Volume 88 Issue 10 | p. 36 | Concentrates
Issue Date: March 8, 2010

Mussels Cling With Irod-Clad Complexes

Iron-dopa crosslinks give byssal thread cuticles hardness and extensibility
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: mussel, dopa, iron, cuticle

In the rough-and-tumble ocean environment, mussels sure show some muscle. Despite crashing waves, these mighty mollusks manage to stay put, thanks to the energy-dissipating byssal threads they use to lash themselves to rocks and other surfaces. Much of these threads’ staying power comes from their outer cuticle, a biological polymer that’s hard and resists abrasion. Now, a team led by Matthew J. Harrington of Max Planck Institute, in Potsdam, Germany, has used in . . .

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