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The glue produced by Drosophila melanogaster for pupa adhesion is universal

By Flora Borne, Alexander Kovalev, Stanislav Gorb, Virginie Courtier-Orgogozo

Posted 19 Dec 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2019.12.19.882761 (published DOI: 10.1242/jeb.220608)

Insects produce a variety of adhesives for diverse functions such as locomotion, mating, egg or pupal anchorage to substrates. Although they are important for the biology of organisms and potentially represent a great resource for developing new materials, insect adhesives have been little studied so far. Here, we examined the adhesive properties of the larval glue of D. melanogaster . This glue is made of glycosylated proteins and allows the animal to adhere to a substrate during metamorphosis. We designed an adhesion test to measure the pull-off force required to detach a pupa from a substrate and to evaluate the contact area covered by the glue. We found that the pupa adheres with similar forces to a variety of substrates (with distinct roughness, hydrophilic and charge properties). We obtained an average pull-off force of 217 mN, corresponding to 15 500 times the weight of a pupa and adhesion strength of 137-244 kPa. Surprisingly, the pull-off forces did not depend on the contact area. Our study paves the way for a genetic dissection of the components of Drosophila melanogaster glue that confer its particular adhesive properties. SUMMARY STATEMENT We designed an adhesion test to measure the pull-off force required to detach drosophila pupae and found that Drosophila glue adheres similarly to various substrates of different chemical properties. * PLL : Poly-L-Lysine PLL-PEG : Poly-L-Lysine-Polyethyl glycol SEM : Scanning Electron Microscopy

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