a role in underwater adhesion [ 31 ].
Parasitic Platyhelminthes use specialized morphological adaptations and adhesive secretions to adhere to their respective host [ 32 ]. For free-living flatworms the morphology of adhesive organs of a broad range of flatworm species has been analyzed [ 33 — 37 ]. A duo-gland adhesive and release system has been proposed [ 33 , 38 ].
Each duo-gland organ consists of at least three cells: One or more adhesive gland cells with electron-dense granules form the adhesive, and one or more releasing gland cells possessing smaller, less dense granules. These gland cells expel their secretions through a modified epidermal cell, called the anchor cell. Several lines of evidence support the suggestion concerning the function of the respective gland cell type [ 33 ]. The notion that the large dense granules of the adhesive cells are responsible for adhesion relies on observations of animals that were fixed during the adhesive process in the rhabdocoel flatworm Messoplana falcata , where the two gland cell types emerge in spatially separate papillae.
Only adhesive gland cell necks were surrounded by a distinct microvilli collar while releasing gland necks were devoid of such a tension mediating structure the same observation was also made in the polyclad Theama sp. It was evident that secreted material was only found in vicinity of the adhesive gland tips. Furthermore, adhesive papillae of animals that were fixed during adhesion exhibited signs of tension. These papillae were bent in oblique angles due to pulling forces with respect to the epidermal surface and they were additionally stretched outwards.
This was never observed for releasing gland papillae and adhesive papillae that did not participate in this adhesion incident see [ 35 ] for details.
According to the conserved nature of the structural components of the adhesive organs we assume that the cell containing the large dense granules represents the adhesive cell. Only adhesive gland cell necks are surrounded by a collar of microvilli corroborating the assumption that the gland cell with the dense granules is responsible for adhesion [ 33 ].
Tyler suggested tonofilaments in the cytoplasm of the anchor cells to direct the forces from the microvilli collar to the extracellular matrix. In the planarian Dugesia japonica Tazaki et al. Their observations pointed to an important role of intermediate filaments IFs in the adhesion process.
IFs are essential structural elements of metazoan cells. They form resilient cytoplasmic and nuclear networks, providing mechanical strength to cells [ 40 — 42 ]. Their tight connection with desmosomes and hemidesmosomes dynamically anchors cells within the tissue. In contrast to microtubule and actin filaments, the expression of IFs is often cell-type or tissue specific.