PloS one

Compounds from silicones alter enzyme activity in curing barnacle glue and model enzymes.

PMID 21379573


Attachment strength of fouling organisms on silicone coatings is low. We hypothesized that low attachment strength on silicones is, in part, due to the interaction of surface available components with natural glues. Components could alter curing of glues through bulk changes or specifically through altered enzyme activity. GC-MS analysis of silicone coatings showed surface-available siloxanes when the coatings were gently rubbed with a cotton swab for 15 seconds or given a 30 second rinse with methanol. Mixtures of compounds were found on 2 commercial and 8 model silicone coatings. The hypothesis that silicone components alter glue curing enzymes was tested with curing barnacle glue and with commercial enzymes. In our model, barnacle glue curing involves trypsin-like serine protease(s), which activate enzymes and structural proteins, and a transglutaminase which cross-links glue proteins. Transglutaminase activity was significantly altered upon exposure of curing glue from individual barnacles to silicone eluates. Activity of purified trypsin and, to a greater extent, transglutaminase was significantly altered by relevant concentrations of silicone polymer constituents. Surface-associated silicone compounds can disrupt glue curing and alter enzyme properties. Altered curing of natural glues has potential in fouling management.