Chitin is a functional component of the larval adhesive of barnacles

Barnacles are the only sessile crustaceans, and their larva, the cyprid, is supremely adapted for attachment to surfaces. Barnacles have a universal requirement for strong adhesion at the point of larval attachment. Selective pressure on the cyprid adhesive has been intense and led to evolution of a tenacious and versatile natural glue. Here we provide evidence that carbohydrate polymers in the form of chitin provide stability to the cyprid adhesive of Balanus amphitrite. Chitin was identified surrounding lipid-rich vesicles in the cyprid cement glands. The functional role of chitin was demonstrated via removal of freshly attached cyprids from surfaces using a chitinase. Proteomic analysis identified a single cement gland-specific protein via its association with chitin and localized this protein to the same vesicles. The role of chitin in cyprid adhesion raises intriguing questions about the evolution of barnacle adhesion, as well as providing a new target for antifouling technologies.

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How to cite
Aldred Nick, Chan Bin San, Emami Kaveh, Okano Keiju, Clare Anthony S., Mount Andrew S. (2020). Chitin is a functional component of the larval adhesive of barnacles. Communications Biology. 3 (1). 31 (8p.).,

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