Functional Adaptations

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Functional adaptation

Shelters constructed underwater: sandcastle worm
 

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)

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Source: AskNature

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