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Sample records for major ampullate silk

  1. Plasticity in major ampullate silk production in relation to spider phylogeny and ecology.

    PubMed

    Boutry, Cecilia; Řezáč, Milan; Blackledge, Todd Alan

    2011-01-01

    Spider major ampullate silk is a high-performance biomaterial that has received much attention. However, most studies ignore plasticity in silk properties. A better understanding of silk plasticity could clarify the relative importance of chemical composition versus processing of silk dope for silk properties. It could also provide insight into how control of silk properties relates to spider ecology and silk uses. We compared silk plasticity (defined as variation in the properties of silk spun by a spider under different conditions) between three spider clades in relation to their anatomy and silk biochemistry. We found that silk plasticity exists in RTA clade and orbicularian spiders, two clades that differ in their silk biochemistry. Orbiculariae seem less dependent on external spinning conditions. They probably use a valve in their spinning duct to control friction forces and speed during spinning. Our results suggest that plasticity results from different processing of the silk dope in the spinning duct. Orbicularian spiders seem to display better control of silk properties, perhaps in relation to their more complex spinning duct valve. PMID:21818328

  2. Structural characterization of the major ampullate silk spidroin-2 protein produced by the spider Nephila clavipes.

    PubMed

    Santos-Pinto, José Roberto Aparecido Dos; Arcuri, Helen Andrade; Lubec, Gert; Palma, Mario Sergio

    2016-10-01

    Major ampullate spidroin-2 (MaSp2) is one of the most important spider silk protein, but up to now no information is available regarding the post-translational modifications (PTMs) of this protein. A gel-based mass spectrometry strategy using collision-induced dissociation (CID) and electron-transfer dissociation (ETD) fragmentation methods was used to sequence Nephila clavipes MaSp2 (including the N- and C-terminal non-repetitive domains, and the great part of the central core), and to assign a series of post-translational modifications (PTMs) on to the MaSp2 sequence. Two forms of this protein were identified, with different levels of phosphorylation along their sequences. These findings provide a basis for understanding mechanoelastic properties and can support the future design of recombinant spider silk proteins for biotechnological applications. PMID:27208434

  3. Major Ampullate Spider Silk with Indistinguishable Spidroin Dope Conformations Leads to Different Fiber Molecular Structures.

    PubMed

    Dionne, Justine; Lefèvre, Thierry; Auger, Michèle

    2016-01-01

    To plentifully benefit from its properties (mechanical, optical, biological) and its potential to manufacture green materials, the structure of spider silk has to be known accurately. To this aim, the major ampullate (MA) silk of Araneus diadematus (AD) and Nephila clavipes (NC) has been compared quantitatively in the liquid and fiber states using Raman spectromicroscopy. The data show that the spidroin conformations of the two dopes are indistinguishable despite their specific amino acid composition. This result suggests that GlyGlyX and GlyProGlyXX amino acid motifs (X = Leu, Glu, Tyr, Ser, etc.) are conformationally equivalent due to the chain flexibility in the aqueous environment. Species-related sequence specificity is expressed more extensively in the fiber: the β-sheet content is lower and width of the orientation distribution of the carbonyl groups is broader for AD (29% and 58°, respectively) as compared to NC (37% and 51°, respectively). β-Sheet content values are close to the proportion of polyalanine segments, suggesting that β-sheet formation is mainly dictated by the spidroin sequence. The extent of molecular alignment seems to be related to the presence of proline (Pro) that may decrease conformational flexibility and inhibit chain extension and alignment upon drawing. It appears that besides the presence of Pro, secondary structure and molecular orientation contribute to the different mechanical properties of MA threads. PMID:27548146

  4. Major Ampullate Spider Silk with Indistinguishable Spidroin Dope Conformations Leads to Different Fiber Molecular Structures

    PubMed Central

    Dionne, Justine; Lefèvre, Thierry; Auger, Michèle

    2016-01-01

    To plentifully benefit from its properties (mechanical, optical, biological) and its potential to manufacture green materials, the structure of spider silk has to be known accurately. To this aim, the major ampullate (MA) silk of Araneus diadematus (AD) and Nephila clavipes (NC) has been compared quantitatively in the liquid and fiber states using Raman spectromicroscopy. The data show that the spidroin conformations of the two dopes are indistinguishable despite their specific amino acid composition. This result suggests that GlyGlyX and GlyProGlyXX amino acid motifs (X = Leu, Glu, Tyr, Ser, etc.) are conformationally equivalent due to the chain flexibility in the aqueous environment. Species-related sequence specificity is expressed more extensively in the fiber: the β-sheet content is lower and width of the orientation distribution of the carbonyl groups is broader for AD (29% and 58°, respectively) as compared to NC (37% and 51°, respectively). β-Sheet content values are close to the proportion of polyalanine segments, suggesting that β-sheet formation is mainly dictated by the spidroin sequence. The extent of molecular alignment seems to be related to the presence of proline (Pro) that may decrease conformational flexibility and inhibit chain extension and alignment upon drawing. It appears that besides the presence of Pro, secondary structure and molecular orientation contribute to the different mechanical properties of MA threads. PMID:27548146

  5. The molecular structures of major ampullate silk proteins of the wasp spider, Argiope bruennichi: a second blueprint for synthesizing de novo silk.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yang; Zhao, Ai-Chun; Sima, Yang-Hu; Lu, Cheng; Xiang, Zhong-Huai; Nakagaki, Masao

    2013-03-01

    The dragline silk of orb-weaving spiders possesses extremely high tensile strength and elasticity. To date, full-length sequences of only two genes encoding major ampullate silk protein (MaSp) in Latrodectus hesperus have been determined. In order to further understand this gene family, we utilized in this study a variety of strategies to isolate full-length MaSp1 and MaSp2 cDNAs in the wasp spider Argiope bruennichi. A. bruennichi MaSp1 and MaSp2 are primarily composed of remarkably homogeneous ensemble repeats containing several complex motifs, and both have highly conserved C-termini and N-termini. Two novel amino acid motifs, GGF and SGR, were found in MaSp1 and MaSp2, respectively. Amino acid composition analysis of silk, luminal contents and predicted sequences indicates that MaSp1 and MaSp2 are two major components of major ampullate glands and that the ratio of MaSp1 to MaSp2 is approximately 3:2 in dragline silk. Furthermore, both the MaSp1:MaSp2 ratio and the conserved termini are closely linked with the production of high quality synthetic fibers. Our results make an important contribution to our understanding of major ampullate silk protein structure and provide a second blueprint for creating new composite silk which mimics natural spider dragline silk. PMID:23262065

  6. X-ray diffraction study of nanocrystalline and amorphous structure within major and minor ampullate dragline spider silks

    SciTech Connect

    Sampath, Sujatha; Isdebski, Thomas; Jenkins, Janelle E.; Ayon, Joel V.; Henning, Robert W.; Orgel, Joseph P.R.O.; Antipoa, Olga; Yarger, Jeffery L.

    2012-07-25

    Synchrotron X-ray micro-diffraction experiments were carried out on Nephila clavipes (NC) and Argiope aurantia (AA) major (MA) and minor ampullate (MiA) fibers that make up dragline spider silk. The diffraction patterns show a semi-crystalline structure with {beta}-poly(L-alanine) nanocrystallites embedded in a partially oriented amorphous matrix. A superlattice reflection 'S' diffraction ring is observed, which corresponds to a crystalline component larger in size and is poorly oriented, when compared to the {beta}-poly(L-alanine) nanocrystallites that are commonly observed in dragline spider silks. Crystallite size, crystallinity and orientation about the fiber axis have been determined from the wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) patterns. In both NC and AA, the MiA silks are found to be more highly crystalline, when compared with the corresponding MA silks. Detailed analysis on the amorphous matrix shows considerable differences in the degree of order of the oriented amorphous component between the different silks studied and may play a crucial role in determining the mechanical properties of the silks.

  7. Conserved C-termini of Spidroins are secreted by the major ampullate glands and retained in the silk thread.

    PubMed

    Sponner, Alexander; Unger, Eberhard; Grosse, Frank; Weisshart, Klaus

    2004-01-01

    The C-termini of Spidroins produced in the major and minor ampullate glands of spiders are highly conserved. Despite this conservation, no corresponding peptides have been identified in the spinning dopes or the silk filaments so far. To prove their presence or absence, polyclonal antibodies derived against fusion proteins containing the conserved C-terminal regions of both Spidroin 1 and 2 from the spider Nephila clavipes were generated. The antibodies reacted with high molecular weight polypeptides of the corresponding gland extracts and solubilized major ampullate filament and in addition to filament cross-sections. This demonstrates the existence of C-terminal specific peptides in the spinning dope and the mature Spidroins. Both the fusion proteins as well as the proteins contained within the gland lumen showed a reduction in their size under reducing conditions indicating the presence of disulfide bonds. Their high conservation and the biochemical data suggest crucial roles the C-termini play in the formation and/or structure of the corresponding silk filaments. PMID:15132670

  8. Resonance assignment of an engineered amino-terminal domain of a major ampullate spider silk with neutralized charge cluster.

    PubMed

    Schaal, Daniel; Bauer, Joschka; Schweimer, Kristian; Scheibel, Thomas; Rösch, Paul; Schwarzinger, Stephan

    2016-04-01

    Spider dragline fibers are predominantly made out of the major ampullate spidroins (MaSp) 1 and 2. The assembly of dissolved spidroin into a stable fiber is highly controlled for example by dimerization of its amino-terminal domain (NRN) upon acidification, as well as removal of sodium chloride along the spinning duct. Clustered residues D39, E76 and E81 are the most highly conserved residues of the five-helix bundle, and they are hypothesized to be key residues for switching between a monomeric and a dimeric conformation. Simultaneous replacement of these residues by their non-titratable analogues results in variant D39N/E76Q/E81Q, which is supposed to fold into an intermediate conformation between that of the monomeric and the dimeric state at neutral pH. Here we report the resonance assignment of Latrodectus hesperus NRN variant D39N/E76Q/E81Q at pH 7.2 obtained by high-resolution triple resonance NMR spectroscopy. PMID:26892754

  9. The embryonic origin of the ampullate silk glands of the spider Cupiennius salei.

    PubMed

    Hilbrant, Maarten; Damen, Wim G M

    2015-05-01

    Silk production in spiders is considered a key innovation, and to have been vital for the diversification of the clade. The evolutionary origin of the organs involved in spider silk production, however, and in particular of the silk glands, is poorly understood. Homologies have been proposed between these and other glands found in arachnids, but lacking knowledge of the embryonic development of spider silk glands hampers an evaluation of hypotheses. This study focuses on the embryonic origin of the largest silk glands of the spider Cupiennius salei, the major and minor ampullate glands. We show how the ampullate glands originate from ectodermal invaginations on the embryonic spinneret limb buds, in relation to morphogenesis of these buds. Moreover, we visualize the subsequent growth of the ampullate glands in sections of the early postembryonic stages. The invaginations are shown to correlate with expression of the proneural gene CsASH2, which is remarkable since it has been proposed that spider silk glands and their nozzles originate from sensory bristles. Hence, by confirming the ectodermal origin of spider silk glands, and by describing the (post-)embryonic morphogenesis of the ampullate glands, this work provides a starting point for further investigating into the genetic program that underlies their development. PMID:25882741

  10. Proteomic Evidence for Components of Spider Silk Synthesis from Black Widow Silk Glands and Fibers.

    PubMed

    Chaw, Ro Crystal; Correa-Garhwal, Sandra M; Clarke, Thomas H; Ayoub, Nadia A; Hayashi, Cheryl Y

    2015-10-01

    Spider silk research has largely focused on spidroins, proteins that are the primary components of spider silk fibers. Although a number of spidroins have been characterized, other types of proteins associated with silk synthesis are virtually unknown. Previous analyses of tissue-specific RNA-seq libraries identified 647 predicted genes that were differentially expressed in silk glands of the Western black widow, Latrodectus hesperus. Only ∼5% of these silk-gland specific transcripts (SSTs) encode spidroins; although the remaining predicted genes presumably encode other proteins associated with silk production, this is mostly unverified. Here, we used proteomic analysis of multiple silk glands and dragline silk fiber to investigate the translation of the differentially expressed genes. We find 48 proteins encoded by the differentially expressed transcripts in L. hesperus major ampullate, minor ampullate, and tubuliform silk glands and detect 17 SST encoded proteins in major ampullate silk fibers. The observed proteins include known silk-related proteins, but most are uncharacterized, with no annotation. These unannotated proteins likely include novel silk-associated proteins. Major and minor ampullate glands have the highest overlap of identified proteins, consistent with their shared, distinctive ampullate shape and the overlapping functions of major and minor ampullate silks. Our study substantiates and prioritizes predictions from differential expression analysis of spider silk gland transcriptomes. PMID:26302244

  11. Crystal Structure of the Nephila clavipes Major Ampullate Spidroin 1A N-terminal Domain Reveals Plasticity at the Dimer Interface.

    PubMed

    Atkison, James H; Parnham, Stuart; Marcotte, William R; Olsen, Shaun K

    2016-09-01

    Spider dragline silk is a natural polymer harboring unique physical and biochemical properties that make it an ideal biomaterial. Artificial silk production requires an understanding of the in vivo mechanisms spiders use to convert soluble proteins, called spidroins, into insoluble fibers. Controlled dimerization of the spidroin N-terminal domain (NTD) is crucial to this process. Here, we report the crystal structure of the Nephila clavipes major ampullate spidroin NTD dimer. Comparison of our N. clavipes NTD structure with previously determined Euprosthenops australis NTD structures reveals subtle conformational alterations that lead to differences in how the subunits are arranged at the dimer interface. We observe a subset of contacts that are specific to each ortholog, as well as a substantial increase in asymmetry in the interactions observed at the N. clavipes NTD dimer interface. These asymmetric interactions include novel intermolecular salt bridges that provide new insights into the mechanism of NTD dimerization. We also observe a unique intramolecular "handshake" interaction between two conserved acidic residues that our data suggest adds an additional layer of complexity to the pH-sensitive relay mechanism for NTD dimerization. The results of a panel of tryptophan fluorescence dimerization assays probing the importance of these interactions support our structural observations. Based on our findings, we propose that conformational selectivity and plasticity at the NTD dimer interface play a role in the pH-dependent transition of the NTD from monomer to stably associated dimer as the spidroin progresses through the silk extrusion duct. PMID:27445329

  12. Electrostatics analysis of the mutational and pH effects of the N-terminal domain self-association of the major ampullate spidroin.

    PubMed

    Barroso da Silva, Fernando Luís; Pasquali, Samuela; Derreumaux, Philippe; Dias, Luis Gustavo

    2016-07-01

    Spider silk is a fascinating material combining mechanical properties such as maximum strength and high toughness comparable or better than man-made materials, with biocompatible degradability characteristics. Experimental measurements have shown that pH triggers the dimer formation of the N-terminal domain (NTD) of the major ampullate spidroin 1 (MaSp 1). A coarse-grained model accounting for electrostatics, van der Waals and pH-dependent charge-fluctuation interactions, by means of Monte Carlo simulations, gave us a more comprehensive view of the NTD dimerization process. A detailed analysis of the electrostatic properties and free energy derivatives for the NTD homoassociation was carried out at different pH values and salt concentrations for the protein wild type and for several mutants. We observed an enhancement of dipole-dipole interactions at pH 6 due to the ionization of key amino acids, a process identified as the main driving force for dimerization. Analytical estimates based on the DVLO theory framework corroborate our findings. Molecular dynamics simulations using the OPEP coarse-grained force field for proteins show that the mutant E17Q is subject to larger structural fluctuations when compared to the wild type. Estimates of the association rate constants for this mutant were evaluated by the Debye-Smoluchowski theory and are in agreement with the experimental data when thermally relaxed structures are used instead of the crystallographic data. Our results can contribute to the design of new mutants with specific association properties. PMID:27250106

  13. Diverse formulas for spider dragline fibers demonstrated by molecular and mechanical characterization of spitting spider silk.

    PubMed

    Correa-Garhwal, Sandra M; Garb, Jessica E

    2014-12-01

    Spider silks have outstanding mechanical properties. Most research has focused on dragline silk proteins (major ampullate spidroins, MaSps) from orb-weaving spiders. Using silk gland expression libraries from the haplogyne spider Scytodes thoracica, we discovered two novel spidroins (S. thoracica fibroin 1 and 2). The amino acid composition of S. thoracica silk glands and dragline fibers suggest that fibroin 1 is the major component of S. thoracica dragline silk. Fibroin 1 is dominated by glycine-alanine motifs, and lacks sequence motifs associated with orb-weaver MaSps. We hypothesize fibroin 2 is a piriform or aciniform silk protein, based on amino acid composition, spigot morphology, and phylogenetic analyses. S. thoracica's dragline silk is less tough than previously reported, but is still comparable to other dragline silks. Our analyses suggest that dragline silk proteins evolved multiple times. This demonstrates that spider dragline silk is more diverse than previously understood, providing alternative high performance silk designs. PMID:25340514

  14. Regenerated Spider Silk Possess Mechanical Properties of Super- and Cyclic Contraction in Response to Environmental Humidity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, Shan; Swaminathan, Ganesh; Evans, Samuel; Blackledge, Todd

    2013-06-01

    Major Ampullate (MA) spider silk is among the most impressive biomaterials due to its unparalleled mechanical properties, such as super-contraction and cyclic response to changes in humidity. Electro-spinning enables the generation of engineered silk fibers with controlled parameters and dimentions for various medical and commercial applications. However, their applications hinge on the ability to reproduce the mechanical properties such as a precise expansion-contraction response existed in natural silk fibers. Here, we successfully reproduced MA spider-silk fibers from solutions of natural MA silk proteins via electrospinning, which exhibit the super-contraction and cyclic response to humidity change in a manner mirroring the natural fibers.

  15. Structural hysteresis in dragline spider silks induced by supercontraction: an X-ray fiber micro-diffraction study

    SciTech Connect

    Sampath, Sujatha; Yarger, Jeffery L.

    2014-11-27

    Interaction with water causes shrinkage and significant changes in the structure of spider dragline silks, which has been referred to as supercontraction in the literature. Preferred orientation or alignment of protein chains with respect to the fiber axis is extensively changed during this supercontraction process. Synchrotron X-ray micro-fiber diffraction experiments have been performed on Nephila clavipes and Argiope aurantia major and minor ampullate dragline spider fibers in the native dry, contracted (by immersion in water) and restretched (from contracted) states. Changes in the orientation of β-sheet nanocrystallites and the oriented component of the amorphous network have been determined from wide-angle X-ray diffraction patterns. While both the crystalline and amorphous components lose preferred orientation on wetting with water, the nano-crystallites regain their orientation on wet-restretching, whereas the oriented amorphous components only partially regain their orientation. Dragline major ampullate silks in both the species contract more than their minor ampullate silks.

  16. Blueprint for a High-Performance Biomaterial: Full-Length Spider Dragline Silk Genes

    PubMed Central

    Ayoub, Nadia A.; Garb, Jessica E.; Tinghitella, Robin M.; Collin, Matthew A.; Hayashi, Cheryl Y.

    2007-01-01

    Spider dragline (major ampullate) silk outperforms virtually all other natural and manmade materials in terms of tensile strength and toughness. For this reason, the mass-production of artificial spider silks through transgenic technologies has been a major goal of biomimetics research. Although all known arthropod silk proteins are extremely large (>200 kiloDaltons), recombinant spider silks have been designed from short and incomplete cDNAs, the only available sequences. Here we describe the first full-length spider silk gene sequences and their flanking regions. These genes encode the MaSp1 and MaSp2 proteins that compose the black widow's high-performance dragline silk. Each gene includes a single enormous exon (>9000 base pairs) that translates into a highly repetitive polypeptide. Patterns of variation among sequence repeats at the amino acid and nucleotide levels indicate that the interaction of selection, intergenic recombination, and intragenic recombination governs the evolution of these highly unusual, modular proteins. Phylogenetic footprinting revealed putative regulatory elements in non-coding flanking sequences. Conservation of both upstream and downstream flanking sequences was especially striking between the two paralogous black widow major ampullate silk genes. Because these genes are co-expressed within the same silk gland, there may have been selection for similarity in regulatory regions. Our new data provide complete templates for synthesis of recombinant silk proteins that significantly improve the degree to which artificial silks mimic natural spider dragline fibers. PMID:17565367

  17. Sequential origin in the high performance properties of orb spider dragline silk

    PubMed Central

    Blackledge, Todd A.; Pérez-Rigueiro, José; Plaza, Gustavo R.; Perea, Belén; Navarro, Andrés; Guinea, Gustavo V.; Elices, Manuel

    2012-01-01

    Major ampullate (MA) dragline silk supports spider orb webs, combining strength and extensibility in the toughest biomaterial. MA silk evolved ~376 MYA and identifying how evolutionary changes in proteins influenced silk mechanics is crucial for biomimetics, but is hindered by high spinning plasticity. We use supercontraction to remove that variation and characterize MA silk across the spider phylogeny. We show that mechanical performance is conserved within, but divergent among, major lineages, evolving in correlation with discrete changes in proteins. Early MA silk tensile strength improved rapidly with the origin of GGX amino acid motifs and increased repetitiveness. Tensile strength then maximized in basal entelegyne spiders, ~230 MYA. Toughness subsequently improved through increased extensibility within orb spiders, coupled with the origin of a novel protein (MaSp2). Key changes in MA silk proteins therefore correlate with the sequential evolution high performance orb spider silk and could aid design of biomimetic fibers. PMID:23110251

  18. Sequential origin in the high performance properties of orb spider dragline silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blackledge, Todd A.; Pérez-Rigueiro, José; Plaza, Gustavo R.; Perea, Belén; Navarro, Andrés; Guinea, Gustavo V.; Elices, Manuel

    2012-10-01

    Major ampullate (MA) dragline silk supports spider orb webs, combining strength and extensibility in the toughest biomaterial. MA silk evolved ~376 MYA and identifying how evolutionary changes in proteins influenced silk mechanics is crucial for biomimetics, but is hindered by high spinning plasticity. We use supercontraction to remove that variation and characterize MA silk across the spider phylogeny. We show that mechanical performance is conserved within, but divergent among, major lineages, evolving in correlation with discrete changes in proteins. Early MA silk tensile strength improved rapidly with the origin of GGX amino acid motifs and increased repetitiveness. Tensile strength then maximized in basal entelegyne spiders, ~230 MYA. Toughness subsequently improved through increased extensibility within orb spiders, coupled with the origin of a novel protein (MaSp2). Key changes in MA silk proteins therefore correlate with the sequential evolution high performance orb spider silk and could aid design of biomimetic fibers.

  19. Post-secretion processing influences spider silk performance

    PubMed Central

    Blamires, Sean J.; Wu, Chung-Lin; Blackledge, Todd A.; Tso, I-Min

    2012-01-01

    Phenotypic variation facilitates adaptations to novel environments. Silk is an example of a highly variable biomaterial. The two-spidroin (MaSp) model suggests that spider major ampullate (MA) silk is composed of two proteins—MaSp1 predominately contains alanine and glycine and forms strength enhancing β-sheet crystals, while MaSp2 contains proline and forms elastic spirals. Nonetheless, mechanical properties can vary in spider silks without congruent amino acid compositional changes. We predicted that post-secretion processing causes variation in the mechanical performance of wild MA silk independent of protein composition or spinning speed across 10 species of spider. We used supercontraction to remove post-secretion effects and compared the mechanics of silk in this ‘ground state’ with wild native silks. Native silk mechanics varied less among species compared with ‘ground state’ silks. Variability in the mechanics of ‘ground state’ silks was associated with proline composition. However, variability in native silks did not. We attribute interspecific similarities in the mechanical properties of native silks, regardless of amino acid compositions, to glandular processes altering molecular alignment of the proteins prior to extrusion. Such post-secretion processing may enable MA silk to maintain functionality across environments, facilitating its function as a component of an insect-catching web. PMID:22628213

  20. Post-secretion processing influences spider silk performance.

    PubMed

    Blamires, Sean J; Wu, Chung-Lin; Blackledge, Todd A; Tso, I-Min

    2012-10-01

    Phenotypic variation facilitates adaptations to novel environments. Silk is an example of a highly variable biomaterial. The two-spidroin (MaSp) model suggests that spider major ampullate (MA) silk is composed of two proteins-MaSp1 predominately contains alanine and glycine and forms strength enhancing β-sheet crystals, while MaSp2 contains proline and forms elastic spirals. Nonetheless, mechanical properties can vary in spider silks without congruent amino acid compositional changes. We predicted that post-secretion processing causes variation in the mechanical performance of wild MA silk independent of protein composition or spinning speed across 10 species of spider. We used supercontraction to remove post-secretion effects and compared the mechanics of silk in this 'ground state' with wild native silks. Native silk mechanics varied less among species compared with 'ground state' silks. Variability in the mechanics of 'ground state' silks was associated with proline composition. However, variability in native silks did not. We attribute interspecific similarities in the mechanical properties of native silks, regardless of amino acid compositions, to glandular processes altering molecular alignment of the proteins prior to extrusion. Such post-secretion processing may enable MA silk to maintain functionality across environments, facilitating its function as a component of an insect-catching web. PMID:22628213

  1. Dynamic behaviour of silks: Nature's precision nanocomposites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drodge, D. R.; Mortimer, B.; Siviour, C. R.; Holland, C.

    2012-08-01

    Silk is often cited as a material worth imitating, due to its high strength and toughness. In order to produce a synthetic analogue, or enhanced natural version, the microstructural basis of these properties must be understood. Current understanding is that silk deforms through the detachment of nano-scale crystallites, in the manner of a damaged composite. This picture forms the basis for constitutive models, but validation data is limited to low strain-rates. Here we present a programme of research in which high-rate behaviour is studied through ballistic impact experiments. These have been applied to the silk of the Bombyx mori moth, as harvested from cocoons, and to the major ampullate thread of the golden orb weaver spider Nephila edulis. Longitudinal wave-speeds, and air drag coefficients, have been calculated for selected cases. Differences between the response of various silks and a similar synthetic fibre, nylon, are discussed, and future plans are presented.

  2. Material properties of evolutionary diverse spider silks described by variation in a single structural parameter

    PubMed Central

    Madurga, Rodrigo; Plaza, Gustavo R.; Blackledge, Todd A.; Guinea, Gustavo.V.; Elices, Manuel; Pérez-Rigueiro, José

    2016-01-01

    Spider major ampullate gland silks (MAS) vary greatly in material properties among species but, this variation is shown here to be confined to evolutionary shifts along a single universal performance trajectory. This reveals an underlying design principle that is maintained across large changes in both spider ecology and silk chemistry. Persistence of this design principle becomes apparent after the material properties are defined relative to the true alignment parameter, which describes the orientation and stretching of the protein chains in the silk fiber. Our results show that the mechanical behavior of all Entelegynae major ampullate silk fibers, under any conditions, are described by this single parameter that connects the sequential action of three deformation micromechanisms during stretching: stressing of protein-protein hydrogen bonds, rotation of the β-nanocrystals and growth of the ordered fraction. Conservation of these traits for over 230 million years is an indication of the optimal design of the material and gives valuable clues for the production of biomimetic counterparts based on major ampullate spider silk. PMID:26755434

  3. Material properties of evolutionary diverse spider silks described by variation in a single structural parameter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Madurga, Rodrigo; Plaza, Gustavo R.; Blackledge, Todd A.; Guinea, Gustavo. V.; Elices, Manuel; Pérez-Rigueiro, José

    2016-01-01

    Spider major ampullate gland silks (MAS) vary greatly in material properties among species but, this variation is shown here to be confined to evolutionary shifts along a single universal performance trajectory. This reveals an underlying design principle that is maintained across large changes in both spider ecology and silk chemistry. Persistence of this design principle becomes apparent after the material properties are defined relative to the true alignment parameter, which describes the orientation and stretching of the protein chains in the silk fiber. Our results show that the mechanical behavior of all Entelegynae major ampullate silk fibers, under any conditions, are described by this single parameter that connects the sequential action of three deformation micromechanisms during stretching: stressing of protein-protein hydrogen bonds, rotation of the β-nanocrystals and growth of the ordered fraction. Conservation of these traits for over 230 million years is an indication of the optimal design of the material and gives valuable clues for the production of biomimetic counterparts based on major ampullate spider silk.

