A single protein found in bloodworms performs six distinct functions critical for the formation and performance of the creature's jaw.


Bloodworms are small, segmented worms that get their name from the fact that they often appear red due to the presence of hemoglobin in their bodies. They are found in shallow marine water, and are a popular bait for fishing.

They use four fang-like jaws to latch onto prey and deliver venom.


The Strategy

The jaws of bloodworms contain a called multi-tasking protein (MTP), which is responsible for several different functions in their construction. It binds to copper, enables droplets to form, converts Dopa to melanin, and integrates the copper and melanin into an ultra strong composite material.

The Potential

The ability of MTP to perform so many different functions critical to the formation and performance of the bloodworm jaw is a remarkable example of the versatility of proteins. This could have potential applications in the development of new materials and nanotechnology.

Last Updated December 19, 2022