The genetics of sticky comparing glue sequences across multicellular eukaryota

January 3 – Febuary 28, 2021

Meeting Abstract

S8-7  Wed Jan 6 15:00 – 15:30  The genetics of sticky: comparing glue sequences across multicellular eukaryota Stellwagen, SD*; Burns, M; University of North Carolina at Charlotte; University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Many eukaryotic organisms produce glues that function in a variety of ways, including prey capture (e.g. spider webs and sundews), defense (e.g. centipedes and hagfish), and most commonly, substrate attachment (e.g. mussels and caddisflies). The biomechanics and proteomics of many of these glues have been investigated; however, the genetics of a number of eukaryotic glues is still vastly understudied. Many of the genes that encode for glue proteins are extremely large (5-40 kb coding sequences) and repetitive, and only recently has long read technology begun to allow a description of their complete lengths and organization. This presentation reviews what is known about the genetics of sticky glues from a diversity of organisms, and describes recent progress in sequencing the aqueous glue of two spider species, the house spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum and bolas spider Mastophora phrynosoma, which have different web morphologies. The glues from these species vary greatly in length and repeat organization, which likely reflects variable selection pressures experienced by targeting different prey and employing different web structural strategies. Understanding the similarities and differences of animal glue genes will pave the way for biomimetic adhesives produced for a variety of unique purposes.

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