  4. Material properties of evolutionary diverse spider silks described by variation in a single structural parameter.

    PubMed

    Madurga, Rodrigo; Plaza, Gustavo R; Blackledge, Todd A; Guinea, Gustavo V; Elices, Manuel; Pérez-Rigueiro, José

    2016-01-01

    Spider major ampullate gland silks (MAS) vary greatly in material properties among species but, this variation is shown here to be confined to evolutionary shifts along a single universal performance trajectory. This reveals an underlying design principle that is maintained across large changes in both spider ecology and silk chemistry. Persistence of this design principle becomes apparent after the material properties are defined relative to the true alignment parameter, which describes the orientation and stretching of the protein chains in the silk fiber. Our results show that the mechanical behavior of all Entelegynae major ampullate silk fibers, under any conditions, are described by this single parameter that connects the sequential action of three deformation micromechanisms during stretching: stressing of protein-protein hydrogen bonds, rotation of the β-nanocrystals and growth of the ordered fraction. Conservation of these traits for over 230 million years is an indication of the optimal design of the material and gives valuable clues for the production of biomimetic counterparts based on major ampullate spider silk. PMID:26755434

  5. Environmental conditions impinge on dragline silk protein composition.

    PubMed

    Guehrs, K-H; Schlott, B; Grosse, F; Weisshart, K

    2008-09-01

    The silk formed in the major ampullate (MA) gland of the orb weaving spider Nephila clavipes is composed of two silk fibroins, which are called major ampullate spidroins 1 (MaSp1) and 2 (MaSp2). Analysis of proteolytic peptides and reactivity to spidroin type specific antibodies indicated that MaSp2 constituted only a minor part in the spinning dope as well as in the spun filaments. Upon starvation, a change in the silk's characteristic features was observed that was concomitant of a decrease in the contribution of MaSp2. The silk became less elastic and stiffer, which will better tailor its usability for the safety line, albeit at the expense of its employment as the web frame threads. In addition, since MaSp2 production requires greater ATP consumption, such a shift in the protein ratio cuts down on the energy costs to produce the silk. From this change in protein composition the spider might therefore benefit twice, by synthesizing 'cheaper' silk that into the bargain has properties that potentially can better support foraging in times of food shortage. PMID:18828841

  6. Silkomics: Insight into the Silk Spinning Process of Spiders.

    PubMed

    Dos Santos-Pinto, José Roberto Aparecido; Garcia, Ana Maria Caviquioli; Arcuri, Helen Andrade; Esteves, Franciele Grego; Salles, Heliana Clara; Lubec, Gert; Palma, Mario Sergio

    2016-04-01

    The proteins from the silk-producing glands were identified using both a bottom-up gel-based proteomic approach as well as from a shotgun proteomic approach. Additionally, the relationship between the functions of identified proteins and the spinning process was studied. A total of 125 proteins were identified in the major ampullate, 101 in the flagelliform, 77 in the aggregate, 75 in the tubuliform, 68 in the minor ampullate, and 23 in aciniform glands. On the basis of the functional classification using Gene Ontology, these proteins were organized into seven different groups according to their general function: (i) web silk proteins-spidroins, (ii) proteins related to the folding/conformation of spidroins, (iii) proteins that protect silk proteins from oxidative stress, (iv) proteins involved in fibrillar preservation of silks in the web, (v) proteins related to ion transport into and out of the glands during silk fiber spinning, (vi) proteins involved in prey capture and pre-digestion, and (vii) housekeeping proteins from all of the glands. Thus, a general mechanism of action for the identified proteins in the silk-producing glands from the Nephila clavipes spider was proposed; the current results also indicate that the webs play an active role in prey capture. PMID:26923066

  7. Shear-induced rigidity in spider silk glands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koski, Kristie J.; McKiernan, Keri; Akhenblit, Paul; Yarger, Jeffery L.

    2012-09-01

    We measure the elastic stiffnesses of the concentrated viscous protein solution of the dehydrated Nephila clavipes major ampullate gland with Brillouin light scattering. The glandular material shows no rigidity but possesses a tensile stiffness similar to that of spider silk. We show, however, that with application of a simple static shear, the mechanical properties of the spider gland protein mixture can be altered irreversibly, lowering symmetry and enabling shear waves to be supported, thus, giving rise to rigidity and yielding elastic properties similar to those of the naturally spun (i.e., dynamically sheared) silk.

  8. Reproducing Natural Spider Silks' Copolymer Behavior in Synthetic Silk Mimics

    SciTech Connect

    An, Bo; Jenkins, Janelle E; Sampath, Sujatha; Holland, Gregory P; Hinman, Mike; Yarger, Jeffery L; Lewis, Randolph

    2012-10-30

    Dragline silk from orb-weaving spiders is a copolymer of two large proteins, major ampullate spidroin 1 (MaSp1) and 2 (MaSp2). The ratio of these proteins is known to have a large variation across different species of orb-weaving spiders. NMR results from gland material of two different species of spiders, N. clavipes and A. aurantia, indicates that MaSp1 proteins are more easily formed into β-sheet nanostructures, while MaSp2 proteins form random coil and helical structures. To test if this behavior of natural silk proteins could be reproduced by recombinantly produced spider silk mimic protein, recombinant MaSp1/MaSp2 mixed fibers as well as chimeric silk fibers from MaSp1 and MaSp2 sequences in a single protein were produced based on the variable ratio and conserved motifs of MaSp1 and MaSp2 in native silk fiber. Mechanical properties, solid-state NMR, and XRD results of tested synthetic fibers indicate the differing roles of MaSp1 and MaSp2 in the fiber and verify the importance of postspin stretching treatment in helping the fiber to form the proper spatial structure.

  9. Microdissection of Black Widow Spider Silk-producing Glands

    PubMed Central

    Hsia, Yang; Gnesa, Eric; Zhao, Liang; Franz, Andreas; Vierra, Craig

    2011-01-01

    Modern spiders spin high-performance silk fibers with a broad range of biological functions, including locomotion, prey capture and protection of developing offspring 1,2. Spiders accomplish these tasks by spinning several distinct fiber types that have diverse mechanical properties. Such specialization of fiber types has occurred through the evolution of different silk-producing glands, which function as small biofactories. These biofactories manufacture and store large quantities of silk proteins for fiber production. Through a complex series of biochemical events, these silk proteins are converted from a liquid into a solid material upon extrusion. Mechanical studies have demonstrated that spider silks are stronger than high-tensile steel 3. Analyses to understand the relationship between the structure and function of spider silk threads have revealed that spider silk consists largely of proteins, or fibroins, that have block repeats within their protein sequences 4. Common molecular signatures that contribute to the incredible tensile strength and extensibility of spider silks are being unraveled through the analyses of translated silk cDNAs. Given the extraordinary material properties of spider silks, research labs across the globe are racing to understand and mimic the spinning process to produce synthetic silk fibers for commercial, military and industrial applications. One of the main challenges to spinning artificial spider silk in the research lab involves a complete understanding of the biochemical processes that occur during extrusion of the fibers from the silk-producing glands. Here we present a method for the isolation of the seven different silk-producing glands from the cobweaving black widow spider, which includes the major and minor ampullate glands [manufactures dragline and scaffolding silk] 5,6, tubuliform [synthesizes egg case silk] 7,8, flagelliform [unknown function in cob-weavers], aggregate [makes glue silk], aciniform [synthesizes prey

  10. Full-length minor ampullate spidroin gene sequence.

    PubMed

    Chen, Gefei; Liu, Xiangqin; Zhang, Yunlong; Lin, Senzhu; Yang, Zijiang; Johansson, Jan; Rising, Anna; Meng, Qing

    2012-01-01

    Spider silk includes seven protein based fibers and glue-like substances produced by glands in the spider's abdomen. Minor ampullate silk is used to make the auxiliary spiral of the orb-web and also for wrapping prey, has a high tensile strength and does not supercontract in water. So far, only partial cDNA sequences have been obtained for minor ampullate spidroins (MiSps). Here we describe the first MiSp full-length gene sequence from the spider species Araneus ventricosus, using a multidimensional PCR approach. Comparative analysis of the sequence reveals regulatory elements, as well as unique spidroin gene and protein architecture including the presence of an unusually large intron. The spliced full-length transcript of MiSp gene is 5440 bp in size and encodes 1766 amino acid residues organized into conserved nonrepetitive N- and C-terminal domains and a central predominantly repetitive region composed of four units that are iterated in a non regular manner. The repeats are more conserved within A. ventricosus MiSp than compared to repeats from homologous proteins, and are interrupted by two nonrepetitive spacer regions, which have 100% identity even at the nucleotide level. PMID:23251707

  11. Full-Length Minor Ampullate Spidroin Gene Sequence

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Gefei; Liu, Xiangqin; Zhang, Yunlong; Lin, Senzhu; Yang, Zijiang; Johansson, Jan; Rising, Anna; Meng, Qing

    2012-01-01

    Spider silk includes seven protein based fibers and glue-like substances produced by glands in the spider's abdomen. Minor ampullate silk is used to make the auxiliary spiral of the orb-web and also for wrapping prey, has a high tensile strength and does not supercontract in water. So far, only partial cDNA sequences have been obtained for minor ampullate spidroins (MiSps). Here we describe the first MiSp full-length gene sequence from the spider species Araneus ventricosus, using a multidimensional PCR approach. Comparative analysis of the sequence reveals regulatory elements, as well as unique spidroin gene and protein architecture including the presence of an unusually large intron. The spliced full-length transcript of MiSp gene is 5440 bp in size and encodes 1766 amino acid residues organized into conserved nonrepetitive N- and C-terminal domains and a central predominantly repetitive region composed of four units that are iterated in a non regular manner. The repeats are more conserved within A. ventricosus MiSp than compared to repeats from homologous proteins, and are interrupted by two nonrepetitive spacer regions, which have 100% identity even at the nucleotide level. PMID:23251707

  12. Probing the Impact of Acidification on Spider Silk Assembly Kinetics.

    PubMed

    Xu, Dian; Guo, Chengchen; Holland, Gregory P

    2015-07-13

    Spiders utilize fine adjustment of the physicochemical conditions within its silk spinning system to regulate spidroin assembly into solid silk fibers with outstanding mechanical properties. However, the exact mechanism about which this occurs remains elusive and is still hotly debated. In this study, the effect of acidification on spider silk assembly was investigated on native spidroins from the major ampullate (MA) gland fluid excised from Latrodectus hesperus (Black Widow) spiders. Incubating the protein-rich MA silk gland fluid at acidic pH conditions results in the formation of silk fibers that are 10-100 μm in length and ∼2 μm in diameter as judged by optical and electron microscope methods. The in vitro spider silk assembly kinetics were monitored as a function of pH with a (13)C solid-state MAS NMR approach. The results confirm the importance of acidic pH in the spider silk self-assembly process with observation of a sigmoidal nucleation-elongation kinetic profile. The rates of nucleation and elongation as well as the percentage of β-sheet structure in the grown fibers depend on the pH. These results confirm the importance of an acidic pH gradient along the spinning duct for spider silk formation and provide a powerful spectroscopic approach to probe the kinetics of spider silk formation under various biochemical conditions. PMID:26030517

  13. Identification and dynamics of polyglycine II nanocrystals in Argiope trifasciata flagelliform silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perea, G. B.; Riekel, C.; Guinea, G. V.; Madurga, R.; Daza, R.; Burghammer, M.; Hayashi, C.; Elices, M.; Plaza, G. R.; Pérez-Rigueiro, J.

    2013-10-01

    Spider silks combine a significant number of desirable characteristics in one material, including large tensile strength and strain at breaking, biocompatibility, and the possibility of tailoring their properties. Major ampullate gland silk (MAS) is the most studied silk and their properties are explained by a double lattice of hydrogen bonds and elastomeric protein chains linked to polyalanine β-nanocrystals. However, many basic details regarding the relationship between composition, microstructure and properties in silks are still lacking. Here we show that this relationship can be traced in flagelliform silk (Flag) spun by Argiope trifasciata spiders after identifying a phase consisting of polyglycine II nanocrystals. The presence of this phase is consistent with the dominant presence of the -GGX- and -GPG- motifs in its sequence. In contrast to the passive role assigned to polyalanine nanocrystals in MAS, polyglycine II nanocrystals can undergo growing/collapse processes that contribute to increase toughness and justify the ability of Flag to supercontract.

  14. Spinning an elastic ribbon of spider silk.

    PubMed

    Knight, David P; Vollrath, Fritz

    2002-02-28

    The Sicarid spider Loxosceles laeta spins broad but very thin ribbons of elastic silk that it uses to form a retreat and to capture prey. A structural investigation into this spider's silk and spinning apparatus shows that these ribbons are spun from a gland homologous to the major ampullate gland of orb web spiders. The Loxosceles gland is constructed from the same basic parts (separate transverse zones in the gland, a duct and spigot) as other spider silk glands but construction details are highly specialized. These differences are thought to relate to different ways of spinning silk in the two groups of spiders. Loxosceles uses conventional die extrusion, feeding a liquid dope (spinning solution) to the slit-like die to form a flat ribbon, while orb web spiders use an extrusion process in which the silk dope is processed in an elongated duct to produce a cylindrical thread. This is achieved by the combination of an initial internal draw down, well inside the duct, and a final draw down, after the silk has left the spigot. The spinning mechanism in Loxosceles may be more ancestral. PMID:11911779

  15. Structure and post-translational modifications of the web silk protein spidroin-1 from Nephila spiders.

    PubMed

    dos Santos-Pinto, José Roberto Aparecido; Lamprecht, Günther; Chen, Wei-Qiang; Heo, Seok; Hardy, John George; Priewalder, Helga; Scheibel, Thomas Rainer; Palma, Mario Sergio; Lubec, Gert

    2014-06-13

    Spidroin-1 is one of the major ampullate silk proteins produced by spiders for use in the construction of the frame and radii of orb webs, and as a dragline to escape from predators. Only partial sequences of spidroin-1 produced by Nephila clavipes have been reported up to now, and there is no information on post-translational modifications (PTMs). A gel-based mass spectrometry strategy with ETD and CID fragmentation methods were used to sequence and determine the presence/location of any PTMs on the spidroin-1. Sequence coverage of 98.06%, 95.05%, and 98.37% were obtained for N. clavipes, Nephila edulis and for Nephila madagascariensis, respectively. Phosphorylation was the major PTM observed with 8 phosphorylation sites considered reliable on spidroin-1 produced by N. clavipes, 4 in N. madagascariensis and 2 for N. edulis. Dityrosine and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (formed by oxidation of the spidroin-1) were observed, although the mechanism by which they are formed (i.e. exposure to UV radiation or to peroxidases in the major ampullate silk gland) is uncertain. Herein we present structural information on the spidroin-1 produced by three different Nephila species; these findings may be valuable for understanding the physicochemical properties of the silk proteins and moreover, future designs of recombinantly produced spider silk proteins. Biotechnological significance The present investigation shows for the first time spidroin structure and post-translational modifications observed on the major ampullate silk spidroin-1. The many site specific phosphorylations (localized within the structural motifs) along with the probably photoinduction of hydroxylations may be relevant for scientists in material science, biology, biochemistry and environmental scientists. Up to now all the mechanical properties of the spidroin have been characterized without any consideration about the existence of PTMs in the sequence of spidroins. Thus, these findings for major ampullate silk

  16. Evidence of Decoupling Protein Structure from Spidroin Expression in Spider Dragline Silks.

    PubMed

    Blamires, Sean J; Kasumovic, Michael M; Tso, I-Min; Martens, Penny J; Hook, James M; Rawal, Aditya

    2016-01-01

    The exceptional strength and extensibility of spider dragline silk have been thought to be facilitated by two spidroins, major ampullate spidroin 1 (MaSp1) and major ampullate spidroin 2 (MaSp2), under the assumption that protein secondary structures are coupled with the expressed spidroins. We tested this assumption for the dragline silk of three co-existing Australian spiders, Argiope keyserlingi, Latrodectus hasselti and Nephila plumipes. We found that silk amino acid compositions did not differ among spiders collected in May. We extended these analyses temporally and found the amino acid compositions of A. keyserlingi silks to differ when collected in May compared to November, while those of L. hasselti did not. To ascertain whether their secondary structures were decoupled from spidroin expression, we performed solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) analysis on the silks of all spiders collected in May. We found the distribution of alanine toward β-sheet and 3,10helix/random coil conformations differed between species, as did their relative crystallinities, with A. keyserlingi having the greatest 3,10helix/random coil composition and N. plumipes the greatest crystallinity. The protein secondary structures correlated with the mechanical properties for each of the silks better than the amino acid compositions. Our findings suggested that a differential distribution of alanine during spinning could decouple secondary structures from spidroin expression ensuring that silks of desirable mechanical properties are consistently produced. Alternative explanations include the possibility that other spidroins were incorporated into some silks. PMID:27517909

  17. Evidence of Decoupling Protein Structure from Spidroin Expression in Spider Dragline Silks

    PubMed Central

    Blamires, Sean J.; Kasumovic, Michael M.; Tso, I-Min; Martens, Penny J.; Hook, James M.; Rawal, Aditya

    2016-01-01

    The exceptional strength and extensibility of spider dragline silk have been thought to be facilitated by two spidroins, major ampullate spidroin 1 (MaSp1) and major ampullate spidroin 2 (MaSp2), under the assumption that protein secondary structures are coupled with the expressed spidroins. We tested this assumption for the dragline silk of three co-existing Australian spiders, Argiope keyserlingi, Latrodectus hasselti and Nephila plumipes. We found that silk amino acid compositions did not differ among spiders collected in May. We extended these analyses temporally and found the amino acid compositions of A. keyserlingi silks to differ when collected in May compared to November, while those of L. hasselti did not. To ascertain whether their secondary structures were decoupled from spidroin expression, we performed solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) analysis on the silks of all spiders collected in May. We found the distribution of alanine toward β-sheet and 3,10helix/random coil conformations differed between species, as did their relative crystallinities, with A. keyserlingi having the greatest 3,10helix/random coil composition and N. plumipes the greatest crystallinity. The protein secondary structures correlated with the mechanical properties for each of the silks better than the amino acid compositions. Our findings suggested that a differential distribution of alanine during spinning could decouple secondary structures from spidroin expression ensuring that silks of desirable mechanical properties are consistently produced. Alternative explanations include the possibility that other spidroins were incorporated into some silks. PMID:27517909

  18. Structural hysteresis in dragline spider silks induced by supercontraction: an X-ray fiber micro-diffraction study

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Sampath, Sujatha; Yarger, Jeffery L.

    2014-11-27

    Interaction with water causes shrinkage and significant changes in the structure of spider dragline silks, which has been referred to as supercontraction in the literature. Preferred orientation or alignment of protein chains with respect to the fiber axis is extensively changed during this supercontraction process. Synchrotron X-ray micro-fiber diffraction experiments have been performed on Nephila clavipes and Argiope aurantia major and minor ampullate dragline spider fibers in the native dry, contracted (by immersion in water) and restretched (from contracted) states. Changes in the orientation of β-sheet nanocrystallites and the oriented component of the amorphous network have been determined from wide-anglemore » X-ray diffraction patterns. While both the crystalline and amorphous components lose preferred orientation on wetting with water, the nano-crystallites regain their orientation on wet-restretching, whereas the oriented amorphous components only partially regain their orientation. Dragline major ampullate silks in both the species contract more than their minor ampullate silks.« less

  19. Structural hysteresis in dragline spider silks induced by supercontraction: An x-ray fiber micro-diffraction study

    PubMed Central

    Yarger, Jeffery. L.

    2014-01-01

    Interaction with water causes shrinkage and significant changes in the structure of spider dragline silks, which has been referred to as supercontraction in the literature. Preferred orientation or alignment of protein chains with respect to the fiber axis is extensively changed during this supercontraction process. Synchrotron x-ray micro-fiber diffraction experiments have been performed on Nephila clavipes and Argiope aurantia major and minor ampullate dragline spider fibers in the native dry, contracted (by immersion in water) and restretched (from contracted) states. Changes in the orientation of β-sheet nanocrystallites and the oriented component of the amorphous network have been determined from wide-angle x-ray diffraction patterns. While both the crystalline and amorphous components lose preferred orientation on wetting with water, the nano-crystallites regain their orientation on wet-restretching, whereas the oriented amorphous components only partially regain their orientation. Dragline major ampullate silks in both the species contract more than their minor ampullate silks. PMID:25621168

  20. A Hox Gene, Antennapedia, Regulates Expression of Multiple Major Silk Protein Genes in the Silkworm Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Tsubota, Takuya; Tomita, Shuichiro; Uchino, Keiro; Kimoto, Mai; Takiya, Shigeharu; Kajiwara, Hideyuki; Yamazaki, Toshimasa; Sezutsu, Hideki

    2016-03-25

    Hoxgenes play a pivotal role in the determination of anteroposterior axis specificity during bilaterian animal development. They do so by acting as a master control and regulating the expression of genes important for development. Recently, however, we showed that Hoxgenes can also function in terminally differentiated tissue of the lepidopteranBombyx mori In this species,Antennapedia(Antp) regulates expression of sericin-1, a major silk protein gene, in the silk gland. Here, we investigated whether Antpcan regulate expression of multiple genes in this tissue. By means of proteomic, RT-PCR, and in situ hybridization analyses, we demonstrate that misexpression of Antpin the posterior silk gland induced ectopic expression of major silk protein genes such assericin-3,fhxh4, and fhxh5 These genes are normally expressed specifically in the middle silk gland as is Antp Therefore, the evidence strongly suggests that Antpactivates these silk protein genes in the middle silk gland. The putativesericin-1 activator complex (middle silk gland-intermolt-specific complex) can bind to the upstream regions of these genes, suggesting that Antpdirectly activates their expression. We also found that the pattern of gene expression was well conserved between B. moriand the wild species Bombyx mandarina, indicating that the gene regulation mechanism identified here is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism and not an artifact of the domestication of B. mori We suggest that Hoxgenes have a role as a master control in terminally differentiated tissues, possibly acting as a primary regulator for a range of physiological processes. PMID:26814126

  1. Uncovering spider silk nanocrystalline variations that facilitate wind-induced mechanical property changes.

    PubMed

    Blamires, Sean J; Wu, Chao-Chia; Wu, Chung-Lin; Sheu, Hwo-Shuenn; Tso, I-Min

    2013-10-14

    Spider major ampullate (MA) silk varies in mechanical properties when spun in different environments. Amino acid compositional changes induced by variations in MaSp1 and MaSp2 expression, and various biochemical and physiological glandular processes induce silk property variability. Quantifying the contributions of these mechanisms on silk variability may facilitate the development of silk biomimetics. Wind is a medium that induces variations in MA silk mechanics. We exposed the spider Cyclosa mulmeinensis to wind and measured the amino acid composition, tensile mechanics, and crystalline structure of its MA silk using HPLC, tensile tests, and X-ray diffraction. We found the mechanical properties of MA silks from spiders exposed to wind to differ from unexposed spiders. The amino acid compositions did not differ, but X-ray diffraction found a lower crystal density and greater β-sheet alignment relative to the fiber axis in the silks of spiders exposed to wind. We found no evidence that the mechanical property variations were a product of profound changes to the alignment of the protein within the amorphous region. We conclude that variations in the density and alignment of the crystalline β-sheets, probably accompanied by some alignment change in the amorphous region as a result of "stretching" during spinning of the silk, probably explains the mechanical property variations that we found across treatment subgroups. As C. mulmeinensis MA silk increases both in strength and elasticity when the spiders are exposed to wind, bioengineers may consider it as a model for the development of high-performance silk biomimetics. PMID:23947397

  2. Non-invasive determination of the complete elastic moduli of spider silks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koski, Kristie J.; Akhenblit, Paul; McKiernan, Keri; Yarger, Jeffery L.

    2013-03-01

    Spider silks possess nature’s most exceptional mechanical properties, with unrivalled extensibility and high tensile strength. Unfortunately, our understanding of silks is limited because the complete elastic response has never been measured—leaving a stark lack of essential fundamental information. Using non-invasive, non-destructive Brillouin light scattering, we obtain the entire stiffness tensors (revealing negative Poisson’s ratios), refractive indices, and longitudinal and transverse sound velocities for major and minor ampullate spider silks: Argiope aurantia, Latrodectus hesperus, Nephila clavipes, Peucetia viridans. These results completely quantify the linear elastic response for all possible deformation modes, information unobtainable with traditional stress-strain tests. For completeness, we apply the principles of Brillouin imaging to spatially map the elastic stiffnesses on a spider web without deforming or disrupting the web in a non-invasive, non-contact measurement, finding variation among discrete fibres, junctions and glue spots. Finally, we provide the stiffness changes that occur with supercontraction.

