The biomaterial with the highest known tensile strength is a unique composite of chitin and goethite (α-FeO(OH)) present in teeth from the Common Limpet (Patella vulgata). A biomimetic based on limpet tooth, with corresponding high-performance mechanical properties, would be highly desirable. Here we report on the replication of limpet tooth developmental processes ex vivo, where isolated limpet tissue and cells were cultured to generate new biomimetic structures. Sequential changes in expression of genes related to chitin and iron processing were identified from transcriptomic analysis of each developmental stage of the radula, the organ from which limpet teeth originate. Iron and chitin metabolic processes in the radula were quantified and isolated cells grown in vitro. Bioinspired material was developed with electrospun chitin mineralised by conditioned media from cultured radula cells. Our results inform molecular processes behind the generation of limpet tooth and establish a platform for development of a novel biomimetic with comparable properties.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3753
Number of pages13
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2022


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