Progress in molecular and subcellular biology, 39:201-20, 1, 2005. Paper Website abstract bibtex
Adhesion is a way of life in echinoderms. Indeed, all the species belonging to this phylum use adhesive secretions extensively for various vital functions. According to the species or to the developmental stage considered, different adhesive systems may be recognized. (1) The tube feet or podia are organs involved in attachment to the substratum, locomotion, feeding or burrowing. Their temporary adhesion relies on a duo-gland adhesive system resorting to both adhesive and de-adhesive secretions. (2) The larval adhesive organs allow temporary attachment of larvae during settlement and strong fixation during metamorphosis. (3) The Cuvierian tubules are sticky defence organs occurring in some holothuroid species. Their efficacy is based on the instantaneous release of a quick-setting adhesive. All these systems rely on different types of adhesion and therefore differ in the way they operate, in their structure and in the composition of their adhesive. In addition to fundamental interests in echinoderm bioadhesives, a substantial impetus behind understanding these adhesives are the potential technological applications that can be derived from their knowledge. These applications cover two broad fields of applied research: design of water-resistant adhesives and development of new antifouling strategies. In this context, echinoderm adhesives could offer novel features or performance characteristics for biotechnological applications. For example, the rapidly attaching adhesive of Cuvierian tubules, the releasable adhesive of tube feet or the powerful adhesive of asteroid larvae could each be useful to address particular bioadhesion problems.