  3. Non-invasive determination of the complete elastic moduli of spider silks.

    PubMed

    Koski, Kristie J; Akhenblit, Paul; McKiernan, Keri; Yarger, Jeffery L

    2013-03-01

    Spider silks possess nature's most exceptional mechanical properties, with unrivalled extensibility and high tensile strength. Unfortunately, our understanding of silks is limited because the complete elastic response has never been measured-leaving a stark lack of essential fundamental information. Using non-invasive, non-destructive Brillouin light scattering, we obtain the entire stiffness tensors (revealing negative Poisson's ratios), refractive indices, and longitudinal and transverse sound velocities for major and minor ampullate spider silks: Argiope aurantia, Latrodectus hesperus, Nephila clavipes, Peucetia viridans. These results completely quantify the linear elastic response for all possible deformation modes, information unobtainable with traditional stress-strain tests. For completeness, we apply the principles of Brillouin imaging to spatially map the elastic stiffnesses on a spider web without deforming or disrupting the web in a non-invasive, non-contact measurement, finding variation among discrete fibres, junctions and glue spots. Finally, we provide the stiffness changes that occur with supercontraction. PMID:23353627

  4. Dragline silk: a fiber assembled with low-molecular-weight cysteine-rich proteins.

    PubMed

    Pham, Thanh; Chuang, Tyler; Lin, Albert; Joo, Hyun; Tsai, Jerry; Crawford, Taylor; Zhao, Liang; Williams, Caroline; Hsia, Yang; Vierra, Craig

    2014-11-10

    Dragline silk has been proposed to contain two main protein constituents, MaSp1 and MaSp2. However, the mechanical properties of synthetic spider silks spun from recombinant MaSp1 and MaSp2 proteins have yet to approach natural fibers, implying the natural spinning dope is missing critical factors. Here we report the discovery of novel molecular constituents within the spinning dope that are extruded into dragline silk. Protein studies of the liquid spinning dope from the major ampullate gland, coupled with the analysis of dragline silk fibers using mass spectrometry, demonstrate the presence of a new family of low-molecular-weight cysteine-rich proteins (CRPs) that colocalize with the MA fibroins. Expression of the CRP family members is linked to dragline silk production, specifically MaSp1 and MaSp2 mRNA synthesis. Biochemical data support that CRP molecules are secreted into the spinning dope and assembled into macromolecular complexes via disulfide bond linkages. Sequence analysis supports that CRP molecules share similarities to members that belong to the cystine slipknot superfamily, suggesting that these factors may have evolved to increase fiber toughness by serving as molecular hubs that dissipate large amounts of energy under stress. Collectively, our findings provide molecular details about the components of dragline silk, providing new insight that will advance materials development of synthetic spider silk for industrial applications. PMID:25259849

  5. Reproducing Natural Spider Silks’ Copolymer Behavior in Synthetic Silk Mimics

    PubMed Central

    An, Bo; Jenkins, Janelle E.; Sampath, Sujatha; Holland, Gregory P.; Hinman, Mike; Yarger, Jeffery L.; Lewis, Randolph

    2012-01-01

    Dragline silk from orb-weaving spiders is a copolymer of two large proteins, major ampullate spidroin 1 (MaSp1) and 2 (MaSp2). The ratio of these proteins is known to have a large variation across different species of orb-weaving spiders. NMR results from gland material of two different species of spiders, N. clavipes and A. aurantia, indicates that MaSp1 proteins are more easily formed into β-sheet nanostructures, while MaSp2 proteins form random coil and helical structures. To test if this behavior of natural silk proteins could be reproduced by recombinantly produced spider silk mimic protein, recombinant MaSp1/MaSp2 mixed fibers as well as chimeric silk fibers from MaSp1 and MaSp2 sequences in a single protein were produced based on the variable ratio and conserved motifs of MaSp1 and MaSp2 in native silk fiber. Mechanical properties, solid-state NMR, and XRD results of tested synthetic fibers indicate the differing roles of MaSp1 and MaSp2 in the fiber and verify the importance of postspin stretching treatment in helping the fiber to form the proper spatial structure. PMID:23110450

  6. Characterization of the protein components of Nephila clavipes dragline silk.

    PubMed

    Sponner, Alexander; Schlott, Bernhard; Vollrath, Fritz; Unger, Eberhard; Grosse, Frank; Weisshart, Klaus

    2005-03-29

    Spider silk is predominantly composed of structural proteins called spider fibroins or spidroins. The major ampullate silk that forms the dragline and the cobweb's frame threads of Nephila clavipes is believed to be a composite of two spidroins, designated as Masp 1 and 2. Specific antibodies indeed revealed the presence of Masp 1 and 2 specific epitopes in the spinning dope and solubilized threads. In contrast, sequencing of specific peptides obtained from solubilized threads or gland urea extracts were exclusively homologous to segments of Masp 1, suggesting that this protein is more abundantly expressed in silk than Masp 2. The strength of immunoreactivities corroborated this finding. Polypeptides reactive against both Masp 1 and 2 specific antibodies were found to be expressed in the epithelia of the tail and different gland zones and accumulated in the gland secreted material. Both extracts of gland secretion and solubilized threads showed a ladder of polypeptides in the size range of 260-320 kDa in gel electrophoresis under reducing conditions, whereas gel filtration chromatography yielded molecular masses of the proteins of approximately 300-350 kDa. In the absence of a reducing agent, dimeric forms of the spidroins were observed with estimated molecular masses of 420-480 kDa according to gel electrophoresis and 550-650 kDa as determined by gel filtration chromatography. Depending on the preparation, some silk material readily underwent degradation, and polypeptides down to 20 kDa in size and less were detectable. PMID:15779899

  7. Physical and Biological Regulation of Neuron Regenerative Growth and Network Formation on Recombinant Dragline Silks

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Wenwen; He, Jiuyang; Jones, Justin; Lewis, Randolph V.; Kaplan, David L.

    2015-01-01

    Recombinant spider silks produced in transgenic goat milk were studied as cell culture matrices for neuronal growth. Major ampullate spidroin 1 (MaSp1) supported neuronal growth, axon extension and network connectivity, with cell morphology comparable to the gold standard poly-lysine. In addition, neurons growing on MaSp1 films had increased neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) expression at both mRNA and protein levels. The results indicate that MaSp1 films present useful surface charge and substrate stiffness to support the growth of primary rat cortical neurons. Moreover, a putative neuron-specific surface binding sequence GRGGL within MaSp1 may contribute to the biological regulation of neuron growth. These findings indicate that MaSp1 could regulate neuron growth through its physical and biological features. This dual regulation mode of MaSp1 could provide an alternative strategy for generating functional silk materials for neural tissue engineering. PMID:25701039

  8. Identification and dynamics of polyglycine II nanocrystals in Argiope trifasciata flagelliform silk

    PubMed Central

    Perea, G. B.; Riekel, C.; Guinea, G. V.; Madurga, R.; Daza, R.; Burghammer, M.; Hayashi, C.; Elices, M.; Plaza, G. R.; Pérez-Rigueiro, J.

    2013-01-01

    Spider silks combine a significant number of desirable characteristics in one material, including large tensile strength and strain at breaking, biocompatibility, and the possibility of tailoring their properties. Major ampullate gland silk (MAS) is the most studied silk and their properties are explained by a double lattice of hydrogen bonds and elastomeric protein chains linked to polyalanine β-nanocrystals. However, many basic details regarding the relationship between composition, microstructure and properties in silks are still lacking. Here we show that this relationship can be traced in flagelliform silk (Flag) spun by Argiope trifasciata spiders after identifying a phase consisting of polyglycine II nanocrystals. The presence of this phase is consistent with the dominant presence of the –GGX– and –GPG– motifs in its sequence. In contrast to the passive role assigned to polyalanine nanocrystals in MAS, polyglycine II nanocrystals can undergo growing/collapse processes that contribute to increase toughness and justify the ability of Flag to supercontract. PMID:24162473

  9. In Vitro Evaluation of Spider Silk Meshes as a Potential Biomaterial for Bladder Reconstruction

    PubMed Central

    Steins, Anne; Dik, Pieter; Müller, Wally H.; Vervoort, Stephin J.; Reimers, Kerstin; Kuhbier, Jörn W.; Vogt, Peter M.; van Apeldoorn, Aart A.; Coffer, Paul J.; Schepers, Koen

    2015-01-01

    Reconstruction of the bladder by means of both natural and synthetic materials remains a challenge due to severe adverse effects such as mechanical failure. Here we investigate the application of spider major ampullate gland-derived dragline silk from the Nephila edulis spider, a natural biomaterial with outstanding mechanical properties and a slow degradation rate, as a potential scaffold for bladder reconstruction by studying the cellular response of primary bladder cells to this biomaterial. We demonstrate that spider silk without any additional biological coating supports adhesion and growth of primary human urothelial cells (HUCs), which are multipotent bladder cells able to differentiate into the various epithelial layers of the bladder. HUCs cultured on spider silk did not show significant changes in the expression of various epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and fibrosis associated genes, and demonstrated only slight reduction in the expression of adhesion and cellular differentiation genes. Furthermore, flow cytometric analysis showed that most of the silk-exposed HUCs maintain an undifferentiated immunophenotype. These results demonstrate that spider silk from the Nephila edulis spider supports adhesion, survival and growth of HUCs without significantly altering their cellular properties making this type of material a suitable candidate for being tested in pre-clinical models for bladder reconstruction. PMID:26689371

  10. Structure and pH-induced alterations of recombinant and natural spider silk proteins in solution.

    PubMed

    Leclerc, Jérémie; Lefèvre, Thierry; Pottier, Fabien; Morency, Louis-Philippe; Lapointe-Verreault, Camille; Gagné, Stéphane M; Auger, Michèle

    2012-06-01

    The spinning process of spiders can modulate the mechanical properties of their silk fibers. It is therefore of primary importance to understand what are the key elements of the spider spinning process to develop efficient industrial spinning processes. We have exhaustively investigated the native conformation of major ampullate silk (MaS) proteins by comparing the content of the major ampullate gland of Nephila clavipes, solubilized MaS (SolMaS) fibers and the recombinant proteins rMaSpI and rMaSpII using (1) H solution NMR spectroscopy. The results indicate that the protein secondary structure is basically identical for the recombinant protein rMaSpI, SolMaS proteins, and the proteins in the dope, and corresponds to a disordered protein rich in 3(1) -helices. The data also show that glycine proton chemical shifts of rMaSpI and SolMaS are affected by pH, but that this change is not due to a modification of the secondary structure. Using a combination of NMR and dynamic light scattering, we have found that the spectral alteration of glycine is concomitant to a modification of the hydrodynamical diameter of recombinant and solubilized MaS. This led us to suggest new potential roles for the pH acidification in the spinning process of MaS proteins. PMID:21898365

  11. Ex vivo rheology of spider silk.

    PubMed

    Kojić, N; Bico, J; Clasen, C; McKinley, G H

    2006-11-01

    We investigate the rheological properties of microliter quantities of the spinning material extracted ex vivo from the major ampullate gland of a Nephila clavipes spider using two new micro-rheometric devices. A sliding plate micro-rheometer is employed to measure the steady-state shear viscosity of approximately 1 microl samples of silk dope from individual biological specimens. The steady shear viscosity of the spinning solution is found to be highly shear-thinning, with a power-law index consistent with values expected for liquid crystalline solutions. Calculations show that the viscosity of the fluid decreases 10-fold as it flows through the narrow spinning canals of the spider. By contrast, measurements in a microcapillary extensional rheometer show that the transient extensional viscosity (i.e. the viscoelastic resistance to stretching) of the spinning fluid increases more than 100-fold during the spinning process. Quantifying the properties of native spinning solutions provides new guidance for adjusting the spinning processes of synthetic or genetically engineered silks to match those of the spider. PMID:17050850

  12. Complex gene expression in the dragline silk producing glands of the Western black widow (Latrodectus hesperus)

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Orb-web and cob-web weaving spiders spin dragline silk fibers that are among the strongest materials known. Draglines are primarily composed of MaSp1 and MaSp2, two spidroins (spider fibrous proteins) expressed in the major ampullate (MA) silk glands. Prior genetic studies of dragline silk have focused mostly on determining the sequence of these spidroins, leaving other genetic aspects of silk synthesis largely uncharacterized. Results Here, we used deep sequencing to profile gene expression patterns in the Western black widow, Latrodectus hesperus. We sequenced millions of 3′-anchored “tags” of cDNAs derived either from MA glands or control tissue (cephalothorax) mRNAs, then associated the tags with genes by compiling a reference database from our newly constructed normalized L. hesperus cDNA library and published L. hesperus sequences. We were able to determine transcript abundance and alternative polyadenylation of each of three loci encoding MaSp1. The ratio of MaSp1:MaSp2 transcripts varied between individuals, but on average was similar to the estimated ratio of MaSp1:MaSp2 in dragline fibers. We also identified transcription of TuSp1 in MA glands, another spidroin family member that encodes the primary component of egg-sac silk, synthesized in tubuliform glands. In addition to the spidroin paralogs, we identified 30 genes that are more abundantly represented in MA glands than cephalothoraxes and represent new candidates for involvement in spider silk synthesis. Conclusions Modulating expression rates of MaSp1 variants as well as MaSp2 and TuSp1 could lead to differences in mechanical properties of dragline fibers. Many of the newly identified candidate genes likely encode secreted proteins, suggesting they could be incorporated into dragline fibers or assist in protein processing and fiber assembly. Our results demonstrate previously unrecognized transcript complexity in spider silk glands. PMID:24295234

  13. Diversified Structural Basis of a Conserved Molecular Mechanism for pH-Dependent Dimerization in Spider Silk N-Terminal Domains.

    PubMed

    Otikovs, Martins; Chen, Gefei; Nordling, Kerstin; Landreh, Michael; Meng, Qing; Jörnvall, Hans; Kronqvist, Nina; Rising, Anna; Johansson, Jan; Jaudzems, Kristaps

    2015-08-17

    Conversion of spider silk proteins from soluble dope to insoluble fibers involves pH-dependent dimerization of the N-terminal domain (NT). This conversion is tightly regulated to prevent premature precipitation and enable rapid silk formation at the end of the duct. Three glutamic acid residues that mediate this process in the NT from Euprosthenops australis major ampullate spidroin 1 are well conserved among spidroins. However, NTs of minor ampullate spidroins from several species, including Araneus ventricosus ((Av)MiSp NT), lack one of the glutamic acids. Here we investigate the pH-dependent structural changes of (Av)MiSp NT, revealing that it uses the same mechanism but involves a non-conserved glutamic acid residue instead. Homology modeling of the structures of other MiSp NTs suggests that these harbor different compensatory residues. This indicates that, despite sequence variations, the molecular mechanism underlying pH-dependent dimerization of NT is conserved among different silk types. PMID:26033527

  14. Untangling spider silk evolution with spidroin terminal domains

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Spidroins are a unique family of large, structural proteins that make up the bulk of spider silk fibers. Due to the highly variable nature of their repetitive sequences, spidroin evolutionary relationships have principally been determined from their non-repetitive carboxy (C)-terminal domains, though they offer limited character data. The few known spidroin amino (N)-terminal domains have been difficult to obtain, but potentially contain critical phylogenetic information for reconstructing the diversification of spider silks. Here we used silk gland expression data (ESTs) from highly divergent species to evaluate the functional significance and phylogenetic utility of spidroin N-terminal domains. Results We report 11 additional spidroin N-termini found by sequencing ~1,900 silk gland cDNAs from nine spider species that shared a common ancestor > 240 million years ago. In contrast to their hyper-variable repetitive regions, spidroin N-terminal domains have retained striking similarities in sequence identity, predicted secondary structure, and hydrophobicity. Through separate and combined phylogenetic analyses of N-terminal domains and their corresponding C-termini, we find that combined analysis produces the most resolved trees and that N-termini contribute more support and less conflict than the C-termini. These analyses show that paralogs largely group by silk gland type, except for the major ampullate spidroins. Moreover, spidroin structural motifs associated with superior tensile strength arose early in the history of this gene family, whereas a motif conferring greater extensibility convergently evolved in two distantly related paralogs. Conclusions A non-repetitive N-terminal domain appears to be a universal attribute of spidroin proteins, likely retained from the origin of spider silk production. Since this time, spidroin N-termini have maintained several features, consistent with this domain playing a key role in silk assembly. Phylogenetic

  15. Influence of silk-silica fusion protein design on silica condensation in vitro and cellular calcification

    PubMed Central

    Plowright, Robyn; Dinjaski, Nina; Zhou, Shun; Belton, David J.; Kaplan, David L.; Perry, Carole C.

    2016-01-01

    Biomaterial design via genetic engineering can be utilized for the rational functionalization of proteins to promote biomaterial integration and tissue regeneration. Spider silk has been extensively studied for its biocompatibility, biodegradability and extraordinary material properties. As a protein-based biomaterial, recombinant DNA derived derivatives of spider silks have been modified with biomineralization domains which lead to silica deposition and potentially accelerated bone regeneration. However, the influence of the location of the R5 (SSKKSGSYSGSKGSKRRIL) silicifying domain fused with the spider silk protein sequence on the biosilicification process remains to be determined. Here we designed two silk-R5 fusion proteins that differed in the location of the R5 peptide, C- vs. N-terminus, where the spider silk domain consisted of a 15mer repeat of a 33 amino acid consensus sequence of the major ampullate dragline Spidroin 1 from Nephila clavipes (SGRGGLGGQG AGAAAAAGGA GQGGYGGLGSQGT). The chemical, physical and silica deposition properties of these recombinant proteins were assessed and compared to a silk 15mer control without the R5 present. The location of the R5 peptide did not have a significant effect on wettability and surface energies, while the C-terminal location of the R5 promoted more controlled silica precipitation, suggesting differences in protein folding and possibly different access to charged amino acids that drive the silicification process. Further, cell compatibility in vitro, as well as the ability to promote human bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) differentiation were demonstrated for both variants of the fusion proteins. PMID:26989487

  16. Spider silk-like proteins derived from transgenic Nicotiana tabacum.

    PubMed

    Peng, Congyue Annie; Russo, Julia; Gravgaard, Charlene; McCartney, Heather; Gaines, William; Marcotte, William R

    2016-08-01

    The high tensile strength and biocompatibility of spider dragline silk makes it a desirable material in many engineering and tissue regeneration applications. Here, we present the feasibility to produce recombinant proteins in transgenic tobacco Nicotiana tabacum with sequences representing spider silk protein building blocks . Recombinant mini-spidroins contain native N- and C-terminal domains of major ampullate spidroin 1 (rMaSp1) or rMaSp2 flanking an abbreviated number (8, 16 or 32) of consensus repeat domains. Two different expression plasmid vectors were tested and a downstream chitin binding domain and self-cleavable intein were included to facilitate protein purification. We confirmed gene insertion and RNA transcription by PCR and reverse-transcriptase PCR, respectively. Mini-spidroin production was detected by N-terminus specific antibodies. Purification of mini-spidroins was performed through chitin affinity chromatography and subsequent intein activation with reducing reagent. Mini-spidroins, when dialyzed and freeze-dried, formed viscous gelatin-like fluids. PMID:27026165

  17. Differential polymerization of the two main protein components of dragline silk during fibre spinning.

    PubMed

    Sponner, Alexander; Unger, Eberhard; Grosse, Frank; Weisshart, Klaus

    2005-10-01

    Spider silks are some of the strongest materials found in nature. Achieving the high tensile strength and elasticity of the dragline of orb-weaving spiders, such as Nephila clavipes, is a principal goal in biomimetics research. The dragline has a composite nature and is predominantly made up by two proteins, the major ampullate spidroins 1 and 2 (refs 3, 6, 7), which can be considered natural block copolymers. On the basis of their molecular structures both spidroins are thought to contribute, in different ways, to the mechanical properties of dragline silk. The spinning process itself is also considered important for determining the observed features by shaping the hierarchical structure of the fibre. Here we study the heterogeneous distribution of proteins along the radial axis of the fibre. This heterogeneity is generated during the conversion of the liquid spinning dope into solid fibre. Whereas spidroin 1 is distributed almost uniformly within the fibre core, spidroin 2 is missing in the periphery and is tightly packed in certain core areas. Our findings suggest that the role of spidroin 2 in the spinning process could be to facilitate the formation of fibrils and contribute directly to the elasticity of the silk. PMID:16184170

  18. Self-assembly of spider silk proteins is controlled by a pH-sensitive relay.

    PubMed

    Askarieh, Glareh; Hedhammar, My; Nordling, Kerstin; Saenz, Alejandra; Casals, Cristina; Rising, Anna; Johansson, Jan; Knight, Stefan D

    2010-05-13

    Nature's high-performance polymer, spider silk, consists of specific proteins, spidroins, with repetitive segments flanked by conserved non-repetitive domains. Spidroins are stored as a highly concentrated fluid dope. On silk formation, intermolecular interactions between repeat regions are established that provide strength and elasticity. How spiders manage to avoid premature spidroin aggregation before self-assembly is not yet established. A pH drop to 6.3 along the spider's spinning apparatus, altered salt composition and shear forces are believed to trigger the conversion to solid silk, but no molecular details are known. Miniature spidroins consisting of a few repetitive spidroin segments capped by the carboxy-terminal domain form metre-long silk-like fibres irrespective of pH. We discovered that incorporation of the amino-terminal domain of major ampullate spidroin 1 from the dragline of the nursery web spider Euprosthenops australis (NT) into mini-spidroins enables immediate, charge-dependent self-assembly at pH values around 6.3, but delays aggregation above pH 7. The X-ray structure of NT, determined to 1.7 A resolution, shows a homodimer of dipolar, antiparallel five-helix bundle subunits that lack homologues. The overall dimeric structure and observed charge distribution of NT is expected to be conserved through spider evolution and in all types of spidroins. Our results indicate a relay-like mechanism through which the N-terminal domain regulates spidroin assembly by inhibiting precocious aggregation during storage, and accelerating and directing self-assembly as the pH is lowered along the spider's silk extrusion duct. PMID:20463740

  19. Silk-silica composites from genetically engineered chimeric proteins: materials properties correlate with silica condensation rate and colloidal stability of the proteins in aqueous solution

    PubMed Central

    Belton, David J.; Mieszawska, Aneta J.; Currie, Heather A.; Kaplan, David L.; Perry, Carole C.

    2012-01-01

    The aim of the study was to determine the extent and mechanism of influence on silica condensation that is presented by a range of known silicifying recombinant chimeras (R5- SSKKSGSYSGSKGSKRRIL; A1- SGSKGSKRRIL; and Si4-1- MSPHPHPRHHHT and repeats thereof) attached at the N-terminus end of a 15 mer repeat of the 32 amino acid consensus sequence of the major ampullate dragline Spindroin 1 (Masp1) Nephila clavipes spider silk sequence ([SGRGGLGGQG AGAAAAAGGA GQGGYGGLGSQG]15X). The influence of the silk/chimera ratio was explored through the adjustment of the type and number of silicifying domains, (denoted X above), and the results were compared with their non chimeric counterparts and the silk from Bombyx mori. The effect of pH (3–9) on reactivity was also explored. Optimum conditions for rate and control of silica deposition were determined and the solution properties of the silks were explored to determine their mode(s) of action. For the silica-silk-chimera materials formed there is a relationship between the solution properties of the chimeric proteins (ability to carry charge), the pH of reaction and the solid state materials that are generated. The region of colloidal instability correlates with the pH range observed for morphological control and coincides with the pH range for the highest silica condensation rates. With this information it should be possible to predict how chimeric or chemically modified proteins will affect structure and morphology of materials produced under controlled conditions and extend the range of composite materials for a wide spectrum of uses in the biomedical and technology fields. PMID:22313382

  20. Protein secondary structure of Green Lynx spider dragline silk investigated by solid-state NMR and X-ray diffraction

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Dian; Shi, Xiangyan; Thompson, Forrest; Weber, Warner S.; Mou, Qiushi; Yarger, Jeffery L

    2016-01-01

    In this study, the secondary structure of the major ampullate silk from Peucetia viridans (Green Lynx) spiders is characterized by X-ray diffraction and solid-state NMR spectroscopy. From X-ray diffraction measurement, β-sheet nanocrystallites were observed and found to be highly oriented along the fiber axis, with an orientational order, fc ≈ 0.98. The size of the nanocrystallites was determined to be on average 2.5 nm × 3.3 nm × 3.8 nm. Besides a prominent nanocrystalline region, a partially oriented amorphous region was also observed with an fa ≈ 0.89. Two-dimensional 13C–13C through-space and through-bond solid-state NMR experiments were employed to elucidate structure details of P. viridans silk proteins. It reveals that β-sheet nanocrystallites constitutes 40.0 ± 1.2% of the protein and are dominated by alanine-rich repetitive motifs. Furthermore, based upon the NMR data, 18 ± 1% of alanine, 60 ± 2% glycine and 54 ± 2% serine are incorporated into helical conformations. PMID:26226457

  1. Protein secondary structure of Green Lynx spider dragline silk investigated by solid-state NMR and X-ray diffraction.

    PubMed

    Xu, Dian; Shi, Xiangyan; Thompson, Forrest; Weber, Warner S; Mou, Qiushi; Yarger, Jeffery L

    2015-11-01

    In this study, the secondary structure of the major ampullate silk from Peucetia viridans (Green Lynx) spiders is characterized by X-ray diffraction and solid-state NMR spectroscopy. From X-ray diffraction measurement, β-sheet nanocrystallites were observed and found to be highly oriented along the fiber axis, with an orientational order, fc≈0.98. The size of the nanocrystallites was determined to be on average 2.5nm×3.3nm×3.8nm. Besides a prominent nanocrystalline region, a partially oriented amorphous region was also observed with an fa≈0.89. Two-dimensional (13)C-(13)C through-space and through-bond solid-state NMR experiments were employed to elucidate structure details of P. viridans silk proteins. It reveals that β-sheet nanocrystallites constitutes 40.0±1.2% of the protein and are dominated by alanine-rich repetitive motifs. Furthermore, based upon the NMR data, 18±1% of alanine, 60±2% glycine and 54±2% serine are incorporated into helical conformations. PMID:26226457

  2. Effects of different post-spin stretching conditions on the mechanical properties of synthetic spider silk fibers

    PubMed Central

    Albertson, Amy E.; Teulé, Florence; Weber, Warner; Yarger, Jeffery L.; Lewis, Randolph V.

    2014-01-01

    Spider silk is a biomaterial with impressive mechanical properties, resulting in various potential applications. Recent research has focused on producing synthetic spider silk fibers with the same mechanical properties as the native fibers. For this study, three proteins based on the Argiope aurantia Major ampullate Spidroin 2 consensus repeat sequence were expressed, purified and spun into fibers. A number of post-spin draw conditions were tested to determine the effect of each condition on the mechanical properties of the fiber. In all cases, post-spin stretching improved the mechanical properties of the fibers. Aqueous isopropanol was the most effective solution for increasing extensibility, while other solutions worked best for each fiber type for increasing tensile strength. The strain values of the stretched fibers correlated with the length of the proline-rich protein sequence. Structural analysis, including X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy, showed surprisingly little change in the initial as-spun fibers compared with the post-spin stretched fibers. PMID:24113297

  3. Dual Thermosensitive Hydrogels Assembled from the Conserved C-Terminal Domain of Spider Dragline Silk.

    PubMed

    Qian, Zhi-Gang; Zhou, Ming-Liang; Song, Wen-Wen; Xia, Xiao-Xia

    2015-11-01

    Stimuli-responsive hydrogels have great potentials in biomedical and biotechnological applications. Due to the advantages of precise control over molecular weight and being biodegradable, protein-based hydrogels and their applications have been extensively studied. However, protein hydrogels with dual thermosensitive properties are rarely reported. Here we present the first report of dual thermosensitive hydrogels assembled from the conserved C-terminal domain of spider dragline silk. First, we found that recombinant C-terminal domain of major ampullate spidroin 1 (MaSp1) of the spider Nephila clavipes formed hydrogels when cooled to approximately 2 °C or heated to 65 °C. The conformational changes and self-assembly of the recombinant protein were studied to understand the mechanism of the gelation processes using multiple methods. It was proposed that the gelation in the low-temperature regime was dominated by hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic interaction between folded protein molecules, whereas the gelation in the high-temperature regime was due to cross-linking of the exposed hydrophobic patches resulting from partial unfolding of the protein upon heating. More interestingly, genetic fusion of the C-terminal domain to a short repetitive region of N. clavipes MaSp1 resulted in a chimeric protein that formed a hydrogel with significantly improved mechanical properties at low temperatures between 2 and 10 °C. Furthermore, the formation of similar hydrogels was observed for the recombinant C-terminal domains of dragline silk of different spider species, thus demonstrating the conserved ability to form dual thermosensitive hydrogels. These findings may be useful in the design and construction of novel protein hydrogels with tunable multiple thermosensitivity for applications in the future. PMID:26457360

  4. Spider Webs and Silks.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vollrath, Fritz

    1992-01-01

    Compares the attributes of the silk from spiders with those of the commercially harvested silk from silkworms. Discusses the evolution, design, and effectiveness of spider webs; the functional mechanics of the varieties of silk that can be produced by the same spider; and the composite, as well as molecular, structure of spider silk thread. (JJK)

  5. Reinforcing Silk Scaffolds with Silk Particles

    PubMed Central

    Rajkhowa, Rangam; Gil, Eun Seok; Kluge, Jonathan; Numata, Keiji; Wang, Lijing; Kaplan, David L.

