Secretions of several marine invertebrates may gain adhesive and cohesive qualities in part via phosphorylation of certain proteins.

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"Protein phosphorylation is an important regulator of both cellular and extracellular events. Recently, protein phosphorylation has also emerged as an important process in biological adhesives. During the last decade, Herbert Waite and his group have indeed characterized several polyphosphoproteins from the adhesive secretions of two different marine organisms, mussels and tube-building worms. This suggests the possibility that polyphosphoproteins could be important components of several bioadhesives and may, therefore, be widely distributed throughout the animal kingdomThese findings bring to three the number of animal groups in which adhesive processes involve polyphosphoproteins and raise interesting questions about the convergent evolution of these adhesives.

"In the marine environment, attachment mechanisms developed by animals usually rely on highly viscous or solid adhesive secretions, which all contain specialized proteins. Functional convergences are noted among marine animals, particularly in terms of the type of adhesion used: permanent, temporary, or instantaneous. Although marine adhesive proteins from non-related organisms do not present any sequence homologies, molecular convergences have been recognized, and some adhesive motifs have been found to be shared by phylogenetically different animals. DOPA has long been known as one such motif. Now, another modified amino acid, phosphoserine (pSer), is emerging as an important motif in biological adhesives. Indeed, our findings bring the number of polyphosphoprotein-containing marine adhesives to three. The occurrence of high levels of pSer in adhesive systems from totally unrelated animals, which moreover use different types of adhesion, raise questions about the convergent evolution of these adhesives." (Flammang et al. 2009:447, 462-3)

Journal article
Polyphosphoprotein-Containing Marine AdhesivesThe Journal of AdhesionAugust 14, 2009
Patrick Flammang, Aurélie Lambert, Philippe Bailly, Elise Hennebert

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