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Biofouling. 2016;32(2):205-13. doi: 10.1080/08927014.2015.1135426.

Spatial distribution of proteins in the quagga mussel adhesive apparatus.

Author information

a Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering , University of Toronto , Toronto , Canada.
b Department of Materials Science & Engineering , University of Toronto , Toronto , Canada.
c Faculty of Dentistry , University of Toronto , Toronto , Canada.


The invasive freshwater mollusc Dreissena bugensis (quagga mussel) sticks to underwater surfaces via a proteinacious 'anchor' (byssus), consisting of a series of threads linked to adhesive plaques. This adhesion results in the biofouling of crucial underwater industry infrastructure, yet little is known about the proteins responsible for the adhesion. Here the identification of byssal proteins extracted from freshly secreted byssal material is described. Several new byssal proteins were observed by gel electrophoresis. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry was used to characterize proteins in different regions of the byssus, particularly those localized to the adhesive interface. Byssal plaques and threads contain in common a range of low molecular weight proteins, while several proteins with higher mass were observed only in the plaque. At the adhesive interface, a plaque-specific ~8.1 kDa protein had a relative increase in signal intensity compared to the bulk of the plaque, suggesting it may play a direct role in adhesion.


Bioadhesion; DOPA; MALDI-TOF MS; byssus; mussel adhesive proteins

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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