, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 484-495
Date: 01 Oct 2010

Characterisation of the Carbohydrate Fraction of the Temporary Adhesive Secreted by the Tube Feet of the Sea Star Asterias rubens

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In sea stars, adhesion takes place at the level of a multitude of small appendages, the tube feet. It involves the secretion of an adhesive material which, after tube foot detachment, remains on the substratum as a footprint. It was previously reported that the two main organic components of this material are proteins and carbohydrates. The carbohydrate moiety of the adhesive secretion of Asterias rubens was investigated using a set of 16 lectins which were used on sections through tube feet, on footprints, and on the proteins extracted from these footprints. After gel electrophoresis, these proteins separate into eight protein bands which were named sea star footprint proteins (Sfps). Eleven lectins label the tube foot epidermis at the level of the adhesive cells, four react with footprints, and eight with two of the extracted footprint proteins, which are therefore classified as glycoproteins. Sfp-290 appears to bear mostly N-linked oligosaccharides and Sfp-210 principally O-linked oligosaccharides. The outer chains of both glycoproteins enclose galactose, N-acetylgalactosamine, fucose, and sialic acid residues. Another part of the carbohydrate fraction of the footprints would be in the form of larger molecules, such as sialylated proteoglycans. These two types of glycoconjugates are presumably key components of the sea star temporary adhesive providing both cohesive and adhesive contributions through electrostatic interactions by the polar and hydrogen-bonding functional groups of their glycan chains.