    2014-01-01

    Silk fibroin is a useful protein polymer for biomaterials and tissue engineering. In this work, porogen leached scaffolds prepared from aqueous and HFIP silk solutions were reinforced through the addition of silk particles. This led to about 40 times increase in the specific compressive modulus and the yield strength of HFIP-based scaffolds. This increase in mechanical properties resulted from the high interfacial cohesion between the silk matrix and the reinforcing silk particles, due to partial solubility of the silk particles in HFIP. The porosity of scaffolds was reduced from ≈90% (control) to ≈75% for the HFIP systems containing 200% particle reinforcement, while maintaining pore interconnectivity. The presence of the particles slowed the enzymatic degradation of silk scaffolds. PMID:20166230

  6. Silk microfiber-reinforced silk hydrogel composites for functional cartilage tissue repair

    PubMed Central

    Yodmuang, Supansa; McNamara, Stephanie L.; Nover, Adam B.; Mandal, Biman B.; Agarwal, Monica; Kelly, Terri-Ann N.; Chao, Pen-hsiu Grace; Hung, Clark; Kaplan, David L.; Vunjak-Novakovic, Gordana

    2014-01-01

    Cartilage tissue lacks an intrinsic capacity for self-regeneration due to slow matrix turnover, a limited supply of mature chondrocytes and insufficient vasculature. Although cartilage tissue engineering has achieved some success using agarose as a scaffolding material, major challenges of agarose-based cartilage repair, including non-degradability, poor tissue–scaffold integration and limited processing capability, have prompted the search for an alternative biomaterial. In this study, silk fiber–hydrogel composites (SF–silk hydrogels) made from silk microfibers and silk hydrogels were investigated for their potential use as a support material for engineered cartilage. We demonstrated the use of 100% silk-based fiber–hydrogel composite scaffolds for the development of cartilage constructs with properties comparable to those made with agarose. Cartilage constructs with an equilibrium modulus in the native tissue range were fabricated by mimicking the collagen fiber and proteoglycan composite architecture of native cartilage using biocompatible, biodegradable silk fibroin from Bombyx mori. Excellent chondrocyte response was observed on SF–silk hydrogels, and fiber reinforcement resulted in the development of more mechanically robust constructs after 42 days in culture compared to silk hydrogels alone. Thus, we demonstrate the versatility of silk fibroin as a composite scaffolding material for use in cartilage tissue repair to create functional cartilage constructs that overcome the limitations of agarose biomaterials, and provide a much-needed alternative to the agarose standard. PMID:25281788

  7. Stylized Silk Painting.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Skophammer, Karen

    1998-01-01

    Presents an art activity inspired by a workshop "Surrounded by Silk" given by Susan Skvoe in which the students create silk paintings. Explains that the students first sketch their floral design on paper, trace the design on the silk's surface, and apply liquid dye for color. Provides an easier activity for younger students. (CMK)

  8. Evaluation of high-temperature and short-time sterilization of injection ampules by microwave heating.

    PubMed

    Sasaki, K; Honda, W; Miyake, Y

    1998-01-01

    The high-temperature and short-time sterilization by microwave heating with a continuous microwave sterilizer (MWS) was evaluated. The evaluation were performed with respect to: [1] lethal effect against microorganisms corresponding to F-value, and [2] reliability of MWS sterilization process. Bacillus stearothermophilus ATCC 7953 spores were used as the biological indicator and the heat-resistance of spores was evaluated with conventional heating method (121-129 degrees C). In MWS sterilization (125-135 degrees C), the actual lethal effect against B. stearothermophilus spores was almost in agreement with the F-value and the survival curve against the F-value was quite consistent with that for the autoclave. These results suggest that the actual lethal effect could be estimated by the F-value with heat-resistance parameters of spores from lower than actual temperatures and that there was no nonthermal effect of the microwave on B. stearothermophilus spores. The reliability of sterilization with the MWS was confirmed using more than 25,000 test ampules containing biological indicators. All biological indicators were killed, thus the present study shows that the MWS was completely reliable for all ampules. PMID:9542408

  9. Silk structure and degradation.

    PubMed

    Liu, Bin; Song, Yu-wei; Jin, Li; Wang, Zhi-jian; Pu, De-yong; Lin, Shao-qiang; Zhou, Chan; You, Hua-jian; Ma, Yan; Li, Jin-min; Yang, Li; Sung, K L Paul; Zhang, Yao-guang

    2015-07-01

    To investigate the structure of silk and its degradation properties, we have monitored the structure of silk using scanning electron microscopy and frozen sections. Raw silk and degummed raw silk were immersed in four types of degradation solutions for 156 d to observe their degradation properties. The subcutaneous implants in rats were removed after 7, 14, 56, 84, 129, and 145 d for frozen sectioning and subsequent staining with hematoxylin and eosin (H.E.), DAPI, Beta-actin and Collagen I immunofluorescence staining. The in vitro weight loss ratio of raw silk and degummed raw silk in water, PBS, DMEM and DMEM containing 10% FBS (F-DMEM) were, respectively, 14%/11%, 12.5%/12.9%, 11.1%/14.3%, 8.8%/11.6%. Silk began to degrade after 7 d subcutaneous implantation and after 145 d non-degraded silk was still observed. These findings suggest the immunogenicity of fibroin and sericin had no essential difference. In the process of in vitro degradation of silk, the role of the enzyme is not significant. The in vivo degradation of silk is related to phagocytotic activity and fibroblasts may be involved in this process to secrete collagen. This study also shows the developing process of cocoons and raw silk. PMID:25982316

  10. Antibiotic-Releasing Silk Biomaterials for Infection Prevention and Treatment.

    PubMed

    Pritchard, Eleanor M; Valentin, Thomas; Panilaitis, Bruce; Omenetto, Fiorenzo; Kaplan, David L

    2013-02-18

    Effective treatment of infections in avascular and necrotic tissues can be challenging due to limited penetration into the target tissue and systemic toxicities. Controlled release polymer implants have the potential to achieve the high local concentrations needed while also minimizing systemic exposure. Silk biomaterials possess unique characteristics for antibiotic delivery including biocompatibility, tunable biodegradation, stabilizing effects, water-based processing and diverse material formats. We report on functional release of antibiotics spanning a range of chemical properties from different material formats of silk (films, microspheres, hydrogels, coatings). The release of penicillin and ampicillin from bulk-loaded silk films, drug-loaded silk microspheres suspended in silk hydrogels and bulk-loaded silk hydrogels was investigated and in vivo efficacy of ampicillin-releasing silk hydrogels was demonstrated in a murine infected wound model. Silk sponges with nanofilm coatings were loaded with gentamicin and cefazolin and release was sustained for 5 and 3 days, respectively. The capability of silk antibiotic carriers to sequester, stabilize and then release bioactive antibiotics represents a major advantage over implants and pumps based on liquid drug reservoirs where instability at room or body temperature is limiting. The present studies demonstrate that silk biomaterials represent a novel, customizable antibiotic platform for focal delivery of antibiotics using a range of material formats (injectable to implantable). PMID:23483738

  11. Silk as a Biomaterial

    PubMed Central

    Vepari, Charu

    2009-01-01

    Silks are fibrous proteins with remarkable mechanical properties produced in fiber form by silkworms and spiders. Silk fibers in the form of sutures have been used for centuries. Recently regenerated silk solutions have been used to form a variety of biomaterials, such as gels, sponges and films, for medical applications. Silks can be chemically modified through amino acid side chains to alter surface properties or to immobilize cellular growth factors. Molecular engineering of silk sequences has been used to modify silks with specific features, such as cell recognition or mineralization. The degradability of silk biomaterials can be related to the mode of processing and the corresponding content of beta sheet crystallinity. Several primary cells and cell lines have been successfully grown on different silk biomaterials to demonstrate a range of biological outcomes. Silk biomaterials are biocompatible when studied in vitro and in vivo. Silk scaffolds have been successfully used in wound healing and in tissue engineering of bone, cartilage, tendon and ligament tissues. PMID:19543442

  12. A novel marine silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kronenberger, Katrin; Dicko, Cedric; Vollrath, Fritz

    2012-01-01

    The discovery of a novel silk production system in a marine amphipod provides insights into the wider potential of natural silks. The tube-building corophioid amphipod Crassicorophium bonellii produces from its legs fibrous, adhesive underwater threads that combine barnacle cement biology with aspects of spider silk thread extrusion spinning. We characterised the filamentous silk as a mixture of mucopolysaccharides and protein deriving from glands representing two distinct types. The carbohydrate and protein silk secretion is dominated by complex β-sheet structures and a high content of charged amino acid residues. The filamentous secretion product exits the gland through a pore near the tip of the secretory leg after having moved through a duct, which subdivides into several small ductules all terminating in a spindle-shaped chamber. This chamber communicates with the exterior and may be considered the silk reservoir and processing/mixing space, in which the silk is mechanically and potentially chemically altered and becomes fibrous. We assert that further study of this probably independently evolved, marine arthropod silk processing and secretion system can provide not only important insights into the more complex arachnid and insect silks but also into crustacean adhesion cements.

  13. A novel marine silk.

    PubMed

    Kronenberger, Katrin; Dicko, Cedric; Vollrath, Fritz

    2012-01-01

    The discovery of a novel silk production system in a marine amphipod provides insights into the wider potential of natural silks. The tube-building corophioid amphipod Crassicorophium bonellii produces from its legs fibrous, adhesive underwater threads that combine barnacle cement biology with aspects of spider silk thread extrusion spinning. We characterised the filamentous silk as a mixture of mucopolysaccharides and protein deriving from glands representing two distinct types. The carbohydrate and protein silk secretion is dominated by complex β-sheet structures and a high content of charged amino acid residues. The filamentous secretion product exits the gland through a pore near the tip of the secretory leg after having moved through a duct, which subdivides into several small ductules all terminating in a spindle-shaped chamber. This chamber communicates with the exterior and may be considered the silk reservoir and processing/mixing space, in which the silk is mechanically and potentially chemically altered and becomes fibrous. We assert that further study of this probably independently evolved, marine arthropod silk processing and secretion system can provide not only important insights into the more complex arachnid and insect silks but also into crustacean adhesion cements. PMID:22057952

  14. Water-Insoluble Silk Films with Silk I Structure

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Qiang; Hu, Xiao; Wang, Xiaoqin; Kluge, Jonathan A.; Lu, Shenzhou; Cebe, Peggy; Kaplan, David L.

    2009-01-01

    Water-insoluble regenerated silk materials are normally achieved by increasing β-sheet content (silk II). In the present study, water-insoluble silk films were prepared by controlling very slow drying of B. mori silk solutions, resulting in the formation of stable films with dominating silk I instead of silk II structure. Wide angle x-ray scattering (WAXS) indicated that the silk films stabilized by slow drying were mainly composed of silk I rather than silk II, while water- and methanol-annealed silk films had a higher silk II content. The silk films prepared through slow drying had a globule-like structure in the core with nano-filaments. The core region was composed of silk I and silk II, and these regions are surrounded by hydrophilic nano-filaments containing random, turns, and α-helix secondary structures. The insoluble silk films prepared by slow drying had unique thermal, mechanical and degradative properties. DSC results revealed that silk I crystals had stable thermal properties up to 250°C, without crystallization above the Tg, but degraded in lower temperature than silk II structure. Compared with water- and methanol-annealed films, the films prepared through slow drying achieved better mechanical ductility and more rapid enzymatic degradation, reflective of the differences in secondary structure achieved via differences in post processing of the cast silk films. Importantly, the silk I structure, a key intermediate secondary structure for the formation of mechanically robust natural silk fibers, was successfully generated in the present approach of very slow drying, mimicking the natural process. The results also point to a new mode to generate new types of silk biomaterials, where mechanical properties can be enhanced, and degradation rates increased, yet water insolubility is maintained along with low beta sheet content. PMID:19874919

  15. Water-insoluble Silk Films with Silk I Structure

    SciTech Connect

    Lu, Q.; Hu, X; Wang, X; Kluge, J; Lu, S; Cebe, P; Kaplan, D

    2010-01-01

    Water-insoluble regenerated silk materials are normally produced by increasing the {beta}-sheet content (silk II). In the present study water-insoluble silk films were prepared by controlling the very slow drying of Bombyx mori silk solutions, resulting in the formation of stable films with a predominant silk I instead of silk II structure. Wide angle X-ray scattering indicated that the silk films stabilized by slow drying were mainly composed of silk I rather than silk II, while water- and methanol-annealed silk films had a higher silk II content. The silk films prepared by slow drying had a globule-like structure at the core surrounded by nano-filaments. The core region was composed of silk I and silk II, surrounded by hydrophilic nano-filaments containing random turns and {alpha}-helix secondary structures. The insoluble silk films prepared by slow drying had unique thermal, mechanical and degradative properties. Differential scanning calorimetry results revealed that silk I crystals had stable thermal properties up to 250 C, without crystallization above the T{sub g}, but degraded at lower temperatures than silk II structure. Compared with water- and methanol-annealed films the films prepared by slow drying had better mechanical ductility and were more rapidly enzymatically degraded, reflecting the differences in secondary structure achieved via differences in post processing of the cast silk films. Importantly, the silk I structure, a key intermediate secondary structure for the formation of mechanically robust natural silk fibers, was successfully generated by the present approach of very slow drying, mimicking the natural process. The results also point to a new mode of generating new types of silk biomaterials with enhanced mechanical properties and increased degradation rates, while maintaining water insolubility, along with a low {beta}-sheet content.

  16. Visual Literacy with Picture Books: The Silk Road

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bisland, Beverly Milner Lee

    2007-01-01

    The ancient Silk Routes connecting China to Europe across the rugged mountains and deserts of central Asia are one of the primary examples of transculturation in world history. Traders on these routes dealt not only in goods such as silk and horses but also made possible the spread of art forms as well as two major religions, Buddhism and Islam. …

  17. Art on Silk Hoops

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Padrick, Deborah

    2012-01-01

    Painting on silk has a magic all its own. Versions of painting on silk can be found throughout the world from Japan and Europe to the United States. Themes for the paintings can be most any type of design or imagery. Applying the liquid dyes is exciting, as the vivid liquid colors flow and blend into the fabric. The process captures students'…

  18. Silk Batik using Cochineal Dye

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The history of silk, including sericulture (the production of raw silk, which requires the raising of silkworms on their natural diet, mulberry leaves) and silk manufacturing, is rich and extensive. It encompasses several famous “silk roads” (trade routes), various cultures and technologies, ideas,...

  19. Photoprotection by silk cocoons.

    PubMed

    Kaur, Jasjeet; Rajkhowa, Rangam; Tsuzuki, Takuya; Millington, Keith; Zhang, Jin; Wang, Xungai

    2013-10-14

    A silk cocoon protects a silkworm during its pupal stage from various threats. We systematically investigated the role of fiber, sericin, and embedded crystals in the UV protection of a silk cocoon. Diffuse reflectance and UV absorbance were measured and free radicals generated during exposure to UV radiation were quantified using photoinduced chemiluminescence (PICL). We identified the response to both UV-A and UV-B radiations by silk materials and found that sericin was primarily responsible for UV-A absorption. When sericin was removed, the photoinduced chemiluminescence intensity increased significantly, indicating higher UV-A-induced reactions of cocoons in the absence of sericin. There is progressively higher sericin content toward the outer part of the cocoon shell that allows an effective shield to pupae from UV radiation and resists photodegradation of silk fibers. The study will inspire development of advanced organic photoprotective materials and designing silk-based, free-radical-scavenging antioxidants. PMID:24000973

  20. From silk spinning in insects and spiders to advanced silk fibroin drug delivery systems.

    PubMed

    Werner, Vera; Meinel, Lorenz

    2015-11-01

    The natural process of silk spinning covers a fascinating versatility of aggregate states, ranging from colloidal solutions through hydrogels to solid systems. The transition among these states is controlled by a carefully orchestrated process in vivo. Major players within the natural process include the control of spatial pH throughout passage of the silk dope, the composition and type of ions, and fluid flow mechanics within the duct, respectively. The function of these input parameters on the spinning process is reviewed before detailing their impact on the design and manufacture of silk based drug delivery systems (DDS). Examples are reported including the control of hydrogel formation during storage or significant parameters controlling precipitation in the presence of appropriate salts, respectively. The review details the use of silk fibroin (SF) to develop liquid, semiliquid or solid DDS with a focus on the control of SF crystallization, particle formation, and drug-SF interaction for tailored drug load. PMID:25801494

  1. Silk inverse opals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Sunghwan; Mitropoulos, Alexander N.; Spitzberg, Joshua D.; Tao, Hu; Kaplan, David L.; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G.

    2012-12-01

    Periodic nanostructures provide the facility to control and manipulate the flow of light through their lattices. Three-dimensional photonic crystals enable the controlled design of structural colour, which can be varied by infiltrating the structure with different (typically liquid) fillers. Here, we report three-dimensional photonic crystals composed entirely of a purified natural protein (silk fibroin). The biocompatibility of this protein, as well as its favourable material properties and ease of biological functionalization, present opportunities for otherwise unattainable device applications such as bioresorbable integration of structural colour within living tissue or lattice functionalization by means of organic and inorganic material doping. We present a silk inverse opal that demonstrates a pseudo-photonic bandgap in the visible spectrum and show its associated structural colour beneath biological tissue. We also leverage silk's facile dopability to manufacture a gold nanoparticle silk inverse opal and demonstrate patterned heating mediated by enhancement of nanoparticle absorption at the band-edge frequency of the photonic crystal.

  2. Recent investigations of silk fibers utilizing x-ray scattering and atomic force microscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Lance D.

    1998-12-01

    Silks from the mulberry silkworm, Bombyx mori, and the golden-orb spider, Nephila clavipes, are materials that possess respectable properties. Even pitted against the high performance fibers of Kevlar, polyethylene, and carbon, the advantages of some of nature's fibers are clear. The tensile strength of the golden-orb spider dragline is of the same order of magnitude as many synthetic fibers, yet the dragline's compressive strength as a percentage of its tensile strength is greater. The spider's ampullate glands, responsible for the manufacture of the dragline, also excel. The spider spins its fiber from a liquid crystalline solution that is water based versus the solutions at high temperatures containing volatile solvents that are required for current synthetic fibers. Understanding the morphology of silks will provide the basis for improved manufacturing and better performing synthetic fibers. The studies presented here have centered on the use of small-angle x-ray scattering, SAXS, to describe the large-scale morphology of silk fibers. We have determined minimum scattering dimensions on the order of 150-300 nm. A detailed analysis of the Porod scattering region has revealed correlation lengths of the same magnitude. Both of these dimensions are similar to with direct atomic force microscopy, AFM, measurements of nanofibers found in samples of abraded or peeled silk. The incorporation of discrete Fourier transform theory and AFM topographic information has yielded results in general agreement with measured SAXS patterns. This incorporation allows the materials scientist a way of visualizing the relationship between a material and its resulting scattering function. We have also found that x-ray scattering gives insight to new periodic distances of the morphology of golden-orb dragline. All of these studies yield a more complete view of the silk morphology and give a new method of model building from scattering experiments.

  3. More than one way to spin a crystallite: multiple trajectories through liquid crystallinity to solid silk.

    PubMed

    Walker, Andrew A; Holland, Chris; Sutherland, Tara D

    2015-06-22

    Arthropods face several key challenges in processing concentrated feedstocks of proteins (silk dope) into solid, semi-crystalline silk fibres. Strikingly, independently evolved lineages of silk-producing organisms have converged on the use of liquid crystal intermediates (mesophases) to reduce the viscosity of silk dope and assist the formation of supramolecular structure. However, the exact nature of the liquid-crystal-forming-units (mesogens) in silk dope, and the relationship between liquid crystallinity, protein structure and silk processing is yet to be fully elucidated. In this review, we focus on emerging differences in this area between the canonical silks containing extended-β-sheets made by silkworms and spiders, and 'non-canonical' silks made by other insect taxa in which the final crystallites are coiled-coils, collagen helices or cross-β-sheets. We compared the amino acid sequences and processing of natural, regenerated and recombinant silk proteins, finding that canonical and non-canonical silk proteins show marked differences in length, architecture, amino acid content and protein folding. Canonical silk proteins are long, flexible in solution and amphipathic; these features allow them both to form large, micelle-like mesogens in solution, and to transition to a crystallite-containing form due to mechanical deformation near the liquid-solid transition. By contrast, non-canonical silk proteins are short and have rod or lath-like structures that are well suited to act both as mesogens and as crystallites without a major intervening phase transition. Given many non-canonical silk proteins can be produced at high yield in E. coli, and that mesophase formation is a versatile way to direct numerous kinds of supramolecular structure, further elucidation of the natural processing of non-canonical silk proteins may to lead to new developments in the production of advanced protein materials. PMID:26041350

  4. More than one way to spin a crystallite: multiple trajectories through liquid crystallinity to solid silk

    PubMed Central

    Walker, Andrew A.; Holland, Chris; Sutherland, Tara D.

    2015-01-01

    Arthropods face several key challenges in processing concentrated feedstocks of proteins (silk dope) into solid, semi-crystalline silk fibres. Strikingly, independently evolved lineages of silk-producing organisms have converged on the use of liquid crystal intermediates (mesophases) to reduce the viscosity of silk dope and assist the formation of supramolecular structure. However, the exact nature of the liquid-crystal-forming-units (mesogens) in silk dope, and the relationship between liquid crystallinity, protein structure and silk processing is yet to be fully elucidated. In this review, we focus on emerging differences in this area between the canonical silks containing extended-β-sheets made by silkworms and spiders, and ‘non-canonical’ silks made by other insect taxa in which the final crystallites are coiled-coils, collagen helices or cross-β-sheets. We compared the amino acid sequences and processing of natural, regenerated and recombinant silk proteins, finding that canonical and non-canonical silk proteins show marked differences in length, architecture, amino acid content and protein folding. Canonical silk proteins are long, flexible in solution and amphipathic; these features allow them both to form large, micelle-like mesogens in solution, and to transition to a crystallite-containing form due to mechanical deformation near the liquid–solid transition. By contrast, non-canonical silk proteins are short and have rod or lath-like structures that are well suited to act both as mesogens and as crystallites without a major intervening phase transition. Given many non-canonical silk proteins can be produced at high yield in E. coli, and that mesophase formation is a versatile way to direct numerous kinds of supramolecular structure, further elucidation of the natural processing of non-canonical silk proteins may to lead to new developments in the production of advanced protein materials. PMID:26041350

  5. An Unlikely Silk: The Composite Material of Green Lacewing Cocoons

    SciTech Connect

    Weisman, Sarah; Trueman, Holly E.; Mudie, Stephen T.; Church, Jeffrey S.; Sutherland, Tara D.; Haritos, Victoria S.

    2009-01-15

    Spiders routinely produce multiple types of silk; however, common wisdom has held that insect species produce one type of silk each. This work reports that the green lacewing (Mallada signata, Neuroptera) produces two distinct classes of silk. We identified and sequenced the gene that encodes the major protein component of the larval lacewing cocoon silk and demonstrated that it is unrelated to the adult lacewing egg-stalk silk. The cocoon silk protein is 49 kDa in size and is alanine rich (>40%), and it contains an {alpha}-helical secondary structure. The final instar lacewing larvae spin protein fibers of {approx}2 {mu}m diameter to construct a loosely woven cocoon. In a second stage of cocoon construction, the insects lay down an inner wall of lipids that uses the fibers as a scaffold. We propose that the silk protein fibers provide the mechanical strength of the composite lacewing cocoon whereas the lipid layer provides a barrier to water loss during pupation.

  6. Toward spinning artificial spider silk.

    PubMed

    Rising, Anna; Johansson, Jan

    2015-05-01

    Spider silk is strong and extensible but still biodegradable and well tolerated when implanted, making it the ultimate biomaterial. Shortcomings that arise in replicating spider silk are due to the use of recombinant spider silk proteins (spidroins) that lack native domains, the use of denaturing conditions under purification and spinning and the fact that the understanding of how spiders control silk formation is incomplete. Recent progress has unraveled the molecular mechanisms of the spidroin N- and C-terminal nonrepetitive domains (NTs and CTs) and revealed the pH and ion gradients in spiders' silk glands, clarifying how spidroin solubility is maintained and how silk is formed in a fraction of a second. Protons and CO2, generated by carbonic anhydrase, affect the stability and structures of the NT and CT in different ways. These insights should allow the design of conditions and devices for the spinning of recombinant spidroins into native-like silk. PMID:25885958

  7. Analysis of proteome dynamics inside the silk gland lumen of Bombyx mori

    PubMed Central

    Dong, Zhaoming; Zhao, Ping; Zhang, Yan; Song, Qianru; Zhang, Xiaolu; Guo, Pengchao; Wang, Dandan; Xia, Qingyou

    2016-01-01

    The silk gland is the only organ where silk proteins are synthesized and secreted in the silkworm, Bombyx mori. Silk proteins are stored in the lumen of the silk gland for around eight days during the fifth instar. Determining their dynamic changes is helpful for clarifying the secretion mechanism of silk proteins. Here, we identified the proteome in the silk gland lumen using liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry, and demonstrated its changes during two key stages. From day 5 of the fifth instar to day 1 of wandering, the abundances of fibroins, sericins, seroins, and proteins of unknown functions increased significantly in different compartments of the silk gland lumen. As a result, these accumulated proteins constituted the major cocoon components. In contrast, the abundances of enzymes and extracellular matrix proteins decreased in the silk gland lumen, suggesting that they were not the structural constituents of silk. Twenty-five enzymes may be involved in the regulation of hormone metabolism for proper silk gland function. In addition, the metabolism of other non-proteinous components such as chitin and pigment were also discussed in this study. PMID:27102218

  8. Analysis of proteome dynamics inside the silk gland lumen of Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Dong, Zhaoming; Zhao, Ping; Zhang, Yan; Song, Qianru; Zhang, Xiaolu; Guo, Pengchao; Wang, Dandan; Xia, Qingyou

    2016-01-01

    The silk gland is the only organ where silk proteins are synthesized and secreted in the silkworm, Bombyx mori. Silk proteins are stored in the lumen of the silk gland for around eight days during the fifth instar. Determining their dynamic changes is helpful for clarifying the secretion mechanism of silk proteins. Here, we identified the proteome in the silk gland lumen using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, and demonstrated its changes during two key stages. From day 5 of the fifth instar to day 1 of wandering, the abundances of fibroins, sericins, seroins, and proteins of unknown functions increased significantly in different compartments of the silk gland lumen. As a result, these accumulated proteins constituted the major cocoon components. In contrast, the abundances of enzymes and extracellular matrix proteins decreased in the silk gland lumen, suggesting that they were not the structural constituents of silk. Twenty-five enzymes may be involved in the regulation of hormone metabolism for proper silk gland function. In addition, the metabolism of other non-proteinous components such as chitin and pigment were also discussed in this study. PMID:27102218

  9. Optically switchable natural silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krasnov, Igor; Krekiehn, Nicolai R.; Krywka, Christina; Jung, Ulrich; Zillohu, Ahnaf U.; Strunskus, Thomas; Elbahri, Mady; Magnussen, Olaf M.; Müller, Martin

    2015-03-01

    An optically active bio-material is created by blending natural silk fibers with photoisomerizable chromophore molecules—azobenzenebromide (AzBr). The material converts the energy of unpolarized light directly into mechanical work with a well-defined direction of action. The feasibility of the idea to produce optically driven microsized actuators on the basis of bio-material (silk) is proven. The switching behavior of the embedded AzBr molecules was studied in terms of UV/Vis spectroscopy. To test the opto-mechanical properties of the modified fibers and the structural changes they undergo upon optically induced switching, single fiber X-ray diffraction with a micron-sized synchrotron radiation beam was combined in situ with optical switching as well as with mechanical testing and monitoring. The crystalline regions of silk are not modified by the presence of the guest molecules, hence occupy only the amorphous part of the fibers. It is shown that chromophore molecules embedded into fibers can be reversibly switched between the trans and cis conformation by illumination with light of defined wavelengths. The host fibers respond to this switching with a variation of the internal stress. The amplitude of the mechanical response is independent of the applied external stress and its characteristic time is shorter than the relaxation time of the usual mechanical response of silk.

