Tube-like shelters of sandcastle worms are constructed from mineral particles using an underwater, quick-set glue.
"The sandcastle worm Phragmatopoma californica, a marine polychaete, constructs a tube-like shelter by cementing together sand grains using a glue secreted from the building organ in its thorax. The glue is a mixture of post-translationally modified proteins, notably the cement proteins Pc-1 and Pc-2 with the amino acid, 3,4-dihydroxyphenyl-L-alanine (DOPA). Significant amounts of a halogenated derivative of DOPA were isolated from the worm cement following partial acid hydrolysis and capture of catecholic amino acids by phenylboronate affinity chromatography. Analysis by tandem mass spectrometry and 1H NMR indicates the DOPA derivative to be 2-chloro-4, 5-dihydroxyphenyl-L-alanine. The potential roles of 2-chloro-DOPA in chemical defense and underwater adhesion are considered." (Sun et al. 2009:126)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Endrizzi BJ; Stewart RJ. 2009. Glueomics: an expression survey of the adhesive gland of the sandcastle worm. The Journal of Adhesion. 85(8): 546 - 559.
- Sun CJ; Srivastava A; Reifert JR; Waite JH. 2009. Halogenated DOPA in a marine adhesive protein. The Journal of Adhesion. 85(2-3): 126-138.
- Shao H; Bachus KN; Stewart RJ. 2008. A water-borne adhesive modeled after the sandcastle glue of P. californica. Macromolecular Bioscience. 9(5): 464 - 471.
- 2008. Superglue from the sea. EurekAlert! [Internet],