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  Gradients of orientation, composition and hydration of proteins for efficient light collection by the cornea of the horseshoe crab

Späker, O., Taylor, G., Wilts, B., Slabý, T., Abdel-Rahman, M. A. K., Scoppola, E., et al. (2022). Gradients of orientation, composition and hydration of proteins for efficient light collection by the cornea of the horseshoe crab. bioRxiv beta: the preprint server for biology, 2022.02.21.481013. doi:10.1101/2022.02.21.481013.

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Späker, Oliver1, Author              
Taylor, Gavin, Author
Wilts, Bodo, Author
Slabý, Tomáš, Author
Abdel-Rahman, Mohamed Ashraf Khalil, Author
Scoppola, Ernesto1, Author              
Schmitt, Clemens N. Z.2, Author              
Sztucki, Michael, Author
Liu, Jiliang, Author
Bertinetti, Luca, Author
Wagermaier, Wolfgang1, Author              
Scholtz, Gerhard, Author
Fratzl, Peter3, Author              
Politi, Yael, Author
Affiliations:
1Wolfgang Wagermaier, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society, ou_1863296              
2Shahrouz Amini, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society, ou_3217681              
3Peter Fratzl, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society, ou_1863294              

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 Abstract: The lateral eyes of the horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus, are the largest compound eyes within recent Arthropoda. While this visual system has been extensively described before, the precise mechanism allowing vision has remained controversial. Correlating quantitative refractive index (RI) mapping and detailed structural analysis, we demonstrate how gradients of RI in the cornea result from the hierarchical organization of chitin-protein fibers, heterogeneity in protein composition and bromine doping, as well as spatial variation in water content. Combining the realistic cornea structure and measured RI gradients with full-wave optical modelling and ray-tracing approaches, we show that the light collection mechanism depends on both refraction-based graded index (GRIN) optics and total internal reflection. The optical properties of the cornea are governed by different mechanisms at different hierarchical levels, demonstrating the remarkable versatility of arthropod cuticle.One-sentence summary Structural hierarchy and protein hydration determine the optical performance of the cornea of L. polyphemus.Competing Interest StatementTS and MAKAR are employed by TELIGHT. All other authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2022-02-212022
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1101/2022.02.21.481013
PMID: 0628
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Title: bioRxiv beta : the preprint server for biology
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Cold Spring Harbor : Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: 2022.02.21.481013 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ZDB: 2766415-6