  10. Optically switchable natural silk

    SciTech Connect

    Krasnov, Igor Müller, Martin; Krekiehn, Nicolai R.; Jung, Ulrich; Magnussen, Olaf M.; Krywka, Christina; Zillohu, Ahnaf U.; Strunskus, Thomas; Elbahri, Mady

    2015-03-02

    An optically active bio-material is created by blending natural silk fibers with photoisomerizable chromophore molecules—azobenzenebromide (AzBr). The material converts the energy of unpolarized light directly into mechanical work with a well-defined direction of action. The feasibility of the idea to produce optically driven microsized actuators on the basis of bio-material (silk) is proven. The switching behavior of the embedded AzBr molecules was studied in terms of UV/Vis spectroscopy. To test the opto-mechanical properties of the modified fibers and the structural changes they undergo upon optically induced switching, single fiber X-ray diffraction with a micron-sized synchrotron radiation beam was combined in situ with optical switching as well as with mechanical testing and monitoring. The crystalline regions of silk are not modified by the presence of the guest molecules, hence occupy only the amorphous part of the fibers. It is shown that chromophore molecules embedded into fibers can be reversibly switched between the trans and cis conformation by illumination with light of defined wavelengths. The host fibers respond to this switching with a variation of the internal stress. The amplitude of the mechanical response is independent of the applied external stress and its characteristic time is shorter than the relaxation time of the usual mechanical response of silk.

  11. Functional silk: colored and luminescent.

    PubMed

    Tansil, Natalia C; Koh, Leng Duei; Han, Ming-Yong

    2012-03-15

    Silkworm silk is among the most widely used natural fibers for textile and biomedical applications due to its extraordinary mechanical properties and superior biocompatibility. A number of physical and chemical processes have also been developed to reconstruct silk into various forms or to artificially produce silk-like materials. In addition to the direct use and the delicate replication of silk's natural structure and properties, there is a growing interest to introduce more new functionalities into silk while maintaining its advantageous intrinsic properties. In this review we assess various methods and their merits to produce functional silk, specifically those with color and luminescence, through post-processing steps as well as biological approaches. There is a highlight on intrinsically colored and luminescent silk produced directly from silkworms for a wide range of applications, and a discussion on the suitable molecular properties for being incorporated effectively into silk while it is being produced in the silk gland. With these understanding, a new generation of silk containing various functional materials (e.g., drugs, antibiotics and stimuli-sensitive dyes) would be produced for novel applications such as cancer therapy with controlled release feature, wound dressing with monitoring/sensing feature, tissue engineering scaffolds with antibacterial, anticoagulant or anti-inflammatory feature, and many others. PMID:22302383

  12. Spider genomes provide insight into composition and evolution of venom and silk.

    PubMed

    Sanggaard, Kristian W; Bechsgaard, Jesper S; Fang, Xiaodong; Duan, Jinjie; Dyrlund, Thomas F; Gupta, Vikas; Jiang, Xuanting; Cheng, Ling; Fan, Dingding; Feng, Yue; Han, Lijuan; Huang, Zhiyong; Wu, Zongze; Liao, Li; Settepani, Virginia; Thøgersen, Ida B; Vanthournout, Bram; Wang, Tobias; Zhu, Yabing; Funch, Peter; Enghild, Jan J; Schauser, Leif; Andersen, Stig U; Villesen, Palle; Schierup, Mikkel H; Bilde, Trine; Wang, Jun

    2014-01-01

    Spiders are ecologically important predators with complex venom and extraordinarily tough silk that enables capture of large prey. Here we present the assembled genome of the social velvet spider and a draft assembly of the tarantula genome that represent two major taxonomic groups of spiders. The spider genomes are large with short exons and long introns, reminiscent of mammalian genomes. Phylogenetic analyses place spiders and ticks as sister groups supporting polyphyly of the Acari. Complex sets of venom and silk genes/proteins are identified. We find that venom genes evolved by sequential duplication, and that the toxic effect of venom is most likely activated by proteases present in the venom. The set of silk genes reveals a highly dynamic gene evolution, new types of silk genes and proteins, and a novel use of aciniform silk. These insights create new opportunities for pharmacological applications of venom and biomaterial applications of silk. PMID:24801114

  13. Spider genomes provide insight into composition and evolution of venom and silk

    PubMed Central

    Sanggaard, Kristian W.; Bechsgaard, Jesper S.; Fang, Xiaodong; Duan, Jinjie; Dyrlund, Thomas F.; Gupta, Vikas; Jiang, Xuanting; Cheng, Ling; Fan, Dingding; Feng, Yue; Han, Lijuan; Huang, Zhiyong; Wu, Zongze; Liao, Li; Settepani, Virginia; Thøgersen, Ida B.; Vanthournout, Bram; Wang, Tobias; Zhu, Yabing; Funch, Peter; Enghild, Jan J.; Schauser, Leif; Andersen, Stig U.; Villesen, Palle; Schierup, Mikkel H; Bilde, Trine; Wang, Jun

    2014-01-01

    Spiders are ecologically important predators with complex venom and extraordinarily tough silk that enables capture of large prey. Here we present the assembled genome of the social velvet spider and a draft assembly of the tarantula genome that represent two major taxonomic groups of spiders. The spider genomes are large with short exons and long introns, reminiscent of mammalian genomes. Phylogenetic analyses place spiders and ticks as sister groups supporting polyphyly of the Acari. Complex sets of venom and silk genes/proteins are identified. We find that venom genes evolved by sequential duplication, and that the toxic effect of venom is most likely activated by proteases present in the venom. The set of silk genes reveals a highly dynamic gene evolution, new types of silk genes and proteins, and a novel use of aciniform silk. These insights create new opportunities for pharmacological applications of venom and biomaterial applications of silk. PMID:24801114

  14. 21 CFR 184.1262 - Corn silk and corn silk extract.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 3 2014-04-01 2014-04-01 false Corn silk and corn silk extract. 184.1262 Section... Affirmed as GRAS § 184.1262 Corn silk and corn silk extract. (a) Corn silk is the fresh styles and stigmas of Zea mays L. collected when the corn is in milk. The filaments are extracted with dilute ethanol...

  15. The Secretion Process of Liquid Silk with Nanopillar Structures from Stenopsyche marmorata (Trichoptera: Stenopsychidae)

    PubMed Central

    Hatano, Tomohiro; Nagashima, Takayuki

    2015-01-01

    Stenopsyche marmorata larvae spin underwater adhesive silk for constructing nests and capture nets. The silk can be divided into fiber and adhesive regions, according to their function. The silk fiber region has a two-layer structure: a core layer situated at the center of the fiber and S. marmorata fibroin, the major component of the silk. In the anterior part of the anterior silk gland, the morphological characteristics suggest that the silk insolubilization leading to fibrillation occurs by luminal pH neutralization. The adhesive region is composed of three layers: the outermost (OM), B, and C layers. On the B layer, coated with the OM layer, numerous nano-order pillar structures (nanopillar structures) are located at regular intervals. A nanopillar structure is approximately 40 nm in diameter and 125 nm in length. The precursor materials of the nanopillar structure are electron-dense globules of approximately 25 nm in diameter that are located in the A layer of the lumen of the middle silk gland. The precursor globules autonomously connect to one another on the B layer when the liquid silk is transported to the lumen of the bulbous region. The nanopillar structures probably contribute to the strong underwater adhesion of S. marmorata silk. PMID:25783626

  16. Recombinant DNA production of spider silk proteins

    PubMed Central

    Tokareva, Olena; Michalczechen-Lacerda, Valquíria A; Rech, Elíbio L; Kaplan, David L

    2013-01-01

    Spider dragline silk is considered to be the toughest biopolymer on Earth due to an extraordinary combination of strength and elasticity. Moreover, silks are biocompatible and biodegradable protein-based materials. Recent advances in genetic engineering make it possible to produce recombinant silks in heterologous hosts, opening up opportunities for large-scale production of recombinant silks for various biomedical and material science applications. We review the current strategies to produce recombinant spider silks. PMID:24119078

  17. Biobased silver nanocolloid coating on silk fibers for prevention of post-surgical wound infections

    PubMed Central

    Dhas, Sindhu Priya; Anbarasan, Suruthi; Mukherjee, Amitava; Chandrasekaran, Natarajan

    2015-01-01

    Bombyx mori silk fibers are an important biomaterial and are used in surgical sutures due to their remarkable biocompatibility. The major drawback to the application of biomaterials is the risk of bacterial invasion, leading to clinical complications. We have developed an easy and cost-effective method for fabrication of antibacterial silk fibers loaded with silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) by an in situ and ex situ process using an aqueous extract of Rhizophora apiculata leaf. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that well dispersed nanoparticles impregnated the silk fibers both in situ and ex situ. The crystalline nature of the AgNPs in the silk fibers was demonstrated by X-ray diffraction. The thermal and mechanical properties of the silk fibers were enhanced after they were impregnated with AgNPs. The silver-coated silk fibers fabricated by the in situ and ex situ method exhibited more than 90% inhibition against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. Silk fibers doped with AgNPs were found to be biocompatible with 3T3 fibroblasts. The results obtained represent an important advance towards the clinical application of biocompatible AgNP-loaded silk fibers for prevention of surgical wound infections. PMID:26491317

  18. Carbon nanotubes on a spider silk scaffold

    PubMed Central

    Steven, Eden; Saleh, Wasan R.; Lebedev, Victor; Acquah, Steve F. A.; Laukhin, Vladimir; Alamo, Rufina G.; Brooks, James S.

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the compatibility between spider silk and conducting materials is essential to advance the use of spider silk in electronic applications. Spider silk is tough, but becomes soft when exposed to water. Here we report a strong affinity of amine-functionalised multi-walled carbon nanotubes for spider silk, with coating assisted by a water and mechanical shear method. The nanotubes adhere uniformly and bond to the silk fibre surface to produce tough, custom-shaped, flexible and electrically conducting fibres after drying and contraction. The conductivity of coated silk fibres is reversibly sensitive to strain and humidity, leading to proof-of-concept sensor and actuator demonstrations. PMID:24022336

  19. Carbon nanotubes on a spider silk scaffold

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steven, Eden; Saleh, Wasan R.; Lebedev, Victor; Acquah, Steve F. A.; Laukhin, Vladimir; Alamo, Rufina G.; Brooks, James S.

    2013-09-01

    Understanding the compatibility between spider silk and conducting materials is essential to advance the use of spider silk in electronic applications. Spider silk is tough, but becomes soft when exposed to water. Here we report a strong affinity of amine-functionalised multi-walled carbon nanotubes for spider silk, with coating assisted by a water and mechanical shear method. The nanotubes adhere uniformly and bond to the silk fibre surface to produce tough, custom-shaped, flexible and electrically conducting fibres after drying and contraction. The conductivity of coated silk fibres is reversibly sensitive to strain and humidity, leading to proof-of-concept sensor and actuator demonstrations.

  20. Carbon nanotubes on a spider silk scaffold.

    PubMed

    Steven, Eden; Saleh, Wasan R; Lebedev, Victor; Acquah, Steve F A; Laukhin, Vladimir; Alamo, Rufina G; Brooks, James S

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the compatibility between spider silk and conducting materials is essential to advance the use of spider silk in electronic applications. Spider silk is tough, but becomes soft when exposed to water. Here we report a strong affinity of amine-functionalised multi-walled carbon nanotubes for spider silk, with coating assisted by a water and mechanical shear method. The nanotubes adhere uniformly and bond to the silk fibre surface to produce tough, custom-shaped, flexible and electrically conducting fibres after drying and contraction. The conductivity of coated silk fibres is reversibly sensitive to strain and humidity, leading to proof-of-concept sensor and actuator demonstrations. PMID:24022336

  1. Mechanical Improvements to Reinforced Porous Silk Scaffolds

    PubMed Central

    Gil, Eun Seok; Kluge, Jonathan A.; Rockwood, Danielle N.; Rajkhowa, Rangam; Wang, Lijing; Wang, Xungai; Kaplan, David L

    2012-01-01

    Load bearing porous biodegradable scaffolds are required to engineer functional tissues such as bone. Mechanical improvements to porogen leached scaffolds prepared from silk proteins were systematically studied through the addition of silk particles in combination with silk solution concentration, exploiting interfacial compatibility between the two components. Solvent solutions of silk up to 32 w/v% were successfully prepared in hexafluoroisopropanaol (HFIP) for the study. The mechanical properties of the reinforced silk scaffolds correlated to the material density and matched by a power law relationship, independent of the ratio of silk particles to matrix. These results were similar to the relationships previously shown for cancellous bone. The mechanism behind the increased mechanical properties was a densification effect, and not the effect of including stiffer silk particles into the softer silk continuous matrix. A continuous interface between the silk matrix and the silk particles, as well as homogeneous distribution of the silk particles within the matrix were observed. Furthermore, we note that the roughness of the pore walls was controllable by varying the ratio of particles matrix, providing a route to control topography. The rate of proteolytic hydrolysis of the scaffolds decreased with increase in mass of silk used in the matrix and with increasing silk particle content. PMID:21793193

  2. Visual responses of corn silk flies (Diptera: Ulidiidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Corn silk flies are major pests impacting fresh market sweet corn production in Florida and Georgia. Control depends solely on well-times applications of insecticides to protect corn ear development. Surveillance depends on visual inspection of ears with no effective trapping methods currently ava...

  3. Optically probing torsional superelasticity in spider silks

    SciTech Connect

    Kumar, Bhupesh; Thakur, Ashish; Panda, Biswajit; Singh, Kamal P.

    2013-11-11

    We investigate torsion mechanics of various spider silks using a sensitive optical technique. We find that spider silks are torsionally superelastic in that they can reversibly withstand great torsion strains of over 10{sup 2−3} rotations per cm before failure. Among various silks from a spider, we find the failure twist-strain is greatest in the sticky capture silk followed by dragline and egg-case silk. Our in situ laser-diffraction measurements reveal that torsional strains on the silks induce a nano-scale transverse compression in its diameter that is linear and reversible. These unique torsional properties of the silks could find applications in silk-based materials and devices.

  4. Optically probing torsional superelasticity in spider silks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kumar, Bhupesh; Thakur, Ashish; Panda, Biswajit; Singh, Kamal P.

    2013-11-01

    We investigate torsion mechanics of various spider silks using a sensitive optical technique. We find that spider silks are torsionally superelastic in that they can reversibly withstand great torsion strains of over 102-3 rotations per cm before failure. Among various silks from a spider, we find the failure twist-strain is greatest in the sticky capture silk followed by dragline and egg-case silk. Our in situ laser-diffraction measurements reveal that torsional strains on the silks induce a nano-scale transverse compression in its diameter that is linear and reversible. These unique torsional properties of the silks could find applications in silk-based materials and devices.

  5. In vitro phosphorylation as tool for modification of silk and keratin fibrous materials.

    PubMed

    Volkov, Vadim; Cavaco-Paulo, Artur

    2016-05-01

    An overview is given of the recent work on in vitro enzymatic phosphorylation of silk fibroin and human hair keratin. Opposing to many chemical "conventional" approaches, enzymatic phosphorylation is in fact a mild reaction and the treatment falls within "green chemistry" approach. Silk and keratin are not phosphorylated in vivo, but in vitro. This enzyme-driven modification is a major technological breakthrough. Harsh chemical chemicals are avoided, and mild conditions make enzymatic phosphorylation a real "green chemistry" approach. The current communication presents a novel approach stating that enzyme phosphorylation may be used as a tool to modify the surface charge of biocompatible materials such as keratin and silk. PMID:27075736

  6. Biocompatible silk step-index optical waveguides

    PubMed Central

    Applegate, Matthew B.; Perotto, Giovanni; Kaplan, David L.; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G.

    2015-01-01

    Biocompatible optical waveguides were constructed entirely of silk fibroin. A silk film (n=1.54) was encapsulated within a silk hydrogel (n=1.34) to form a robust and biocompatible waveguide. Such waveguides were made using only biologically and environmentally friendly materials without the use of harsh solvents. Light was coupled into the silk waveguides by direct incorporation of a glass optical fiber. These waveguides are extremely flexible, and strong enough to survive handling and manipulation. Cutback measurements showed propagation losses of approximately 2 dB/cm. The silk waveguides were found to be capable of guiding light through biological tissue. PMID:26600988

  7. Effect of silk protein processing on drug delivery from silk films.

    PubMed

    Pritchard, Eleanor M; Hu, Xiao; Finley, Violet; Kuo, Catherine K; Kaplan, David L

    2013-03-01

    Sericin removal from the core fibroin protein of silkworm silk is a critical first step in the use of silk for biomaterial-related applications, but degumming can affect silk biomaterial properties, including molecular weight, viscosity, diffusivity and degradation behavior. Increasing the degumming time (10, 30, 60, and 90 min) decreases the average molecular weight of silk protein in solution, silk solution viscosity, and silk film glass-transition temperature, and increases the rate of degradation of a silk film by protease. Model compounds spanning a range of physical-chemical properties generally show an inverse relationship between degumming time and release rate through a varied degumming time silk coating. Degumming provides a useful control point to manipulate silk's material properties. PMID:23349062

  8. Modifying the Mechanical Properties of Silk Fiber by Genetically Disrupting the Ionic Environment for Silk Formation.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xin; Zhao, Ping; Li, Yi; Yi, Qiying; Ma, Sanyuan; Xie, Kang; Chen, Huifang; Xia, Qingyou

    2015-10-12

    Silks are widely used biomaterials, but there are still weaknesses in their mechanical properties. Here we report a method for improving the silk fiber mechanical properties by genetic disruption of the ionic environment for silk fiber formation. An anterior silk gland (ASG) specific promoter was identified and used for overexpressing ion-transporting protein in the ASG of silkworm. After isolation of the transgenic silkworms, we found that the metal ion content, conformation and mechanical properties of transgenic silk fibers changed accordingly. Notably, overexpressing endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase in ASG decreased the calcium content of silks. As a consequence, silk fibers had more α-helix and β-sheet conformations, and their tenacity and extension increased significantly. These findings represent the in vivo demonstration of a correlation between metal ion content in the spinning duct and the mechanical properties of silk fibers, thus providing a novel method for modifying silk fiber properties. PMID:26302212

  9. Analytical markers for silk degradation: comparing historic silk and silk artificially aged in different environments.

    PubMed

    Vilaplana, Francisco; Nilsson, Johanna; Sommer, Dorte V P; Karlsson, Sigbritt

    2015-02-01

    Suitable analytical markers to assess the degree of degradation of historic silk textiles at molecular and macroscopic levels have been identified and compared with silk textiles aged artificially in different environments, namely (i) ultraviolet (UV) exposure, (ii) thermo-oxidation, (iii) controlled humidity and (iv) pH. The changes at the molecular level in the amino acid composition, the formation of oxidative moieties, crystallinity and molecular weight correlate well with the changes in the macroscopic properties such as brightness, pH and mechanical properties. These analytical markers are useful to understand the degradation mechanisms that silk textiles undergo under different degradation environments, involving oxidation processes, hydrolysis, chain scission and physical arrangements. Thermo-oxidation at high temperatures proves to be the accelerated ageing procedure producing silk samples that most resembled the degree of degradation of early seventeenth-century silk. These analytical markers will be valuable to support the textile conservation tasks currently being performed in museums to preserve our heritage. PMID:25492090

  10. Silks produced by insect labial glands.

    PubMed

    Sehnal, Frantisek; Sutherland, Tara

    2008-01-01

    Insect silks are secreted from diverse gland types; this chapter deals with the silks produced by labial glands of Holometabola (insects with pupa in their life cycle). Labial silk glands are composed of a few tens or hundreds of large polyploid cells that secrete polymerizing proteins which are stored in the gland lumen as a semi-liquid gel. Polymerization is based on weak molecular interactions between repetitive amino acid motifs present in one or more silk proteins; cross-linking by disulfide bonds may be important in the silks spun under water. The mechanism of long-term storage of the silk dope inside the glands and its conversion into the silk fiber during spinning is not fully understood. The conversion occurs within seconds at ambient temperature and pressure, under minimal drawing force and in some cases under water. The silk filament is largely built of proteins called fibroins and in Lepidoptera and Trichoptera coated by glue-type proteins known as sericins. Silks often contain small amounts of additional proteins of poorly known function. The silk components controlling dope storage and filament formation seem to be conserved at the level of orders, while the nature of polymerizing motifs in the fibroins, which determine the physical properties of silk, differ at the level of family and even genus. Most silks are based on fibroin beta-sheets interrupted with other structures such as alpha-helices but the silk proteins of certain sawflies have predominantly a collagen-like or polyglycine II arrangement and the silks of social Hymenoptera are formed from proteins in a coiled coil arrangement. PMID:19221523

  11. Preparation and mechanical properties of layers made of recombinant spider silk proteins and silk from silk worm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Junghans, F.; Morawietz, M.; Conrad, U.; Scheibel, T.; Heilmann, A.; Spohn, U.

    2006-02-01

    Layers of recombinant spider silks and native silks from silk worms were prepared by spin-coating and casting of various solutions. FT-IR spectra were recorded to investigate the influence of the different mechanical stress occurring during the preparation of the silk layers. The solubility of the recombinant spider silk proteins SO1-ELP, C16, AQ24NR3, and of the silk fibroin from Bombyx mori were investigated in hexafluorisopropanol, ionic liquids and concentrated salt solutions. The morphology and thickness of the layers were determined by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) or with a profilometer. The mechanical behaviour was investigated by acoustic impedance analysis by using a quartz crystal microbalance (QCMB) as well as by microindentation. The density of silk layers (d<300 nm) was determined based on AFM and QCMB measurements. At silk layers thicker than 300 nm significant changes of the half-band-half width can be correlated with increasing energy dissipation. Microhardness measurements demonstrate that recombinant spider silk and sericine-free Bombyx mori silk layers achieve higher elastic penetration modules EEP and Martens hardness values HM than those of polyethylenterephthalate (PET) and polyetherimide (PEI) foils.

  12. Viscous Friction between Crystalline and Amorphous Phase of Dragline Silk

    PubMed Central

    Patil, Sandeep P.; Xiao, Senbo; Gkagkas, Konstantinos; Markert, Bernd; Gräter, Frauke

    2014-01-01

    The hierarchical structure of spider dragline silk is composed of two major constituents, the amorphous phase and crystalline units, and its mechanical response has been attributed to these prime constituents. Silk mechanics, however, might also be influenced by the resistance against sliding of these two phases relative to each other under load. We here used atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to obtain friction forces for the relative sliding of the amorphous phase and crystalline units of Araneus diadematus spider silk. We computed the coefficient of viscosity of this interface to be in the order of 102 Ns/m2 by extrapolating our simulation data to the viscous limit. Interestingly, this value is two orders of magnitude smaller than the coefficient of viscosity within the amorphous phase. This suggests that sliding along a planar and homogeneous surface of straight polyalanine chains is much less hindered than within entangled disordered chains. Finally, in a simple finite element model, which is based on parameters determined from MD simulations including the newly deduced coefficient of viscosity, we assessed the frictional behavior between these two components for the experimental range of relative pulling velocities. We found that a perfectly relative horizontal motion has no significant resistance against sliding, however, slightly inclined loading causes measurable resistance. Our analysis paves the way towards a finite element model of silk fibers in which crystalline units can slide, move and rearrange themselves in the fiber during loading. PMID:25119288

  13. Judaism and the Silk Route.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Foltz, Richard

    1998-01-01

    Demonstrates that the Judeans traveled along the Ancient Silk Route. Discusses the Iranian influence on the formation of Jewish religious ideas. Considers the development of Jewish trade networks, focusing on the Radanites (Jewish traders), the Jewish presence in the Far East, and the survival of Judaism in central Asia. (CMK)

  14. Lithium-free processing of silk fibroin.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Zhaozhu; Guo, Shaozhe; Liu, Yawen; Wu, Jianbing; Li, Gang; Liu, Meng; Wang, Xiaoqin; Kaplan, David

    2016-09-01

    Silk fibroin protein was purified from Bombyx mori silkworm cocoons using a novel dialysis strategy to avoid fibroin aggregation and pre-mature formation of β-sheets. The degummed silk fibers were dissolved in Ajisawa's reagent, a mixture of CaCl2-EtOH-H2O, that is less expensive than lithium bromide. The dissolved solutions were dialyzed against either water or urea solution with a stepwise decrease in concentration. When the steps of 4 M-2 M-1 M-0 M urea (referred to as silk-TS-4210) were adopted, the purified silk fibroin had smaller aggregates (<10 nm), similar average molecular weight (225 kDa) and a lower content of β-sheet (∼15%) compared to the sample processing methods (silk-TS-210, 10, 0) studied here. This outcome was close to the fibroin purified by the lithium bromide (silk-Li-0) method. Polyvinyl alcohol-emulsified silk microspheres generated using the purified solution had a similar size distribution and morphology when compared to lithium bromide dissolved solutions, while glycerol-blended silk films showed different mechanical properties. The silk-Li-0 generated films with the highest breaking strength (5.7 MPa ± 0.3) while the silk-TS-4210 had the highest extension at break (215.1% ± 12.5). The films prepared from silk-TS-4210 were cytocompatible to support the adhesion and proliferation of human mesenchymal stem cells, with improvements compared to the other samples likely due to the porous morphology of these films. PMID:27298185

  15. Formulation of Biologically-Inspired Silk-Based Drug Carriers for Pulmonary Delivery Targeted for Lung Cancer.

    PubMed

    Kim, Sally Yunsun; Naskar, Deboki; Kundu, Subhas C; Bishop, David P; Doble, Philip A; Boddy, Alan V; Chan, Hak-Kim; Wall, Ivan B; Chrzanowski, Wojciech

    2015-01-01

    The benefits of using silk fibroin, a major protein in silk, are widely established in many biomedical applications including tissue regeneration, bioactive coating and in vitro tissue models. The properties of silk such as biocompatibility and controlled degradation are utilized in this study to formulate for the first time as carriers for pulmonary drug delivery. Silk fibroin particles are spray dried or spray-freeze-dried to enable the delivery to the airways via dry powder inhalers. The addition of excipients such as mannitol is optimized for both the stabilization of protein during the spray-freezing process as well as for efficient dispersion using an in vitro aerosolisation impactor. Cisplatin is incorporated into the silk-based formulations with or without cross-linking, which show different release profiles. The particles show high aerosolisation performance through the measurement of in vitro lung deposition, which is at the level of commercially available dry powder inhalers. The silk-based particles are shown to be cytocompatible with A549 human lung epithelial cell line. The cytotoxicity of cisplatin is demonstrated to be enhanced when delivered using the cross-linked silk-based particles. These novel inhalable silk-based drug carriers have the potential to be used as anti-cancer drug delivery systems targeted for the lungs. PMID:26234773

  16. Genetic fusion of single-chain variable fragments to partial spider silk improves target detection in micro- and nanoarrays.

