• adhesion rescue;
  • antioxidant;
  • DOPA oxidation;
  • recombinant mussel protein;
  • thiol

Mytilus foot protein type 6 (mfp-6) is crucial for maintaining the reducing conditions needed for optimal wet adhesion in marine mussels. In this report, we describe the expression and production of a recombinant Mytilus californianus foot protein type 6 variant 1 (rmfp-6.1) fused with a hexahistidine affinity tag in Escherichia coli and its purification by affinity chromatography. Recombinant mfp-6 showed high purification yields of 5–6 mg L−1 cell culture and excellent solubility in low pH buffers that retard oxidation of its many thiol groups. Purified rmfp-6.1 protein showed high 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging activity when compared with vitamin C. Using the highly sensitive surface forces apparatus (SFA) technique to measure interfacial surface forces in the nano-Newton range, we show that rmfp-6.1 is also able to rescue the oxidation-dependent adhesion loss of mussel foot protein 3 (mfp-3) at pH 3. The adhesion rescue is related to a reduction of dopaquinone back to 3,4-dihydroxyphenyl-l-alanine in mfp-3, which is the reverse reaction observed during the detrimental enzymatic browning process in fruits and vegetables. Broadly viewed, rmfp-6.1 has potential as a versatile antioxidant for applications ranging from personal products to antispoilants for perishable foods during processing and storage. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 29:1587–1593, 2013