FWF Project P30347 ” Bioadhesion of Flatworms” (2017-2021):
Flatworms attach and release rapidly on most surfaces. The adhesive organs are composed of three cell types – an adhesive gland cell, a releasing gland cell, and an anchor cell for structural stabilization. In the present project we aim identifying novel proteins that are involved in biological adhesion and release in 20 diverse flatworm species. The species are carefully selected to cover the major taxa of the Platyhelminthes and encompasses species from marine, brackish, and freshwater habitats and a parasitic species. We hypothesize that flatworms have evolved adaptations to meet the requirements for adhesion in the respective environment since an adhesive protein we identified in the flatworm Macrostomum lignano does not show any homologs in a transcriptomes of 61 other flatworm species. We will apply a toolbox including transcriptome sequencing, differential gene expression, Mass Spectrometry, In situ hybridization screening, Lectin staining and Lectin pull-down, specific antibodies, and light – and electron microscopy to study flatworm adhesion.