    PubMed

    Thatikonda, Naresh; Delfani, Payam; Jansson, Ronnie; Petersson, Linn; Lindberg, Diana; Wingren, Christer; Hedhammar, My

    2016-03-01

    Immobilizing biomolecules with retained functionality and stability on solid supports is crucial for generation of sensitive immunoassays. However, upon use of conventional immobilization strategies, a major portion of the biomolecules (e.g. antibodies) frequently tends to lose their bioactivity. In this study, we describe a procedure to immobilize human single-chain variable fragment (scFv) via genetic fusion to partial spider silk, which have a high tendency to adhere to solid supports. Two scFvs, directed towards serum proteins, were genetically fused to partial spider silk proteins and expressed as silk fusion proteins in E. coli. Antigen binding ability of scFvs attached to a partial silk protein denoted RC was investigated using microarray analysis, whereas scFvs fused to the NC silk variant were examined using nanoarrays. Results from micro- and nanoarrays confirmed the functionality of scFvs attached to both RC and NC silk, and also for binding of targets in crude serum. Furthermore, the same amount of added scFv gives higher signal intensity when immobilized via partial spider silk compared to when immobilized alone. Together, the results suggest that usage of scFv-silk fusion proteins in immunoassays could improve target detection, in the long run enabling novel biomarkers to be detected in crude serum proteomes. PMID:26470853

  17. Formulation of Biologically-Inspired Silk-Based Drug Carriers for Pulmonary Delivery Targeted for Lung Cancer

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Sally Yunsun; Naskar, Deboki; Kundu, Subhas C.; Bishop, David P.; Doble, Philip A.; Boddy, Alan V.; Chan, Hak-Kim; Wall, Ivan B.; Chrzanowski, Wojciech

    2015-01-01

    The benefits of using silk fibroin, a major protein in silk, are widely established in many biomedical applications including tissue regeneration, bioactive coating and in vitro tissue models. The properties of silk such as biocompatibility and controlled degradation are utilized in this study to formulate for the first time as carriers for pulmonary drug delivery. Silk fibroin particles are spray dried or spray-freeze-dried to enable the delivery to the airways via dry powder inhalers. The addition of excipients such as mannitol is optimized for both the stabilization of protein during the spray-freezing process as well as for efficient dispersion using an in vitro aerosolisation impactor. Cisplatin is incorporated into the silk-based formulations with or without cross-linking, which show different release profiles. The particles show high aerosolisation performance through the measurement of in vitro lung deposition, which is at the level of commercially available dry powder inhalers. The silk-based particles are shown to be cytocompatible with A549 human lung epithelial cell line. The cytotoxicity of cisplatin is demonstrated to be enhanced when delivered using the cross-linked silk-based particles. These novel inhalable silk-based drug carriers have the potential to be used as anti-cancer drug delivery systems targeted for the lungs. PMID:26234773

  18. Sunlight-Induced Coloration of Silk.

    PubMed

    Yao, Ya; Tang, Bin; Chen, Wu; Sun, Lu; Wang, Xungai

    2016-12-01

    Silk fabrics were colored by gold nanoparticles (NPs) that were in situ synthesized through the induction of sunlight. Owing to the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) of gold NPs, the treated silk fabrics presented vivid colors. The photo-induced synthesis of gold NPs was also realized on wet silk through adsorbing gold ions out of solution, which provides a water-saving coloration method for textiles. Besides, the patterning of silk was feasible using this simple sunlight-induced coloration approach. The key factors of coloration including gold ion concentration, pH value, and irradiation time were investigated. Moreover, it was demonstrated that either ultraviolet (UV) light or visible light could induce the generation of gold NPs on silk fabrics. The silk fabrics with gold NPs exhibited high light resistance including great UV-blocking property and excellent fastness to sunlight. PMID:27297220

  19. Thromboelastometric and platelet responses to silk biomaterials

    PubMed Central

    Kundu, Banani; Schlimp, Christoph J.; Nürnberger, Sylvia; Redl, Heinz; Kundu, S. C.

    2014-01-01

    Silkworm's silk is natural biopolymer with unique properties including mechanical robustness, all aqueous base processing and ease in fabrication into different multifunctional templates. Additionally, the nonmulberry silks have cell adhesion promoting tri-peptide (RGD) sequences, which make it an immensely potential platform for regenerative medicine. The compatibility of nonmulberry silk with human blood is still elusive; thereby, restricts its further application as implants. The present study, therefore, evaluate the haematocompatibility of silk biomaterials in terms of platelet interaction after exposure to nonmulberry silk of Antheraea mylitta using thromboelastometry (ROTEM). The mulberry silk of Bombyx mori and clinically used Uni-Graft W biomaterial serve as references. Shortened clotting time, clot formation times as well as enhanced clot strength indicate the platelet mediated activation of blood coagulation cascade by tested biomaterials; which is comparable to controls. PMID:24824624

  20. Sunlight-Induced Coloration of Silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yao, Ya; Tang, Bin; Chen, Wu; Sun, Lu; Wang, Xungai

    2016-06-01

    Silk fabrics were colored by gold nanoparticles (NPs) that were in situ synthesized through the induction of sunlight. Owing to the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) of gold NPs, the treated silk fabrics presented vivid colors. The photo-induced synthesis of gold NPs was also realized on wet silk through adsorbing gold ions out of solution, which provides a water-saving coloration method for textiles. Besides, the patterning of silk was feasible using this simple sunlight-induced coloration approach. The key factors of coloration including gold ion concentration, pH value, and irradiation time were investigated. Moreover, it was demonstrated that either ultraviolet (UV) light or visible light could induce the generation of gold NPs on silk fabrics. The silk fabrics with gold NPs exhibited high light resistance including great UV-blocking property and excellent fastness to sunlight.

  1. The elaborate structure of spider silk

    PubMed Central

    Römer, Lin

    2008-01-01

    Biomaterials, having evolved over millions of years, often exceed man-made materials in their properties. Spider silk is one outstanding fibrous biomaterial which consists almost entirely of large proteins. Silk fibers have tensile strengths comparable to steel and some silks are nearly as elastic as rubber on a weight to weight basis. In combining these two properties, silks reveal a toughness that is two to three times that of synthetic fibers like Nylon or Kevlar. Spider silk is also antimicrobial, hypoallergenic and completely biodegradable. This article focuses on the structure-function relationship of the characterized highly repetitive spider silk spidroins and their conformational conversion from solution into fibers. Such knowedge is of crucial importance to understanding the intrinsic properties of spider silk and to get insight into the sophisticated assembly processes of silk proteins. This review further outlines recent progress in recombinant production of spider silk proteins and their assembly into distinct polymer materials as a basis for novel products. PMID:19221522

  2. Strength and structure of spiders' silks.

    PubMed

    Vollrath, F

    2000-08-01

    Spider silks are composite materials with often complex microstructures. They are spun from liquid crystalline dope using a complicated spinning mechanism which gives the animal considerable control. The material properties of finished silk are modified by the effects of water and other solvents, and spiders make use of this to produce fibres with specific qualities. The surprising sophistication of spider silks and spinning technologies makes it imperative for us to understand both material and manufacturing in nature before embarking on the commercialization of biotechnologically modified silk dope. PMID:11763504

  3. Functionalized silk biomaterials for wound healing.

    PubMed

    Gil, Eun Seok; Panilaitis, Bruce; Bellas, Evangelia; Kaplan, David L

    2013-01-01

    Silk protein-biomaterial wound dressings with epidermal growth factor (EGF) and silver sulfadiazine were studied with a cutaneous excisional mouse wound model. Three different material designs and two different drug incorporation techniques were studied to compare wound healing responses. Material formats included silk films, lamellar porous silk films and electrospun silk nanofibers, each studied with the silk matrix alone and with drug loading or drug coatings on the silk matrices. Changes in wound size and histological assessments of wound tissues showed that the functionalized silk biomaterial wound dressings increased wound healing rate, including reepithelialization, dermis proliferation, collagen synthesis and reduced scar formation, when compared to air-permeable Tegaderm tape (3M) (- control) and a commercial wound dressing, Tegaderm Hydrocolloid dressing (3M) (+ control). All silk biomaterials were effective for wound healing, while the lamellar porous films and electrospun nanofibers and the incorporation of EGF/silver sulfadiazine, via drug loading or coating, provided the most rapid wound healing responses. This systematic approach to evaluating functionalized silk biomaterial wound dressings demonstrates a useful strategy to select formulations for further study towards new treatment options for chronic wounds. PMID:23184644

  4. Mechanical properties of regenerated Bombyx mori silk fibers and recombinant silk fibers produced by transgenic silkworms.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Zhenghua; Kikuchi, Yuka; Kojima, Katsura; Tamura, Toshiki; Kuwabara, Nobuo; Nakamura, Takashi; Asakura, Tetsuo

    2010-01-01

    Regenerated silk fibroin fibers from the cocoons of silkworm, Bombyx mori, were prepared with hexafluoro solvents, 1,1,1,3,3,3-hexafluoro-2-propanol (HFIP) or hexafluoroacetone-trihydrate (HFA), as dope solvents and methanol as coagulation solvent. The regenerated fiber prepared from the HFIP solution showed slightly larger tensile strength when the draw ratio is 1:3 than that of native silk fiber, but the strength of the regenerated fiber with draw ratio 1:3 from the HFA solution is much lower than that of native silk fiber. This difference in the tensile strength of the regenerated silk fibers between two dope solvents comes from the difference in the long-range orientation of the crystalline region rather than that of short-range structural environment such as the fraction of beta-sheet structure. The increase in the biodegradation was observed for the regenerated silk fiber compared with native silk fiber. Preparations of regenerated silk fibroin fibers containing spider silk sequences were obtained by mixing silk fibroins and silk-like proteins with characteristic sequences from a spider, Naphila clavipes, to produce drag-line silk in E. coli in the fluoro solvents. A small increase in the tensile strength was obtained by adding 5% (w/w) of the silk-like protein to the silk fibroin. The production of silk fibroin fibers with these spider silk sequences was also performed with transgenic silkworms. Small increase in the tensile strength of the fibers was obtained without significant change in the elongation-at-break. PMID:20178693

  5. Novel molecular and mechanical properties of egg case silk from wasp spider, Argiope bruennichi.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Ai-Chun; Zhao, Tian-Fu; Nakagaki, Koichi; Zhang, Yuan-Song; Sima, Yang-Hu; Miao, Yun-Gen; Shiomi, Kunihiro; Kajiura, Zenta; Nagata, Yoko; Takadera, Masayuki; Nakagaki, Masao

    2006-03-14

    Araneoid spiders use specialized abdominal glands to produce up to seven different protein-based silks/glues that have various mechanical properties. To date, the fibroin sequences encoding egg case fibers have not been fully determined. To gain further understanding of a recently reported spider silk protein gene family, several novel strategies were utilized in this study to isolate two full-length cDNAs of egg case silk proteins, cylindrical silk protein 1 (CySp1, 9.1 kb) and cylindrical silk protein 2 (CySp2, 9.8 kb), from the wasp spider, Argiope bruennichi. Northern blotting analysis demonstrated that CySp1 and CySp2 are selectively expressed in the cylindrical glands. The amino acid composition of raw egg case silk was closely consistent with the deduced amino acid composition based on the sequences of CySp1 and CySp2, which supports the assertion that CySp1 and CySp2 represent two major components of egg case silk. CySp1 and CySp2 are primarily composed of remarkable homogeneous assemble repeats that are 180 residues in length and consist of several complex subrepeats, and they contain highly homologous C-termini and markedly different N-termini. Our results suggest a possible link between CySp1 and CySp2. In addition, comparisons of stress/strain curves for dragline and egg case silk from Argiope bruennichi showed obvious differences in ultimate strength and extensibility, and similarities in toughness. PMID:16519529

  6. Luminescent golden silk and fabric through in situ chemically coating pristine-silk with gold nanoclusters.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Pu; Lan, Jing; Wang, Yi; Xiong, Zu Hong; Huang, Cheng Zhi

    2015-01-01

    Silk is an excellent natural material and has been used for a variety of applications. Modification of the pristine silk is usually needed depending on the intended purpose. The technical treatments involved in the modification not only should be easy, rapid, environmentally friendly, and cheap but should also retain the features of the pristine silk. Herein, we demonstrate that luminescent silk and fabric can be produced through nanotechnology. The surface of the natural silk fiber is chemically coated with luminescent gold nanoclusters (AuNCs) composed of tens to hundreds of Au atoms through a redox reaction between the protein-based silk and an Au salt precursor. The luminescent silk coated with AuNCs (called golden silk) possesses good optical properties, including a relatively long wavelength emission, high quantum yields, a long fluorescent lifetime, and photostability. Moreover, golden silk prepared this way has better mechanical properties than pristine silk, is better able to inhibit UV, and has lower toxicity in vitro. This work not only provides an effective strategy for in situ preparation of luminescent metal nanoclusters on a solid substrate but also paves the way for large-scale and industrialized production of novel silk-based materials or fabrics through nanotechnology. PMID:25308521

  7. Effect of silk protein surfactant on silk degumming and its properties.

    PubMed

    Wang, Fei; Cao, Ting-Ting; Zhang, Yu-Qing

    2015-10-01

    The silk protein surfactant (SPS) first used as a silk degumming agent in this study is an amino acid-type anionic surfactant that was synthesized using silk fibroin amino acids and lauroyl chloride. We studied it systematically in comparison with the traditional degumming methods such as sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) and neutral soap (NS). The experimental results showed that the sericin can be completely removed from the silk fibroin fiber after boiling the fibers three times for 30 min and using a bath ratio of 1:80 (g/mL) and a concentration of 0.2% SPS in an aqueous solution. The results of the tensile properties, thermal analysis, and SEM all show that SPS is similar to the NS, far superior to Na2CO3. In short, SPS may be used as an environmentally friendly silk degumming/refining agent in the silk textile industry and in the manufacture of silk floss quilts. PMID:26117747

  8. Tissue Regeneration: A Silk Road.

    PubMed

    Jao, Dave; Mou, Xiaoyang; Hu, Xiao

    2016-01-01

    Silk proteins are natural biopolymers that have extensive structural possibilities for chemical and mechanical modifications to facilitate novel properties, functions, and applications in the biomedical field. The versatile processability of silk fibroins (SF) into different forms such as gels, films, foams, membranes, scaffolds, and nanofibers makes it appealing in a variety of applications that require mechanically superior, biocompatible, biodegradable, and functionalizable biomaterials. There is no doubt that nature is the world's best biological engineer, with simple, exquisite but powerful designs that have inspired novel technologies. By understanding the surface interaction of silk materials with living cells, unique characteristics can be implemented through structural modifications, such as controllable wettability, high-strength adhesiveness, and reflectivity properties, suggesting its potential suitability for surgical, optical, and other biomedical applications. All of the interesting features of SF, such as tunable biodegradation, anti-bacterial properties, and mechanical properties combined with potential self-healing modifications, make it ideal for future tissue engineering applications. In this review, we first demonstrate the current understanding of the structures and mechanical properties of SF and the various functionalizations of SF matrices through chemical and physical manipulations. Then the diverse applications of SF architectures and scaffolds for different regenerative medicine will be discussed in detail, including their current applications in bone, eye, nerve, skin, tendon, ligament, and cartilage regeneration. PMID:27527229

  9. Silk film biomaterials for ocular surface repair

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lawrence, Brian David

    Current biomaterial approaches for repairing the cornea's ocular surface upon injury are partially effective due to inherent material limitations. As a result there is a need to expand the biomaterial options available for use in the eye, which in turn will help to expand new clinical innovations and technology development. The studies illustrated here are a collection of work to further characterize silk film biomaterials for use on the ocular surface. Silk films were produced from regenerated fibroin protein solution derived from the Bombyx mori silkworm cocoon. Methods of silk film processing and production were developed to produce consistent biomaterials for in vitro and in vivo evaluation. A wide range of experiments was undertaken that spanned from in vitro silk film material characterization to in vivo evaluation. It was found that a variety of silk film properties could be controlled through a water-annealing process. Silk films were then generated that could be use in vitro to produce stratified corneal epithelial cell sheets comparable to tissue grown on the clinical standard substrate of amniotic membrane. This understanding was translated to produce a silk film design that enhanced corneal healing in vivo on a rabbit injury model. Further work produced silk films with varying surface topographies that were used as a simplified analog to the corneal basement membrane surface in vitro. These studies demonstrated that silk film surface topography is capable of directing corneal epithelial cell attachment, growth, and migration response. Most notably epithelial tissue development was controllably directed by the presence of the silk surface topography through increasing cell sheet migration efficiency at the individual cellular level. Taken together, the presented findings represent a comprehensive characterization of silk film biomaterials for use in ocular surface reconstruction, and indicate their utility as a potential material choice in the

  10. Ovary Apical Abortion under Water Deficit Is Caused by Changes in Sequential Development of Ovaries and in Silk Growth Rate in Maize.

    PubMed

    Oury, Vincent; Tardieu, François; Turc, Olivier

    2016-06-01

    Grain abortion allows the production of at least a few viable seeds under water deficit but causes major yield loss. It is maximum for water deficits occurring during flowering in maize (Zea mays). We have tested the hypothesis that abortion is linked to the differential development of ovary cohorts along the ear and to the timing of silk emergence. Ovary volume and silk growth were followed over 25 to 30 d under four levels of water deficit and in four hybrids in two experiments. A position-time model allowed characterizing the development of ovary cohorts and their silk emergence. Silk growth rate decreased in water deficit and stopped 2 to 3 d after first silk emergence, simultaneously for all ovary cohorts, versus 7 to 8 d in well-watered plants. Abortion rate in different treatments and positions on the ear was not associated with ovary growth rate. It was accounted for by the superposition of (1) the sequential emergence of silks originating from ovaries of different cohorts along the ear with (2) one event occurring on a single day, the simultaneous silk growth arrest. Abortion occurred in the youngest ovaries whose silks did not emerge 2 d before silk arrest. This mechanism accounted for more than 90% of drought-related abortion in our experiments. It resembles the control of abortion in a large range of species and inflorescence architectures. This finding has large consequences for breeding drought-tolerant maize and for modeling grain yields in water deficit. PMID:26598464

  11. Ovary Apical Abortion under Water Deficit Is Caused by Changes in Sequential Development of Ovaries and in Silk Growth Rate in Maize1[OPEN

    PubMed Central

    Tardieu, François

    2016-01-01

    Grain abortion allows the production of at least a few viable seeds under water deficit but causes major yield loss. It is maximum for water deficits occurring during flowering in maize (Zea mays). We have tested the hypothesis that abortion is linked to the differential development of ovary cohorts along the ear and to the timing of silk emergence. Ovary volume and silk growth were followed over 25 to 30 d under four levels of water deficit and in four hybrids in two experiments. A position-time model allowed characterizing the development of ovary cohorts and their silk emergence. Silk growth rate decreased in water deficit and stopped 2 to 3 d after first silk emergence, simultaneously for all ovary cohorts, versus 7 to 8 d in well-watered plants. Abortion rate in different treatments and positions on the ear was not associated with ovary growth rate. It was accounted for by the superposition of (1) the sequential emergence of silks originating from ovaries of different cohorts along the ear with (2) one event occurring on a single day, the simultaneous silk growth arrest. Abortion occurred in the youngest ovaries whose silks did not emerge 2 d before silk arrest. This mechanism accounted for more than 90% of drought-related abortion in our experiments. It resembles the control of abortion in a large range of species and inflorescence architectures. This finding has large consequences for breeding drought-tolerant maize and for modeling grain yields in water deficit. PMID:26598464

  12. Stability of Silk and Collagen Protein Materials in Space

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Xiao; Raja, Waseem K.; An, Bo; Tokareva, Olena; Cebe, Peggy; Kaplan, David L.

    2013-01-01

    Collagen and silk materials, in neat forms and as silica composites, were flown for 18 months on the International Space Station [Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE)-6] to assess the impact of space radiation on structure and function. As natural biomaterials, the impact of the space environment on films of these proteins was investigated to understand fundamental changes in structure and function related to the future utility in materials and medicine in space environments. About 15% of the film surfaces were etched by heavy ionizing particles such as atomic oxygen, the major component of the low-Earth orbit space environment. Unexpectedly, more than 80% of the silk and collagen materials were chemically crosslinked by space radiation. These findings are critical for designing next-generation biocompatible materials for contact with living systems in space environments, where the effects of heavy ionizing particles and other cosmic radiation need to be considered. PMID:24305951

  13. Stability of silk and collagen protein materials in space.

    PubMed

    Hu, Xiao; Raja, Waseem K; An, Bo; Tokareva, Olena; Cebe, Peggy; Kaplan, David L

    2013-01-01

    Collagen and silk materials, in neat forms and as silica composites, were flown for 18 months on the International Space Station [Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE)-6] to assess the impact of space radiation on structure and function. As natural biomaterials, the impact of the space environment on films of these proteins was investigated to understand fundamental changes in structure and function related to the future utility in materials and medicine in space environments. About 15% of the film surfaces were etched by heavy ionizing particles such as atomic oxygen, the major component of the low-Earth orbit space environment. Unexpectedly, more than 80% of the silk and collagen materials were chemically crosslinked by space radiation. These findings are critical for designing next-generation biocompatible materials for contact with living systems in space environments, where the effects of heavy ionizing particles and other cosmic radiation need to be considered. PMID:24305951

  14. 21 CFR 878.5030 - Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2011-04-01 2011-04-01 false Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture. 878... Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture. (a) Identification. Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture... Bombycidae. Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture is indicated for use in soft tissue...

  15. 21 CFR 878.5030 - Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2010-04-01 2010-04-01 false Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture. 878... Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture. (a) Identification. Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture... Bombycidae. Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture is indicated for use in soft tissue...

  16. Phosphorylated silk fibroin matrix for methotrexate release.

    PubMed

    Volkov, Vadim; Sárria, Marisa P; Gomes, Andreia C; Cavaco-Paulo, Artur

    2015-01-01

    Silk-based matrix was produced for delivery of a model anticancer drug, methotrexate (MTX). The calculation of net charge of silk fibroin and MTX was performed to better understand the electrostatic interactions during matrix formation upon casting. Silk fibroin films were cast at pH 7.2 and pH 3.5. Protein kinase A was used to prepare phosphorylated silk fibroin. The phosphorylation content of matrix was controlled by mixing at specific ratios the phosphorylated and unphosphorylated solutions. In vitro release profiling data suggest that the observed interactions are mainly structural and not electrostatical. The release of MTX is facilitated by use of proteolytic enzymes and higher pHs. The elevated β-sheet content and crystallinity of the acidified-cast fibroin solution seem not to favor drug retention. All the acquired data underline the prevalence of structural interactions over electrostatical interactions between methotrexate and silk fibroin. PMID:25435334

  17. Thermal crystallization mechanism of silk fibroin protein

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Xiao

    In this thesis, the thermal crystallization mechanism of silk fibroin protein from Bombyx mori silkworm, was treated as a model for the general study of protein based materials, combining theories from both biophysics and polymer physics fields. A systematic and scientific path way to model the dynamic beta-sheet crystallization process of silk fibroin protein was presented in the following sequence: (1) The crystallinity, fractions of secondary structures, and phase compositions in silk fibroin proteins at any transition stage were determined. Two experimental methods, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) with Fourier self-deconvolution, and specific reversing heat capacity, were used together for the first time for modeling the static structures and phases in the silk fibroin proteins. The protein secondary structure fractions during the crystallization were quantitatively determined. The possibility of existence of a "rigid amorphous phase" in silk protein was also discussed. (2) The function of bound water during the crystallization process of silk fibroin was studied using heat capacity, and used to build a silk-water dynamic crystallization model. The fundamental concepts and thermal properties of silk fibroin with/without bound water were discussed. Results show that intermolecular bound water molecules, acting as a plasticizer, will cause silk to display a water-induced glass transition around 80°C. During heating, water is lost, and the change of the microenvironment in the silk fibroin chains induces a mesophase prior to thermal crystallization. Real time FTIR during heating and isothermal holding above Tg show the tyrosine side chain changes only during the former process, while beta sheet crystallization occurs only during the latter process. Analogy is made between the crystallization of synthetic polymers according to the four-state scheme of Strobl, and the crystallization process of silk fibroin, which includes an intermediate precursor

  18. Silkworms transformed with chimeric silkworm/spider silk genes spin composite silk fibers with improved mechanical properties

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The development of a spider silk manufacturing process is of great interest. piggyBac vectors were used to create transgenic silkworms encoding chimeric silkworm/spider silk proteins. The silk fibers produced by these animals were composite materials that included chimeric silkworm/spider silk prote...

  19. Unraveled mechanism in silk engineering: Fast reeling induced silk toughening

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Xiang; Liu, Xiang-Yang; Du, Ning; Xu, Gangqin; Li, Baowen

    2009-08-01

    We theoretically and experimentally study the mechanical response of silkworm and spider silks against stretching and the relationship with the underlying structural factors. It is found that the typical stress-strain profiles are predicted in good agreement with experimental measurements by implementing the "β-sheet splitting" mechanism we discovered and verified, primarily varying the secondary structure of protein macromolecules. The functions of experimentally observed structural factors responding to the external stress have been clearly addressed, and optimization of the microscopic structures to enhance the mechanical strength will be pointed out, beneficial to their biomedical and textile applications.

  20. Production of silk sericin/silk fibroin blend nanofibers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Xianhua; Tsukada, Masuhiro; Morikawa, Hideaki; Aojima, Kazuki; Zhang, Guangyu; Miura, Mikihiko

    2011-08-01

    Silk sericin (SS)/silk fibroin (SF) blend nanofibers have been produced by electrospinning in a binary SS/SF trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) solution system, which was prepared by mixing 20 wt.% SS TFA solution and 10 wt.% SF TFA solution to give different compositions. The diameters of the SS/SF nanofibers ranged from 33 to 837 nm, and they showed a round cross section. The surface of the SS/SF nanofibers was smooth, and the fibers possessed a bead-free structure. The average diameters of the SS/SF (75/25, 50/50, and 25/75) blend nanofibers were much thicker than that of SS and SF nanofibers. The SS/SF (100/0, 75/25, and 50/50) blend nanofibers were easily dissolved in water, while the SS/SF (25/75 and 0/100) blend nanofibers could not be completely dissolved in water. The SS/SF blend nanofibers could not be completely dissolved in methanol. The SS/SF blend nanofibers were characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, and differential thermal analysis. FTIR showed that the SS/SF blend nanofibers possessed a random coil conformation and ß-sheet structure.

