Moisture is the nemesis of strong polymer adhesion to metals and minerals. Most engineered adhesive polymers require extensive prior surface cleaning, drying, and sometimes even chemical modification for effective adhesion to polar surfaces. Such surface preparation is difficult in vivo since biomineralized tissues and implant material surfaces are necessarily hydrated within the body. Various marine organisms have evolved highly effective adhesive strategies for wet surfaces. The broad goal of this proposal is to obtain mechanistic information about marine adhesion in order to translate it into effective applications for restoration and repair of hard tissues. While the discovery of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (Dopa)-protein involvement in adhesion has already inspired several new biomedical materials, Dopa is not the only bioinspired theme.
The specific aims here are to determine using mass spectrometry whether and to what extent phosphoserine and 4-hydroxyarginine are linked to mussel adhesion on different surfaces, characterize the specific protein-protein interactions during adhesive cross-linking, and to explore how factors such as mass, primary sequence, and side- chain functionalization influence the coating or bridging behavior of mfp-1 on surfaces such as titanium and hydroxyapatite using the surface forces apparatus. Bio-inspired adhesives and sealants are much needed in dentistry and orthopedics not just to improve the strength and durability of bonding to hard tissues, but also to emancipate the present technology, particularly in dentistry, from a reliance on highly reactive and toxic organic formulations.

Public Health Relevance

In dental and biomedical restorations, water is the nemesis of true adhesion between solid surfaces and polymers. The strong underwater adhesion of marine organisms such as mussels is based on an adaptive set of molecular and biophysical properties that will be systematically translated into medically relevant strategies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Biomaterials and Biointerfaces Study Section (BMBI)
Program Officer
Drummond, James
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Santa Barbara
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Santa Barbara
United States
Zip Code
Kang, Taegon; Banquy, Xavier; Heo, Jinhwa et al. (2016) Mussel-Inspired Anchoring of Polymer Loops That Provide Superior Surface Lubrication and Antifouling Properties. ACS Nano 10:930-7
Wei, Wei; Petrone, Luigi; Tan, YerPeng et al. (2016) An Underwater Surface-Drying Peptide Inspired by a Mussel Adhesive Protein. Adv Funct Mater 26:3496-3507
Levine, Zachary A; Rapp, Michael V; Wei, Wei et al. (2016) Surface force measurements and simulations of mussel-derived peptide adhesives on wet organic surfaces. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113:4332-7
Mirshafian, Razieh; Wei, Wei; Israelachvili, Jacob N et al. (2016) α,β-Dehydro-Dopa: A Hidden Participant in Mussel Adhesion. Biochemistry 55:743-50
Nicklisch, Sascha C T; Spahn, Jamie E; Zhou, Hongjun et al. (2016) Redox Capacity of an Extracellular Matrix Protein Associated with Adhesion in Mytilus californianus. Biochemistry 55:2022-30
Zhao, Qiang; Lee, Dong Woog; Ahn, B Kollbe et al. (2016) Underwater contact adhesion and microarchitecture in polyelectrolyte complexes actuated by solvent exchange. Nat Mater 15:407-12
Miller, Dusty Rose; Das, Saurabh; Huang, Kuo-Ying et al. (2015) Mussel Coating Protein-Derived Complex Coacervates Mitigate Frictional Surface Damage. ACS Biomater Sci Eng 1:1121-1128
Menyo, Matthew S; Hawker, Craig J; Waite, J Herbert (2015) Rate-Dependent Stiffness and Recovery in Interpenetrating Network Hydrogels through Sacrificial Metal Coordination Bonds. ACS Macro Lett 4:1200-1204
Das, Saurabh; Miller, Dusty R; Kaufman, Yair et al. (2015) Tough coating proteins: subtle sequence variation modulates cohesion. Biomacromolecules 16:1002-8
Wei, Wei; Yu, Jing; Gebbie, Matthew A et al. (2015) Bridging adhesion of mussel-inspired peptides: role of charge, chain length, and surface type. Langmuir 31:1105-12

Showing the most recent 10 out of 55 publications