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Metal-Mediated Cross-Linking in the Generation of a Marine-Mussel Adhesive


  • We thank Mark Nilges and Joshua Telser for experimental assistance and valuable discussions regarding EPR. J.J.W. appreciates the generous support provided by an Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation Young Investigator Award, a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship.


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Iron muscles into mussels: Marine mussels adhere to rocks with a protein-based glue. An iron complex is the key curing agent in this adhesive, and the iron center is coordinated by three DOPA residues (see picture). These studies present the first identified case in which a transition-metal center is integral to forming a noncrystalline biological material.