  1. Production of silk sericin/silk fibroin blend nanofibers

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Silk sericin (SS)/silk fibroin (SF) blend nanofibers have been produced by electrospinning in a binary SS/SF trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) solution system, which was prepared by mixing 20 wt.% SS TFA solution and 10 wt.% SF TFA solution to give different compositions. The diameters of the SS/SF nanofibers ranged from 33 to 837 nm, and they showed a round cross section. The surface of the SS/SF nanofibers was smooth, and the fibers possessed a bead-free structure. The average diameters of the SS/SF (75/25, 50/50, and 25/75) blend nanofibers were much thicker than that of SS and SF nanofibers. The SS/SF (100/0, 75/25, and 50/50) blend nanofibers were easily dissolved in water, while the SS/SF (25/75 and 0/100) blend nanofibers could not be completely dissolved in water. The SS/SF blend nanofibers could not be completely dissolved in methanol. The SS/SF blend nanofibers were characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, and differential thermal analysis. FTIR showed that the SS/SF blend nanofibers possessed a random coil conformation and ß-sheet structure. PMID:21867508

  2. Designing Silk-silk Protein Alloy Materials for Biomedical Applications

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Xiao; Duki, Solomon; Forys, Joseph; Hettinger, Jeffrey; Buchicchio, Justin; Dobbins, Tabbetha; Yang, Catherine

    2014-01-01

    Fibrous proteins display different sequences and structures that have been used for various applications in biomedical fields such as biosensors, nanomedicine, tissue regeneration, and drug delivery. Designing materials based on the molecular-scale interactions between these proteins will help generate new multifunctional protein alloy biomaterials with tunable properties. Such alloy material systems also provide advantages in comparison to traditional synthetic polymers due to the materials biodegradability, biocompatibility, and tenability in the body. This article used the protein blends of wild tussah silk (Antheraea pernyi) and domestic mulberry silk (Bombyx mori) as an example to provide useful protocols regarding these topics, including how to predict protein-protein interactions by computational methods, how to produce protein alloy solutions, how to verify alloy systems by thermal analysis, and how to fabricate variable alloy materials including optical materials with diffraction gratings, electric materials with circuits coatings, and pharmaceutical materials for drug release and delivery. These methods can provide important information for designing the next generation multifunctional biomaterials based on different protein alloys. PMID:25145602

  3. Spider silk gut: Development and characterization of a novel strong spider silk fiber

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Ping; Marí-Buyé, Núria; Madurga, Rodrigo; Arroyo-Hernández, María; Solanas, Concepción; Gañán, Alfonso; Daza, Rafael; Plaza, Gustavo R.; Guinea, Gustavo V.; Elices, Manuel; Cenis, José Luis; Pérez-Rigueiro, José

    2014-01-01

    Spider silk fibers were produced through an alternative processing route that differs widely from natural spinning. The process follows a procedure traditionally used to obtain fibers directly from the glands of silkworms and requires exposure to an acid environment and subsequent stretching. The microstructure and mechanical behavior of the so-called spider silk gut fibers can be tailored to concur with those observed in naturally spun spider silk, except for effects related with the much larger cross-sectional area of the former. In particular spider silk gut has a proper ground state to which the material can revert independently from its previous loading history by supercontraction. A larger cross-sectional area implies that spider silk gut outperforms the natural material in terms of the loads that the fiber can sustain. This property suggests that it could substitute conventional spider silk fibers in some intended uses, such as sutures and scaffolds in tissue engineering. PMID:25475975

  4. Spider silk gut: Development and characterization of a novel strong spider silk fiber

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jiang, Ping; Marí-Buyé, Núria; Madurga, Rodrigo; Arroyo-Hernández, María; Solanas, Concepción; Gañán, Alfonso; Daza, Rafael; Plaza, Gustavo R.; Guinea, Gustavo V.; Elices, Manuel; Cenis, José Luis; Pérez-Rigueiro, José

    2014-12-01

    Spider silk fibers were produced through an alternative processing route that differs widely from natural spinning. The process follows a procedure traditionally used to obtain fibers directly from the glands of silkworms and requires exposure to an acid environment and subsequent stretching. The microstructure and mechanical behavior of the so-called spider silk gut fibers can be tailored to concur with those observed in naturally spun spider silk, except for effects related with the much larger cross-sectional area of the former. In particular spider silk gut has a proper ground state to which the material can revert independently from its previous loading history by supercontraction. A larger cross-sectional area implies that spider silk gut outperforms the natural material in terms of the loads that the fiber can sustain. This property suggests that it could substitute conventional spider silk fibers in some intended uses, such as sutures and scaffolds in tissue engineering.

  5. Characteristics of platelet gels combined with silk.

    PubMed

    Pallotta, Isabella; Kluge, Jonathan A; Moreau, Jodie; Calabrese, Rossella; Kaplan, David L; Balduini, Alessandra

    2014-04-01

    Platelet gel, a fibrin network containing activated platelets, is widely used in regenerative medicine due the capacity of platelet-derived growth factors to accelerate and direct healing processes. However, limitations to this approach include poor mechanical properties, relatively rapid degradation, and the lack of control of release of growth factors at the site of injection. These issues compromise the ability of platelet gels for sustained function in regenerative medicine. In the present study, a combination of platelet gels with silk fibroin gel was studied to address the above limitations. Mixing sonicated silk gels with platelet gels extended the release of growth factors without inhibiting gel-forming ability. The released growth factors were biologically active and their delivery was modified further by manipulation of the charge of the silk protein. Moreover, the silk gel augmented both the rheological properties and compressive stiffness of the platelet gel, tuned by the silk concentration and/or silk/platelet gel ratio. Silk-platelet gel injections in nude rats supported enhanced cell infiltration and blood vessel formation representing a step towards new platelet gel formulations with enhanced therapeutic impact. PMID:24480538

  6. Silk Spinning in Silkworms and Spiders.

    PubMed

    Andersson, Marlene; Johansson, Jan; Rising, Anna

    2016-01-01

    Spiders and silkworms spin silks that outcompete the toughness of all natural and manmade fibers. Herein, we compare and contrast the spinning of silk in silkworms and spiders, with the aim of identifying features that are important for fiber formation. Although spiders and silkworms are very distantly related, some features of spinning silk seem to be universal. Both spiders and silkworms produce large silk proteins that are highly repetitive and extremely soluble at high pH, likely due to the globular terminal domains that flank an intermediate repetitive region. The silk proteins are produced and stored at a very high concentration in glands, and then transported along a narrowing tube in which they change conformation in response primarily to a pH gradient generated by carbonic anhydrase and proton pumps, as well as to ions and shear forces. The silk proteins thereby convert from random coil and alpha helical soluble conformations to beta sheet fibers. We suggest that factors that need to be optimized for successful production of artificial silk proteins capable of forming tough fibers include protein solubility, pH sensitivity, and preservation of natively folded proteins throughout the purification and initial spinning processes. PMID:27517908

  7. Silk Spinning in Silkworms and Spiders

    PubMed Central

    Andersson, Marlene; Johansson, Jan; Rising, Anna

    2016-01-01

    Spiders and silkworms spin silks that outcompete the toughness of all natural and manmade fibers. Herein, we compare and contrast the spinning of silk in silkworms and spiders, with the aim of identifying features that are important for fiber formation. Although spiders and silkworms are very distantly related, some features of spinning silk seem to be universal. Both spiders and silkworms produce large silk proteins that are highly repetitive and extremely soluble at high pH, likely due to the globular terminal domains that flank an intermediate repetitive region. The silk proteins are produced and stored at a very high concentration in glands, and then transported along a narrowing tube in which they change conformation in response primarily to a pH gradient generated by carbonic anhydrase and proton pumps, as well as to ions and shear forces. The silk proteins thereby convert from random coil and alpha helical soluble conformations to beta sheet fibers. We suggest that factors that need to be optimized for successful production of artificial silk proteins capable of forming tough fibers include protein solubility, pH sensitivity, and preservation of natively folded proteins throughout the purification and initial spinning processes. PMID:27517908

  8. Characteristics of platelet gels combined with silk

    PubMed Central

    Pallotta, Isabella; Kluge, Jonathan A.; Moreau, Jodie; Calabrese, Rossella

    2014-01-01

    Platelet gel, a fibrin network containing activated platelets, is widely used in regenerative medicine due the capacity of platelet-derived growth factors to accelerate and direct healing processes. However, limitations to this approach include poor mechanical properties, relatively rapid degradation, and the lack of control of release of growth factors at the site of injection. These issues compromise the ability of platelet gels for sustained function in regenerative medicine. In the present study, a combination of platelet gels with silk fibroin gel was studied to address the above limitations. Mixing sonicated silk gels with platelet gels extended the release of growth factors without inhibiting gel forming ability. The released growth factors were biologically active and their delivery was modified further by manipulation of the charge of the silk protein. Moreover, the silk gel augmented both the rheological properties and compressive stiffness of the platelet gel, tuned by the silk concentration and/or silk/platelet gel ratio. Silk-platelet gel injections in nude rats supported enhanced cell infiltration and blood vessel formation representing a step towards new platelet gel formulations with enhanced therapeutic impact. PMID:24480538

  9. Silk Electrogel Based Gastroretentive Drug Delivery System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Qianrui

    Gastric cancer has become a global pandemic and there is imperative to develop efficient therapies. Oral dosing strategy is the preferred route to deliver drugs for treating the disease. Recent studies suggested silk electro hydrogel, which is pH sensitive and reversible, has potential as a vehicle to deliver the drug in the stomach environment. The aim of this study is to establish in vitro electrogelation e-gel based silk gel as a gastroretentive drug delivery system. We successfully extended the duration of silk e-gel in artificial gastric juice by mixing silk solution with glycerol at different ratios before the electrogelation. Structural analysis indicated the extended duration was due to the change of beta sheet content. The glycerol mixed silk e-gel had good doxorubicin loading capability and could release doxorubicin in a sustained-release profile. Doxorubicin loaded silk e-gels were applied to human gastric cancer cells. Significant cell viability decrease was observed. We believe that with further characterization as well as functional analysis, the silk e-gel system has the potential to become an effective vehicle for gastric drug delivery applications.

  10. Spider silk fibers spun from soluble recombinant silk produced in mammalian cells.

    PubMed

    Lazaris, Anthoula; Arcidiacono, Steven; Huang, Yue; Zhou, Jiang-Feng; Duguay, Francois; Chretien, Nathalie; Welsh, Elizabeth A; Soares, Jason W; Karatzas, Costas N

    2002-01-18

    Spider silks are protein-based "biopolymer" filaments or threads secreted by specialized epithelial cells as concentrated soluble precursors of highly repetitive primary sequences. Spider dragline silk is a flexible, lightweight fiber of extraordinary strength and toughness comparable to that of synthetic high-performance fibers. We sought to "biomimic" the process of spider silk production by expressing in mammalian cells the dragline silk genes (ADF-3/MaSpII and MaSpI) of two spider species. We produced soluble recombinant (rc)-dragline silk proteins with molecular masses of 60 to 140 kilodaltons. We demonstrated the wet spinning of silk monofilaments spun from a concentrated aqueous solution of soluble rc-spider silk protein (ADF-3; 60 kilodaltons) under modest shear and coagulation conditions. The spun fibers were water insoluble with a fine diameter (10 to 40 micrometers) and exhibited toughness and modulus values comparable to those of native dragline silks but with lower tenacity. Dope solutions with rc-silk protein concentrations >20% and postspinning draw were necessary to achieve improved mechanical properties of the spun fibers. Fiber properties correlated with finer fiber diameter and increased birefringence. PMID:11799236

  11. High-Toughness Silk Produced by a Transgenic Silkworm Expressing Spider (Araneus ventricosus) Dragline Silk Protein

    PubMed Central

    Kuwana, Yoshihiko; Sezutsu, Hideki; Nakajima, Ken-ichi; Tamada, Yasushi; Kojima, Katsura

    2014-01-01

    Spider dragline silk is a natural fiber that has excellent tensile properties; however, it is difficult to produce artificially as a long, strong fiber. Here, the spider (Araneus ventricosus) dragline protein gene was cloned and a transgenic silkworm was generated, that expressed the fusion protein of the fibroin heavy chain and spider dragline protein in cocoon silk. The spider silk protein content ranged from 0.37 to 0.61% w/w (1.4–2.4 mol%) native silkworm fibroin. Using a good silk-producing strain, C515, as the transgenic silkworm can make the raw silk from its cocoons for the first time. The tensile characteristics (toughness) of the raw silk improved by 53% after the introduction of spider dragline silk protein; the improvement depended on the quantity of the expressed spider dragline protein. To demonstrate the commercial feasibility for machine reeling, weaving, and sewing, we used the transgenic spider silk to weave a vest and scarf; this was the first application of spider silk fibers from transgenic silkworms. PMID:25162624

  12. Highly tunable elastomeric silk biomaterials

    PubMed Central

    Partlow, Benjamin P.; Hanna, Craig W.; Rnjak-Kovacina, Jelena; Moreau, Jodie E.; Applegate, Matthew B.; Burke, Kelly A.; Marelli, Benedetto; Mitropoulos, Alexander N.; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G.

    2014-01-01

    Elastomeric, fully degradable and biocompatible biomaterials are rare, with current options presenting significant limitations in terms of ease of functionalization and tunable mechanical and degradation properties. We report a new method for covalently crosslinking tyrosine residues in silk proteins, via horseradish peroxidase and hydrogen peroxide, to generate highly elastic hydrogels with tunable properties. The tunable mechanical properties, gelation kinetics and swelling properties of these new protein polymers, in addition to their ability to withstand shear strains on the order of 100%, compressive strains greater than 70% and display stiffness between 200 – 10,000 Pa, covering a significant portion of the properties of native soft tissues. Molecular weight and solvent composition allowed control of material mechanical properties over several orders of magnitude while maintaining high resilience and resistance to fatigue. Encapsulation of human bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) showed long term survival and exhibited cell-matrix interactions reflective of both silk concentration and gelation conditions. Further biocompatibility of these materials were demonstrated with in vivo evaluation. These new protein-based elastomeric and degradable hydrogels represent an exciting new biomaterials option, with a unique combination of properties, for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. PMID:25395921

  13. Silk as an innovative biomaterial for cancer therapy.

    PubMed

    Jastrzebska, Katarzyna; Kucharczyk, Kamil; Florczak, Anna; Dondajewska, Ewelina; Mackiewicz, Andrzej; Dams-Kozlowska, Hanna

    2015-01-01

    Silk has been used for centuries in the textile industry and as surgical sutures. In addition to its unique mechanical properties, silk possesses other properties, such as biocompatibility, biodegradability and ability to self-assemble, which make it an interesting material for biomedical applications. Although silk forms only fibers in nature, synthetic techniques can be used to control the processing of silk into different morphologies, such as scaffolds, films, hydrogels, microcapsules, and micro- and nanospheres. Moreover, the biotechnological production of silk proteins broadens the potential applications of silk. Synthetic silk genes have been designed. Genetic engineering enables modification of silk properties or the construction of a hybrid silk. Bioengineered hybrid silks consist of a silk sequence that self-assembles into the desired morphological structure and the sequence of a polypeptide that confers a function to the silk biomaterial. The functional domains can comprise binding sites for receptors, enzymes, drugs, metals or sugars, among others. Here, we review the current status of potential applications of silk biomaterials in the field of oncology with a focus on the generation of implantable, injectable and targeted drug delivery systems and the three-dimensional cancer models based on silk scaffolds for cancer research. However, the systems described could be applied in many biomedical fields. PMID:25859397

  14. Silk as an innovative biomaterial for cancer therapy

    PubMed Central

    Jastrzebska, Katarzyna; Kucharczyk, Kamil; Florczak, Anna; Dondajewska, Ewelina; Mackiewicz, Andrzej; Dams-Kozlowska, Hanna

    2014-01-01

    Silk has been used for centuries in the textile industry and as surgical sutures. In addition to its unique mechanical properties, silk possesses other properties, such as biocompatibility, biodegradability and ability to self-assemble, which make it an interesting material for biomedical applications. Although silk forms only fibers in nature, synthetic techniques can be used to control the processing of silk into different morphologies, such as scaffolds, films, hydrogels, microcapsules, and micro- and nanospheres. Moreover, the biotechnological production of silk proteins broadens the potential applications of silk. Synthetic silk genes have been designed. Genetic engineering enables modification of silk properties or the construction of a hybrid silk. Bioengineered hybrid silks consist of a silk sequence that self-assembles into the desired morphological structure and the sequence of a polypeptide that confers a function to the silk biomaterial. The functional domains can comprise binding sites for receptors, enzymes, drugs, metals or sugars, among others. Here, we review the current status of potential applications of silk biomaterials in the field of oncology with a focus on the generation of implantable, injectable and targeted drug delivery systems and the three-dimensional cancer models based on silk scaffolds for cancer research. However, the systems described could be applied in many biomedical fields. PMID:25859397

  15. Materials Fabrication from Bombyx mori Silk Fibroin

    PubMed Central

    Rockwood, Danielle N.; Preda, Rucsanda C.; Yücel, Tuna; Wang, Xiaoqin; Lovett, Michael L.; Kaplan, David L.

    2013-01-01

    Silk fibroin, derived from Bombyx mori cocoons, is a widely used and studied protein polymer for biomaterial applications. Silk fibroin has remarkable mechanical properties when formed into different materials, demonstrates biocompatibility, has controllable degradation rates from hours to years, and it can be chemically modified to alter surface properties or to immobilize growth factors. A variety of aqueous or organic solvent processing methods can be used to generate silk biomaterials for a range of applications. In this protocol we include methods to extract silk from B. mori cocoons in order to fabricate hydrogels, tubes, sponges, composites, fibers, microspheres and thin films. These materials can be used directly as biomaterials for implants, as scaffolding in tissue engineering and in vitro disease models, and for drug delivery. PMID:21959241

  16. In vivo bioresponses to silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Thurber, Amy E; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G; Kaplan, David L

    2015-12-01

    Silks are appealing materials for numerous biomedical applications involving drug delivery, tissue engineering, or implantable devices, because of their tunable mechanical properties and wide range of physical structures. In addition to the functionalities needed for specific clinical applications, a key factor necessary for clinical success for any implanted material is appropriate interactions with the body in vivo. This review summarizes our current understanding of the in vivo biological responses to silks, including degradation, the immune and inflammatory response, and tissue remodeling with particular attention to vascularization. While we focus in this review on silkworm silk fibroin protein due to the large quantity of in vivo data thanks to its widespread use in medical materials and consumer products, spider silk information is also included if available. Silk proteins are degraded in the body on a time course that is dependent on the method of silk fabrication and can range from hours to years. Silk protein typically induces a mild inflammatory response that decreases within a few weeks of implantation. The response involves recruitment and activation of macrophages and may include activation of a mild foreign body response with the formation of multinuclear giant cells, depending on the material format and location of implantation. The number of immune cells present decreases with time and granulation tissue, if formed, is replaced by endogenous, not fibrous, tissue. Importantly, silk materials have not been demonstrated to induce mineralization, except when used in calcified tissues. Due to its ability to be degraded, silk can be remodeled in the body allowing for vascularization and tissue ingrowth with eventual complete replacement by native tissue. The degree of remodeling, tissue ingrowth, or other specific cell behaviors can be modulated with addition of growth or other signaling factors. Silk can also be combined with numerous other materials

  17. Soft Tissue Augmentation with Silk Composite Graft

    PubMed Central

    Park, Yong-Tae; Kweon, Hae Yong; Kim, Seong-Gon

    2014-01-01

    Purpose: The objective of this study was to evaluate the interaction between 4-hexylresorcinol (4HR) and antibody as that affects the performance of a silk-4HR combination graft for soft tissue augmentation in an animal model. Methods: The silk graft materials consisted of four types: silk+10% tricalcium phosphate (TCP) (ST0), silk+10% TCP+1% 4HR (ST1), silk+10% TCP+3% 4HR (ST3), and silk+10% TCP+6% 4-HR (ST6). The antibody binding assay tested the 4HR effect and scanning electron microscopic (SEM) exam was done for silk grafts. The animal experiment used a subcutaneous pocket mouse model. The graft – SH0 or SH1 or SH3 or SH6 – was placed in a subcutaneous pocket. The animals were killed at one, two, and four weeks, postoperatively. The specimens were subjected to histological analysis and lysozyme assay. Results: Groups with 4HR applied showed lower antibody binding affinity to antigen compared to groups without 4HR. In the SEM examination, there was no significant difference among groups. Histological examinations revealed many foreign body giant cells in ST0 and ST1 group at four weeks postoperatively. Both ST3 and ST6 groups developed significantly lower levels of giant cell values compared to ST0 and ST1 groups (P <0.001) at four weeks postoperatively. In the lysozyme assay, the ST1 and ST3 groups showed denser signals than the other groups. Conclusion: 4HR combined silk implants resulted in high levels of vascular and connective tissue regeneration. PMID:27489833

  18. Fluorescent silk cocoon creating fluorescent diatom using a “Water glass-fluorophore ferry”

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kusurkar, Tejas S.; Tandon, Ishita; Sethy, Niroj Kumar; Bhargava, Kalpana; Sarkar, Sabyasachi; Singh, Sushil Kumar; Das, Mainak

    2013-11-01

    Fluorophores are ubiquitous in nature. Naturally occurring fluorophores are exceptionally stable and have high quantum yield. Several natural systems have acquired fluorescent signature due to the presence of these fluorophores. Systematic attempt to harvest these fluorophores from natural systems could reap rich commercial benefit to bio-imaging industry. Silk cocoon biomaterial is one such example of natural system, which has acquired a fluorescent signature. The objective of this study is to develop simple, rapid, commercially viable technique to isolate silk cocoon membrane fluorophores and exploring the possibility of using them as fluorescent dye in bio-imaging. Here, we report an innovative water glass (Na2SiO3) based strategy to isolate the silk cocoon fluorophores. Isolated fluorophore is majorly quercetin derivatives and exhibited remarkable photo- and heat stability. Fluorescence and mass spectrometric analysis confirmed presence of a quercetin derivative. We further used this fluorophore to successfully label the silicate shell of diatom species Nitzschia palea.

  19. Fluorescent silk cocoon creating fluorescent diatom using a “Water glass-fluorophore ferry”

    PubMed Central

    Kusurkar, Tejas S.; Tandon, Ishita; Sethy, Niroj Kumar; Bhargava, Kalpana; Sarkar, Sabyasachi; Singh, Sushil Kumar; Das, Mainak

    2013-01-01

    Fluorophores are ubiquitous in nature. Naturally occurring fluorophores are exceptionally stable and have high quantum yield. Several natural systems have acquired fluorescent signature due to the presence of these fluorophores. Systematic attempt to harvest these fluorophores from natural systems could reap rich commercial benefit to bio-imaging industry. Silk cocoon biomaterial is one such example of natural system, which has acquired a fluorescent signature. The objective of this study is to develop simple, rapid, commercially viable technique to isolate silk cocoon membrane fluorophores and exploring the possibility of using them as fluorescent dye in bio-imaging. Here, we report an innovative water glass (Na2SiO3) based strategy to isolate the silk cocoon fluorophores. Isolated fluorophore is majorly quercetin derivatives and exhibited remarkable photo- and heat stability. Fluorescence and mass spectrometric analysis confirmed presence of a quercetin derivative. We further used this fluorophore to successfully label the silicate shell of diatom species Nitzschia palea. PMID:24256845

  20. Electrodeposited silk coatings for bone implants.

    PubMed

    Elia, Roberto; Michelson, Courtney D; Perera, Austin L; Brunner, Teresa F; Harsono, Masly; Leisk, Gray G; Kugel, Gerard; Kaplan, David L

    2015-11-01

    The aim of this study was to characterize the mechanical properties and drug elution features of silk protein-based electrodeposited dental implant coatings. Silk processing conditions were modified to obtain coatings with a range of mechanical properties on titanium studs. These coatings were assessed for adhesive strength and dissolution, with properties tuned using water vapor annealing or glycerol incorporation to modulate crystalline content. Coating reproducibility was demonstrated over a range of silk concentrations from 1% to 10%. Surface roughness of titanium substrates was altered using industry relevant acid etching and grit blasting, and the effect of surface topography on silk coating adhesion was assessed. Florescent compounds were incorporated into the silk coatings, which were modulated for crystalline content, to achieve four days of sustained release of the compounds. This silk electrogelation technique offers a safe and relatively simple approach to generate mechanically robust, biocompatible, and degradable implant coatings that can also be functionalized with bioactive compounds to modulate the local regenerative tissue environment. PMID:25545462

  1. Encapsulation of Volatile Compounds in Silk Microparticles

    PubMed Central

    Elia, Roberto; Guo, Jin; Budijono, Stephanie; Normand, Valery; Benczédi, Daniel; Omenetto, Fiorenzo

    2015-01-01

    Various techniques have been employed to entrap fragrant oils within microcapsules or microparticles in the food, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries for improved stability and delivery. In the present work we describe the use of silk protein microparticles for encapsulating fragrant oils using ambient processing conditions to form an all-natural biocompatible matrix. These microparticles are stabilized via physical crosslinking, requiring no chemical agents, and are prepared with aqueous and ambient processing conditions using polyvinyl alcohol-silk emulsions. The particles were loaded with fragrant oils via direct immersion of the silk particles within an oil bath. The oil-containing microparticles were coated using alternating silk and polyethylene oxide layers to control the release of the oil from the microspheres. Particle morphology and size, oil loading capacity, release rates as well as silk-oil interactions and coating treatments were characterized. Thermal analysis demonstrated that the silk coatings can be tuned to alter both retention and release profiles of the encapsulated fragrance. These oil containing particles demonstrate the ability to adsorb and controllably release oils, suggesting a range of potential applications including cosmetic and fragrance utility. PMID:26568787

  2. Silks as scaffolds for skin reconstruction.

    PubMed

    Reimers, Kerstin; Liebsch, Christina; Radtke, Christine; Kuhbier, Jörn W; Vogt, Peter M

    2015-11-01

    In this short review, we describe the use of high molecular weight proteins produced in the glands of several arthropods-commonly called silks-for the purpose to enhance human skin wound healing. To this end an extensive literature search has been performed, the publications have been categorized concerning silk preparation and application and summarized accordingly: Scaffolds to promote wound healing were prepared by processing the silks in different ways including solubilization of the protein fibers followed by casting or electrospinning. The silk scaffolds were additionally modified by coating or blending with the intention of further functionalization. In several approaches, the scaffolds were also vitalized with skin cells or stem cells. In vitro and in vivo models were implied to test for safety and efficiency. We conclude that silk scaffolds are characterized by an advantageous biocompatibility as well as an impressive versatility rendering them ideally suited for application in wounds. Nevertheless, further investigation is needed to exploit the full capacity of silk in different wound models and to achieve clinical transfer in time. PMID:25995140

  3. Silk Roads or Steppe Roads? The Silk Roads in World History.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Christian, David

    2000-01-01

    Explores the prehistory of the Silk Roads, reexamines their structure and history in the classical era, and explores shifts in their geography in the last one thousand years. Explains that a revised understanding of the Silk Roads demonstrates how the Afro-Eurasian land mass has been linked by networks of exchange since the Bronze Age. (CMK)

  4. Silk Fibroin: Photocrosslinking of Silk Fibroin Using Riboflavin for Ocular Prostheses (Adv. Mater. 12/2016).

    PubMed

    Applegate, Matthew B; Partlow, Benjamin P; Coburn, Jeannine; Marelli, Benedetto; Pirie, Christopher; Pineda, Roberto; Kaplan, David L; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G

    2016-03-01

    Dissolved silk protein mixed with riboflavin can be crosslinked to form an elastic hydrogel in the presence of blue/violet light. Here, a photomask is used by F. G. Omenetto and co-workers, as described on page 2417, to illuminate the solution, and the unpolymerized silk is rinsed away. These gels have tremendous potential to be used as corneal prostheses. PMID:27001701

  5. Silk Nanospheres and Microspheres from Silk/PVA Blend Films for Drug Delivery

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Xiaoqin; Yucel, Tuna; Lu, Qiang; Hu, Xiao; Kaplan, David L.

