Identification of settlement cues for marine fouling organisms opens up new strategies and methods for biofouling prevention, and enables the development of more effective antifouling materials. To this end, the settlement behaviour of zoospores of the green alga Ulva linza onto cationic oligopeptide self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) has been investigated. The spores interact strongly with lysine- and arginine-rich SAMs, and their settlement appears to be stimulated by these surfaces. Of particular interest is an arginine-rich oligopeptide, which is effective in attracting spores to the surface, but in a way which leaves a large fraction of the settled spores attached to the surface in an anomalous fashion. These 'pseudo-settled' spores are relatively easily detached from the surface and do not undergo the full range of cellular responses associated with normal commitment to settlement. This is a hitherto undocumented mode of settlement, and surface dilution of the arginine-rich peptide with a neutral triglycine peptide demonstrates that both normal and anomalous settlement is proportional to the surface density of the arginine-rich peptide. The settlement experiments are complemented with physical studies of the oligopeptide SAMs, before and after extended immersion in artificial seawater, using infrared spectroscopy, null ellipsometry and contact angle measurements.
- cationic peptides
- self-assembled monolayers