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The Internal Structure of the Velvet Worm Projectile Slime: A Small‐Angle Scattering Study

Baer, Alexander ; Hoffmann, Ingo ; Mahmoudi, Najet ; Poulhazan, Alexandre ; Harrington, Matthew J. ; Mayer, Georg ; Schmidt, Stephan ; Schneck, Emanuel (2023)
The Internal Structure of the Velvet Worm Projectile Slime: A Small‐Angle Scattering Study.
In: Small : nano micro, 2023, 19 (22)
doi: 10.26083/tuprints-00024295
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Item Type: Article
Type of entry: Secondary publication
Title: The Internal Structure of the Velvet Worm Projectile Slime: A Small‐Angle Scattering Study
Language: English
Date: 7 August 2023
Place of Publication: Darmstadt
Year of primary publication: 2023
Publisher: Wiley-VCH
Journal or Publication Title: Small : nano micro
Volume of the journal: 19
Issue Number: 22
Collation: 12 Seiten
DOI: 10.26083/tuprints-00024295
Corresponding Links:
Origin: Secondary publication DeepGreen

For prey capture and defense, velvet worms eject an adhesive slime which has been established as a model system for recyclable complex liquids. Triggered by mechanical agitation, the liquid bio‐adhesive rapidly transitions into solid fibers. In order to understand this mechanoresponsive behavior, here, the nanostructural organization of slime components are studied using small‐angle scattering with neutrons and X‐rays. The scattering intensities are successfully described with a three‐component model accounting for proteins of two dominant molecular weight fractions and nanoscale globules. In contrast to the previous assumption that high molecular weight proteins—the presumed building blocks of the fiber core—are contained in the nanoglobules, it is found that the majority of slime proteins exist freely in solution. Only less than 10% of the slime proteins are contained in the nanoglobules, necessitating a reassessment of their function in fiber formation. Comparing scattering data of slime re‐hydrated with light and heavy water reveals that the majority of lipids in slime are contained in the nanoglobules with homogeneous distribution. Vibrating mechanical impact under exclusion of air neither leads to formation of fibers nor alters the bulk structure of slime significantly, suggesting that interfacial phenomena and directional shearing are required for fiber formation.

Uncontrolled Keywords: biopolymers, mechano‐responsive, neutron scattering, onychophora, SDS‐PAGE, X‐ray scattering
Identification Number: 2300516
Status: Publisher's Version
URN: urn:nbn:de:tuda-tuprints-242958
Classification DDC: 500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik > 540 Chemie
500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik > 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Divisions: 05 Department of Physics > Institute for Condensed Matter Physics > Soft Matter Biophysics
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2023 08:17
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2023 08:02
SWORD Depositor: Deep Green
URI: https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/id/eprint/24295
PPN: 51222420X
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