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PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51803. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051803. Epub 2012 Dec 19.

Unique structural features facilitate lizard tail autotomy.

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1
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Center for Insoluble Protein Structures (inSPIN), Interdiciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.

Abstract

Autotomy refers to the voluntary shedding of a body part; a renowned example is tail loss among lizards as a response to attempted predation. Although many aspects of lizard tail autotomy have been studied, the detailed morphology and mechanism remains unclear. In the present study, we showed that tail shedding by the Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) and the associated extracellular matrix (ECM) rupture were independent of proteolysis. Instead, lizard caudal autotomy relied on biological adhesion facilitated by surface microstructures. Results based on bio-imaging techniques demonstrated that the tail of Gekko gecko was pre-severed at distinct sites and that its structural integrity depended on the adhesion between these segments.

PMID:
23284771
PMCID:
PMC3526639
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0051803
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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