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The Role of Protein as a Deformation Controller in Cellulose Tissue

[+] Author Affiliations
Yoko Kato

Tohoku Gakuin University, Tagajo, Miyagi, Japan

Paper No. IMECE2012-89313, pp. 607-613; 7 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 2: Biomedical and Biotechnology
  • Houston, Texas, USA, November 9–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4518-9
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


The tunic of Halocynthia roretzi is composed of cellulose Iβ, mostly in crystalline form. It was recently revealed that the tunic can actively deform in response to mechanical stimuli and acetylcholine and that the tunic has F-actin, elastic fibers, acetylcholinesterase, and neurofilaments, which are involved in this process. Most of the hemocytes in the tunic secrete an enzyme whose substrate is the same as that of α-chymotrypsin; however, the enzyme’s role has not yet been determined. In this study, it was hypothesized that the enzyme hydrolyzes the protein in the tunic to induce tunic deformation. The results show that administration of α-chymotrypsin results in deformation of the tunic in an inward direction. Tunic deformation can be induced by the secretion of hemocytes due to greater hydrolysis of protein in the inner rather than outer regions. The deformation pattern is the same as that induced by both mechanical stimuli and acetylcholine. Moreover, stimulation with an electrical field (3.4 × 102 V/m), which is too weak to deform cellulose, still causes tunic deformation, indicating involvement of the nervous system. These characteristics will be helpful for the design of an active composite material containing cellulose.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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