Towards a reversible bio-inspired glue for medical application.


CALL: 2019

DOMAIN: BM - Life Sciences, Biology and Medicine


LAST NAME: Bertemes



HOST INSTITUTION: University of Innsbruck

KEYWORDS: flatworm, bioadhesion, planaria, glue, releasing factor

START: 2019-12-01

END: 2022-11-30


Submitted Abstract

All commercially available adhesives used in medical applications (e.g. Cyanoacrylates) exhibit several disadvantages with respect to toxicity, carcinogenesis, and adhesiveness in wet environment. Bioadhesion is defined as the concept of a biological surface adhering permanently or temporarily to natural or synthetic material. This phenomenon can be observed in a broad range of organisms, including bacteria, plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates. The adhesive system of flatworms comprises about one hundred adhesive organs, each consisting of three cells: one adhesive gland cell, one releasing gland cell and a modified epidermal cell giving structural support in the adhesive system termed ‘anchor cell’. With this system, they can quickly and voluntarily attach and release from any surface. In a recent paper, two large proteins related to temporary adhesion in flatworms (Mlig-ap1 and Mlig-ap2) were described in the marine, free-living flatworm Macrostomum lignano. However, we were unable to find homologues of Mlig-ap2 in the transcriptomes of 61 other flatworm species in a pilot study. This raises the assumption that flatworms evolved different proteins involved in temporary adhesion. In this PhD project, we want to find new lead sequences for temporary adhesion using the molecular pipeline that revealed the adhesive proteins in Macrostomum lignano. Based on preliminary data from a pilot study, the flatworm Theama mediterranea was found to be a highly suitable model organism for this project. The main goal is to develop and generate a biomimetic glue based on Theama mediterranea adhesive proteins. The properties of this glue will be characterised using biophysical methods and cell toxicity tests. Since biomimetic adhesives are considered to be non-toxic and non cancerogenic, yet bio-compatible and strong, an increasing need for these glues is still perceivable for diverse applications in medicine and industry.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies for analytics purposes. Find out more in our Privacy Statement