Morphology of the Adhesive System in the Sandcastle Worm, Phragmatopoma californica

Ching Shuen Wang, Kelli K. Svendsen, Russell J. Stewart

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The marine Sandcastle worm (P. californica) and related species live in composite mineralized tubes for shelter. They gather the mineral phase for free from the environment as sand grains and seashell bits with a crown of ciliated tentacles. The captured mineral particles are conveyed for inspection to the building organ — a pincer-shaped pair of dexterous palps in front of the mouth (Fig. 10.1). A dab of proteinaceous adhesive (Jensen and Morse, 1988) is secreted from the building organ onto suitable particles as they are pressed onto the end of the tube. The major protein components of the adhesive are a group of heterogeneous proteins, referred to as Pc3x, characterized by serial runs of 10–14 serine residues punctuated with single tyrosine residues (Zhao et al., 2005). Phosphorylation of more than 90% of the serines (Stewart et al., 2004) makes the Pc3 proteins polyacidic (pI
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiological Adhesive Systems: From Nature to Technical and Medical Application
EditorsJanek von Byern, Ingo Grunwald
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherSpringer Vienna
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)978-3-7091-0286-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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