    2009-01-01

    Silk fibroin protein-based micro- and nanospheres provide new options for drug delivery due to their biocompatibility, biodegradability and their tunable drug loading and release properties. In the present study, we report a new aqueous-based preparation method for silk spheres with controllable sphere size and shape. The preparation was based on phase separation between silk fibroin and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) at a weight ratio of 1/1 and 1/4. Water-insoluble silk spheres were easily obtained from the blend in a three step process: (1) air-drying the blend solution into a film, (2) film dissolution in water and (3) removal of residual PVA by subsequent centrifugation. In both cases, the spheres had approximately 30% beta-sheet content and less than 5% residual PVA. Spindle-shaped silk particles, as opposed to the spherical particles formed above, were obtained by stretching the blend films before dissolving in water. Compared to the 1/1 ratio sample, the silk spheres prepared from the 1/4 ratio sample showed a more homogeneous size distribution ranging from 300 nm up to 20 μm. Further studies showed that sphere size and polydispersity could be controlled either by changing the concentration of silk and PVA or by applying ultrasonication on the blend solution. Drug loading was achieved by mixing model drugs in the original silk solution. The distribution and loading efficiency of the drug molecules in silk spheres depended on their hydrophobicity and charge, resulting in different drug release profiles. The entire fabrication procedure could be completed within one day. The only chemical used in the preparation except water was PVA, an FDA-approved ingredient in drug formulations. Silk micro- and nanospheres reported have potential as drug delivery carriers in a variety of biomedical applications. PMID:19945157

  6. Silk protein aggregation kinetics revealed by Rheo-IR.

    PubMed

    Boulet-Audet, Maxime; Terry, Ann E; Vollrath, Fritz; Holland, Chris

    2014-02-01

    The remarkable mechanical properties of silk fibres stem from a multi-scale hierarchical structure created when an aqueous protein "melt" is converted to an insoluble solid via flow. To directly relate a silk protein's structure and function in response to flow, we present the first application of a Rheo-IR platform, which couples cone and plate rheology with attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy. This technique provides a new window into silk processing by linking shear thinning to an increase in molecular alignment, with shear thickening affecting changes in the silk protein's secondary structure. Additionally, compared to other static characterization methods for silk, Rheo-IR proved particularly useful at revealing the intrinsic difference between natural (native) and reconstituted silk feedstocks. Hence Rheo-IR offers important novel insights into natural silk processing. This has intrinsic academic merit, but it might also be useful when designing reconstituted silk analogues alongside other polymeric systems, whether natural or synthetic. PMID:24200713

  7. Facts and myths of antibacterial properties of silk.

    PubMed

    Kaur, Jasjeet; Rajkhowa, Rangam; Afrin, Tarannum; Tsuzuki, Takuya; Wang, Xungai

    2014-03-01

    Silk cocoons provide protection to silkworm from biotic and abiotic hazards during the immobile pupal phase of the lifecycle of silkworms. Protection is particularly important for the wild silk cocoons reared in an open and harsh environment. To understand whether some of the cocoon components resist growth of microorganisms, in vitro studies were performed using gram negative bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) to investigate antibacterial properties of silk fiber, silk gum, and calcium oxalate crystals embedded inside some cocoons. The results show that the previously reported antibacterial properties of silk cocoons are actually due to residues of chemicals used to isolate/purify cocoon elements, and properly isolated silk fiber, gum, and embedded crystals free from such residues do not have inherent resistance to E. coli. This study removes the uncertainty created by previous studies over the presence of antibacterial properties of silk cocoons, particularly the silk gum and sericin. PMID:23784754

  8. Silk from Crickets: A New Twist on Spinning

    PubMed Central

    Walker, Andrew A.; Weisman, Sarah; Church, Jeffrey S.; Merritt, David J.; Mudie, Stephen T.; Sutherland, Tara D.

    2012-01-01

    Raspy crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllacrididae) are unique among the orthopterans in producing silk, which is used to build shelters. This work studied the material composition and the fabrication of cricket silk for the first time. We examined silk-webs produced in captivity, which comprised cylindrical fibers and flat films. Spectra obtained from micro-Raman experiments indicated that the silk is composed of protein, primarily in a beta-sheet conformation, and that fibers and films are almost identical in terms of amino acid composition and secondary structure. The primary sequences of four silk proteins were identified through a mass spectrometry/cDNA library approach. The most abundant silk protein was large in size (300 and 220 kDa variants), rich in alanine, glycine and serine, and contained repetitive sequence motifs; these are features which are shared with several known beta-sheet forming silk proteins. Convergent evolution at the molecular level contrasts with development by crickets of a novel mechanism for silk fabrication. After secretion of cricket silk proteins by the labial glands they are fabricated into mature silk by the labium-hypopharynx, which is modified to allow the controlled formation of either fibers or films. Protein folding into beta-sheet structure during silk fabrication is not driven by shear forces, as is reported for other silks. PMID:22355311

  9. Influence factors analysis on the formation of silk I structure.

    PubMed

    Ming, Jinfa; Pan, Fukui; Zuo, Baoqi

    2015-04-01

    Regenerated silk fibroin aqueous solution was used to study the crystalline structure of Bombyx mori silk fibroin in vitro. By controlling environmental conditions and concentration of silk fibroin solution, it provided a means for the direct preparing silk I structure and understanding the details of silk fibroin molecules interactions in formation process. In this study, silk fibroin molecules were assembled to form random coil at low concentration of solution and then, as the concentration increases, were converted to silk I at 55% relative humidity (RH). At the same time, the structure of silk fibroin forming below 45 °C was mostly in silk I. A partial ternary phase diagram of temperature-humidity-concentration was constructed based on the results. The results showed silk I structure could be controlled by adjusting the external environmental conditions. The enhanced control over silk I structure, as embodied in phase diagram, could potentially be utilized to understand the molecular chain conformation of silk I in further research work. PMID:25677178

  10. Treatment of Intracranial Aneurysms Using Flow-Diverting Silk Stents (BALT): a Single Centre Experience

    PubMed Central

    Leonardi, M.; Cirillo, L.; Toni, F.; Dall’Olio, M.; Princiotta, C.; Stafa, A.; Simonetti, L.; Agati, R.

    2011-01-01

    Summary The Silk stent (Balt, Montmorency, France) is a retractable device designed to achieve curative reconstruction of the parent artery associated with an intracranial aneurysm. We present our initial experience with the Silk flow-diverting stent in the management and follow-up of 25 patients presenting with intracranial aneurysms. Twenty-five patients (age range, 34-81 years; 24 female) were treated with the Silk flow-diverting device. Aneurysms ranged in size from small (5), large (10) and giant (10) and included wide-necked aneurysms, multiple, nonsaccular, and recurrent intracranial aneurysms. Nine aneurysms were treated for headache, 14 for mass effect. None presented with haemorrhage. All patients were pretreated with dual antiplatelet medications for at least 72 hours before surgery and continued taking both agents for at least three months after treatment. A total of 25 Silk stents were used. Control MR angiography and/or CT angiography was typically performed prior to discharge and at one, three, six and 12 months post treatment. A follow-up digital subtraction angiogram was performed between six and 19 months post treatment. Complete angiographic occlusion or subtotal occlusion was achieved in 15 patients in a time frame from three days to 12 months. Three deaths and one major complication were encountered during the study period. Two patients, all with cavernous giant aneurysms, experienced transient exacerbations of preexisting cranial neuropathies and headache after the Silk treatment. Both were treated with corticosteroids, and symptoms resolved completely within a month. In our experience the Silk stent has proven to be a valuable tool in the endovascular treatment of intracranial giant partially thrombosed aneurysms and aneurysms of the internal carotid artery cavernous segment presenting with mass effect. The time of complete occlusion of the aneurysms and the risk of the bleeding is currently not predictable. PMID:22005692

  11. Woven silk fabric-reinforced silk nanofibrous scaffolds for regenerating load-bearing soft tissues.

    PubMed

    Han, F; Liu, S; Liu, X; Pei, Y; Bai, S; Zhao, H; Lu, Q; Ma, F; Kaplan, D L; Zhu, H

    2014-02-01

    Although three-dimensional (3-D) porous regenerated silk scaffolds with outstanding biocompatibility, biodegradability and low inflammatory reactions have promising application in different tissue regeneration, the mechanical properties of regenerated scaffolds, especially suture retention strength, must be further improved to satisfy the requirements of clinical applications. This study presents woven silk fabric-reinforced silk nanofibrous scaffolds aimed at dermal tissue engineering. To improve the mechanical properties, silk scaffolds prepared by lyophilization were reinforced with degummed woven silk fabrics. The ultimate tensile strength, elongation at break and suture retention strength of the scaffolds were significantly improved, providing suitable mechanical properties strong enough for clinical applications. The stiffness and degradation behaviors were then further regulated by different after-treatment processes, making the scaffolds more suitable for dermal tissue regeneration. The in vitro cell culture results indicated that these scaffolds maintained their excellent biocompatibility after being reinforced with woven silk fabrics. Without sacrifice of porous structure and biocompatibility, the fabric-reinforced scaffolds with better mechanical properties could facilitate future clinical applications of silk as matrices in skin repair. PMID:24090985

  12. Hybrid Silk Fibers Dry-Spun from Regenerated Silk Fibroin/Graphene Oxide Aqueous Solutions.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Chao; Zhang, Yaopeng; Shao, Huili; Hu, Xuechao

    2016-02-10

    Regenerated silk fibroin (RSF)/graphene oxide (GO) hybrid silk fibers were dry-spun from a mixed dope of GO suspension and RSF aqueous solution. It was observed that the presence of GO greatly affect the viscosity of RSF solution. The RSF/GO hybrid fibers showed from FTIR result lower β-sheet content compared to that of pure RSF fibers. The result of synchrotron radiation wide-angle X-ray diffraction showed that the addition of GO confined the crystallization of silk fibroin (SF) leading to the decrease of crystallinity, smaller crystallite size, and new formation of interphase zones in the artificial silks. Synchrotron radiation small-angle X-ray scattering also proved that GO sheets in the hybrid silks and blended solutions were coated with a certain thickness of interphase zones due to the complex interaction between the two components. A low addition of GO, together with the mesophase zones formed between GO and RSF, enhanced the mechanical properties of hybrid fibers. The highest breaking stress of the hybrid fibers reached 435.5 ± 71.6 MPa, 23% improvement in comparison to that of degummed silk and 72% larger than that of pure RSF silk fiber. The hybrid RSF/GO materials with good biocompatibility and enhanced mechanical properties may have potential applications in tissue engineering, bioelectronic devices, or energy storage. PMID:26784289

  13. Bio-functionalized silk hydrogel microfluidic systems.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Siwei; Chen, Ying; Partlow, Benjamin P; Golding, Anne S; Tseng, Peter; Coburn, Jeannine; Applegate, Matthew B; Moreau, Jodie E; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G; Kaplan, David L

    2016-07-01

    Bio-functionalized microfluidic systems were developed based on a silk protein hydrogel elastomeric materials. A facile multilayer fabrication method using gelatin sacrificial molding and layer-by-layer assembly was implemented to construct interconnected, three dimensional (3D) microchannel networks in silk hydrogels at 100 μm minimum feature resolution. Mechanically activated valves were implemented to demonstrate pneumatic control of microflow. The silk hydrogel microfluidics exhibit controllable mechanical properties, long-term stability in various environmental conditions, tunable in vitro and in vivo degradability in addition to optical transparency, providing unique features for cell/tissue-related applications than conventional polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and existing hydrogel-based microfluidic options. As demonstrated in the work here, the all aqueous-based fabrication process at ambient conditions enabled the incorporation of active biological substances in the bulk phase of these new silk microfluidic systems during device fabrication, including enzymes and living cells, which are able to interact with the fluid flow in the microchannels. These silk hydrogel-based microfluidic systems offer new opportunities in engineering active diagnostic devices, tissues and organs that could be integrated in vivo, and for on-chip cell sensing systems. PMID:27077566

  14. Structural Transition of Bombyx mori Liquid Silk Studied with Vibrational Circular Dichroism Spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Morisaku, Toshinori; Arai, Sho; Konno, Kohzo; Suzuki, Yu; Asakura, Tetsuo; Yui, Hiroharu

    2015-01-01

    We investigated the structural transition from liquid silk to silk fibers with vibrational circular dichroism spectroscopy. Liquid silk showed a major right-handed optically active band at around 1650 cm(-1) and a minor one at around 1680 cm(-1). The former disappeared over time, while the intensity in the latter increased. With the former wavenumber, liquid silk mainly adopted a random-coil structure. In contrast, the latter may reflect an intermediate structure in the transition. Furthermore, two right-handed bands at around 1630 and 1660 cm(-1) appeared with the disappearance of the major band, and then the wavenumber of the former shifted to around 1620 cm(-1). The shift results from the decrease in the frequency of the CO stretching mode due to the stacking of the β-sheet that comprises fibers. The band at 1660 cm(-1) may reflect another intermediate structure due to its strong correlation with that at 1620 cm(-1) in terms of their temporal change in intensity. PMID:26256598

  15. Native spider silk as a biological optical fiber

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huby, N.; Vié, V.; Renault, A.; Beaufils, S.; Lefèvre, T.; Paquet-Mercier, F.; Pézolet, M.; Bêche, B.

    2013-03-01

    In this study, we demonstrate the use of eco-friendly native spider silk as an efficient optical fiber in air, highly bent fibers, and physiological liquid. We also integrated the silk filament in a photonic chip made of polymer microstructures fabricated by UV lithography. The molding process is non-destructive for silk and leads to an efficient micro-optical coupling between silk and synthetic optical structures. These optical performances combined with the unique biocompatibility, bioresorbability, flexibility, and tensile strength of silk filaments pave the way for new applications in biological media and for original biophotonic purposes.

  16. Biomedical Applications of Mulberry Silk and its Proteins: A Review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nivedita, S.; Sivaprasad, V.

    2014-04-01

    Silk is a natural fibre used mainly for aesthetic purposes. It has also been used for making surgical sutures for centuries. The recent rediscovery of silk's biological properties have led to new areas of research and utilization in cosmetic, health and medical fields. The silk proteins, fibroin and sericin are processed into biomaterials because of bio-compatibility, bio-degradability, excellent mechanical properties, thermo tolerance and UV protective properties. Silk proteins could be obtained as pure liquids and regenerated in different forms suitable for tissue engineering applications. This paper presents some of the biomedical products and biomaterials made from native, degraded and regenerated silk and their fabrication techniques.

  17. Liquid crystalline spinning of spider silk.

    PubMed

    Vollrath, F; Knight, D P

    2001-03-29

    Spider silk has outstanding mechanical properties despite being spun at close to ambient temperatures and pressures using water as the solvent. The spider achieves this feat of benign fibre processing by judiciously controlling the folding and crystallization of the main protein constituents, and by adding auxiliary compounds, to create a composite material of defined hierarchical structure. Because the 'spinning dope' (the material from which silk is spun) is liquid crystalline, spiders can draw it during extrusion into a hardened fibre using minimal forces. This process involves an unusual internal drawdown within the spider's spinneret that is not seen in industrial fibre processing, followed by a conventional external drawdown after the dope has left the spinneret. Successful copying of the spider's internal processing and precise control over protein folding, combined with knowledge of the gene sequences of its spinning dopes, could permit industrial production of silk-based fibres with unique properties under benign conditions. PMID:11279484

  18. Cell proliferation by silk gut incorporating FGF-2 protein microcrystals.

    PubMed

    Kotani, Eiji; Yamamoto, Naoto; Kobayashi, Isao; Uchino, Keiro; Muto, Sayaka; Ijiri, Hiroshi; Shimabukuro, Junji; Tamura, Toshiki; Sezutsu, Hideki; Mori, Hajime

    2015-01-01

    Silk gut processed from the silk glands of the silkworm could be an ideal biodegradable carrier for cell growth factors. We previously demonstrated that polyhedra, microcrystals of Cypovirus 1 polyhedrin, can serve as versatile carrier proteins. Here, we report the generation of a transgenic silkworm that expresses polyhedrin together with human basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) in its posterior silk glands to utilize silk gut as a proteinaceous carrier to protect and slowly release active cell growth factors. In the posterior silk glands, polyhedrin formed polyhedral microcrystals, and FGF-2 became encapsulated within the polyhedra due to a polyhedron-immobilization signal. Silk gut powder prepared from posterior silk glands containing polyhedron-encapsulated FGF-2 stimulated the phosphorylation of p44/p42 MAP kinase and induced the proliferation of serum-starved NIH3T3 cells by releasing bioactive FGF-2. Even after a one-week incubation at 25 °C, significantly higher biological activity of FGF-2 was observed for silk gut powder incorporating polyhedron-encapsulated FGF-2 relative to silk gut powder with non-encapsulated FGF-2. Our results demonstrate that posterior silk glands incorporating polyhedron-encapsulated FGF-2 are applicable to the preparation of biodegradable silk gut, which can protect and release FGF-2 that is produced in a virus- and serum-free expression system with significant application potential. PMID:26053044

  19. Multifunctional silk-heparin biomaterials for vascular tissue engineering applications

    PubMed Central

    Seib, F. Philipp; Herklotz, Manuela; Burke, Kelly A.; Maitz, Manfred F.; Werner, Carsten; Kaplan, David L.

    2013-01-01

    Over the past 30 years, silk has been proposed for numerous biomedical applications that go beyond its traditional use as a suture material. Silk sutures are well tolerated in humans, but the use of silk for vascular engineering applications still requires extensive biocompatibility testing. Some studies have indicated a need to modify silk to yield a hemocompatible surface. This study examined the potential of low molecular weight heparin as a material for refining silk properties by acting as a carrier for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and improving silk hemocompatibility. Heparinized silk showed a controlled VEGF release over 6 days; the released VEGF was bioactive and supported the growth of human endothelial cells. Silk samples were then assessed using a humanized hemocompatibility system that employs whole blood and endothelial cells. The overall thrombogenic response for silk was very low and similar to the clinical reference material polytetrafluoroethylene. Despite an initial inflammatory response to silk, apparent as complement and leukocyte activation, the endothelium was maintained in a resting, anticoagulant state. The low thrombogenic response and the ability to control VEGF release support the further development of silk for vascular applications. PMID:24099708

  20. Cell proliferation by silk gut incorporating FGF-2 protein microcrystals

    PubMed Central

    Kotani, Eiji; Yamamoto, Naoto; Kobayashi, Isao; Uchino, Keiro; Muto, Sayaka; Ijiri, Hiroshi; Shimabukuro, Junji; Tamura, Toshiki; Sezutsu, Hideki; Mori, Hajime

    2015-01-01

    Silk gut processed from the silk glands of the silkworm could be an ideal biodegradable carrier for cell growth factors. We previously demonstrated that polyhedra, microcrystals of Cypovirus 1 polyhedrin, can serve as versatile carrier proteins. Here, we report the generation of a transgenic silkworm that expresses polyhedrin together with human basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) in its posterior silk glands to utilize silk gut as a proteinaceous carrier to protect and slowly release active cell growth factors. In the posterior silk glands, polyhedrin formed polyhedral microcrystals, and FGF-2 became encapsulated within the polyhedra due to a polyhedron-immobilization signal. Silk gut powder prepared from posterior silk glands containing polyhedron-encapsulated FGF-2 stimulated the phosphorylation of p44/p42 MAP kinase and induced the proliferation of serum-starved NIH3T3 cells by releasing bioactive FGF-2. Even after a one-week incubation at 25 °C, significantly higher biological activity of FGF-2 was observed for silk gut powder incorporating polyhedron-encapsulated FGF-2 relative to silk gut powder with non-encapsulated FGF-2. Our results demonstrate that posterior silk glands incorporating polyhedron-encapsulated FGF-2 are applicable to the preparation of biodegradable silk gut, which can protect and release FGF-2 that is produced in a virus- and serum-free expression system with significant application potential. PMID:26053044

  1. Silk-microfluidics for advanced biotechnological applications: A progressive review.

    PubMed

    Konwarh, Rocktotpal; Gupta, Prerak; Mandal, Biman B

    2016-01-01

    Silk based biomaterials have not only carved a unique niche in the domain of regenerative medicine but new avenues are also being explored for lab-on-a-chip applications. It is pertinent to note that biospinning of silk represents nature's signature microfluidic-maneuver. Elucidation of non-Newtonian flow of silk in the glands of spiders and silkworms has inspired researchers to fabricate devices for continuous extrusion and concentration of silk. Microfluidic channel networks within porous silk scaffolds ensure optimal nutrient and oxygen supply apart from serving as precursors for vascularization in tissue engineering applications. On the other hand, unique topographical features and surface wettability of natural silk fibers have inspired development of a number of simple and cost-effective devices for applications like blood typing and chemical sensing. This review mirrors the recent progress and challenges in the domain of silk-microfluidics for prospective avant-garde applications in the realm of biotechnology. PMID:27165254

  2. Sensitization to silk allergen among workers of silk filatures in India: a comparative study

    PubMed Central

    Gowda, Giriyanna; Vijayeendra, Anagha Manakari; Sarkar, Nivedita; Nagaraj, Chitra; Masthi, Nugehally Raju Ramesh

    2016-01-01

    Background Sericulture plays an eminent role in development of rural economy in India. Silk filature is a unit where silk is unwound from the cocoons and the strands are collected into skeins. During the process workers are exposed to the high molecular weight proteins like Sericin and Fibroin which are potent allergens leading to sensitization over a period of time and subsequently occupational related health disorders. Objective To identify and compare the magnitude of silk allergen sensitization in workers of silk filatures. Methods A community based comparative descriptive study was conducted for a period of 1 year at Ramanagara in south India. One hundred twenty subjects working in the silk filatures formed the study group. For comparison, 2 types of controls were selected viz.120 subjects who were not working in the silk filatures but resided in the same geographical area (control A) and 360 subjects who were not working in silk filatures as well not residing in the same geographical area (control B). Skin prick test was used to identify the silk allergen sensitization. Results Mean age was 34.14 ± 2.84 years in the study group. Mean age was 40.59 ± 14.40 years and 38.54 ± 12.20 years in control A and control B, respectively. There were 35 males (29.16%) and 85 females (70.84%) in the study group. There were 58 (48.34%) males and 62 (51.66%) females and 152 (42.2%) males and 208 females (57.8%) in control A and control B, respectively. Sensitization to silk allergen was 35.83% in the study group and 20.83% in the control group A and 11.11% in control group B. There was difference in the allergen sensitivity between the study group and control groups and it was statistically significant (chi-square = 38.08; p < 0.001). Conclusion There is high burden of silk allergen sensitization among silk filature workers. PMID:27141481

  3. Mechanisms of monoclonal antibody stabilization and release from silk biomaterials

    PubMed Central

    Guziewicz, Nicholas A.; Massetti, Andrew J.; Perez-Ramirez, Bernardo J.; Kaplan, David L.

    2013-01-01

    The availability of stabilization and sustained delivery systems for antibody therapeutics remains a major clinical challenge, despite the growing development of antibodies for a wide range of therapeutic applications due to their specificity and efficacy. A mechanistic understanding of protein-matrix interactions is critical for the development of such systems and is currently lacking as a mode to guide the field. We report mechanistic insight to address this need by using well-defined matrices based on silk gels, in combination with a monoclonal antibody. Variables including antibody loading, matrix density, charge interactions, hydrophobicity and water access were assessed to clarify mechanisms involved in the release of antibody from the biomaterial matrix. The results indicate that antibody release is primarily governed by hydrophobic interactions and hydration resistance, which are controlled by silk matrix chemistry, peptide domain distribution and protein density. Secondary ionic repulsions are also critical in antibody stabilization and release. Matrix modification by free methionine incorporation was found to be an effective strategy for mitigating encapsulation induced antibody oxidation. Additionally, these studies highlight a characterization approach to improve the understanding and development of other protein sustained delivery systems, with broad applicability to the rapidly developing monoclonal antibody field. PMID:23859659

  4. Antimicrobial functionalized genetically engineered spider silk

    PubMed Central

    Gomes, Sílvia; Leonor, Isabel B.; Mano, João F.; Reis, Rui L.; Kaplan, David L.

    2011-01-01

    Genetically engineered fusion proteins offer potential as multifunctional biomaterials for medical use. Fusion or chimeric proteins can be formed using recombinant DNA technology by combining nucleotide sequences encoding different peptides or proteins that are otherwise not found together in nature. In the present study, three new fusion proteins were designed, cloned and expressed and assessed for function, by combining the consensus sequence of dragline spider silk with three different antimicrobial peptides. The human antimicrobial peptides human neutrophil defensin 2 (HNP-2), human neutrophil defensins 4 (HNP-4) and hepcidin were fused to spider silk through bioengineering. The spider silk domain maintained its self-assembly features, a key aspect of these new polymeric protein biomaterials, allowing the formation of β-sheets to lock in structures via physical interactions without the need for chemical cross-linking. These new functional silk proteins were assessed for antimicrobial activity against Gram - Escherichia coli and Gram + Staphylococcus aureus and microbicidal activity was demonstrated. Dynamic light scattering was used to assess protein aggregation to clarify the antimicrobial patterns observed. Attenuated-total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) and circular dichroism (CD) were used to assess the secondary structure of the new recombinant proteins. In vitro cell studies with a human osteosarcoma cell line (SaOs-2) demonstrated the compatibility of these new proteins with mammalian cells. PMID:21458065

  5. Silk Fibroin for Flexible Electronic Devices.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Bowen; Wang, Hong; Leow, Wan Ru; Cai, Yurong; Loh, Xian Jun; Han, Ming-Yong; Chen, Xiaodong

    2016-06-01

    Flexible electronic devices are necessary for applications involving unconventional interfaces, such as soft and curved biological systems, in which traditional silicon-based electronics would confront a mechanical mismatch. Biological polymers offer new opportunities for flexible electronic devices by virtue of their biocompatibility, environmental benignity, and sustainability, as well as low cost. As an intriguing and abundant biomaterial, silk offers exquisite mechanical, optical, and electrical properties that are advantageous toward the development of next-generation biocompatible electronic devices. The utilization of silk fibroin is emphasized as both passive and active components in flexible electronic devices. The employment of biocompatible and biosustainable silk materials revolutionizes state-of-the-art electronic devices and systems that currently rely on conventional semiconductor technologies. Advances in silk-based electronic devices would open new avenues for employing biomaterials in the design and integration of high-performance biointegrated electronics for future applications in consumer electronics, computing technologies, and biomedical diagnosis, as well as human-machine interfaces. PMID:26684370

  6. Greatly increased toughness of infiltrated spider silk.

    PubMed

    Lee, Seung-Mo; Pippel, Eckhard; Gösele, Ulrich; Dresbach, Christian; Qin, Yong; Chandran, C Vinod; Bräuniger, Thomas; Hause, Gerd; Knez, Mato

    2009-04-24

    In nature, tiny amounts of inorganic impurities, such as metals, are incorporated in the protein structures of some biomaterials and lead to unusual mechanical properties of those materials. A desire to produce these biomimicking new materials has stimulated materials scientists, and diverse approaches have been attempted. In contrast, research to improve the mechanical properties of biomaterials themselves by direct metal incorporation into inner protein structures has rarely been tried because of the difficulty of developing a method that can infiltrate metals into biomaterials, resulting in a metal-incorporated protein matrix. We demonstrated that metals can be intentionally infiltrated into inner protein structures of biomaterials through multiple pulsed vapor-phase infiltration performed with equipment conventionally used for atomic layer deposition (ALD). We infiltrated zinc (Zn), titanium (Ti), or aluminum (Al), combined with water from corresponding ALD precursors, into spider dragline silks and observed greatly improved toughness of the resulting silks. The presence of the infiltrated metals such as Al or Ti was verified by energy-dispersive x-ray (EDX) and nuclear magnetic resonance spectra measured inside the treated silks. This result of enhanced toughness of spider silk could potentially serve as a model for a more general approach to enhance the strength and toughness of other biomaterials. PMID:19390040

  7. The Ancient Art of Silk Painting

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Yonker, Kim

    2010-01-01

    In this article, the author describes a silk-painting project with a sea-creature theme for eighth-grade students. Other themes can be used such as geometric quilt designs, tropical rain forest, large flowers, Art Nouveau motifs, portraits and more. (Contains 2 resources.)

  8. Constructing Knowledge with Silk Road Visuals

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bisland, Beverly Milner

    2008-01-01

    In this study a group of elementary teachers use illustrations, rather than written text, to introduce their students to the peoples and places of the ancient silk routes. The illustrations are from two picture books; "Marco Polo," written by Gian Paolo Cesaerani and illustrated by Piero Ventura (1977), and "We're Riding on a Caravan: An Adventure…

  9. Cytocompatibility of a silk fibroin tubular scaffold.

    PubMed

    Wang, Jiannan; Wei, Yali; Yi, Honggen; Liu, Zhiwu; Sun, Dan; Zhao, Huanrong

    2014-01-01

    Regenerated silk fibroin (SF) materials are increasingly used for tissue engineering applications. In order to explore the feasibility of a novel biomimetic silk fibroin tubular scaffold (SFTS) crosslinked by poly(ethylene glycol) diglycidyl ether (PEG-DE), biocompatibility with cells was evaluated. The novel biomimetic design of the SFTS consisted of three distinct layers: a regenerated SF intima, a silk braided media and a regenerated SF adventitia. The SFTS exhibited even silk fibroin penetration throughout the braid, forming a porous layered tube with superior mechanical, permeable and cell adhesion properties that are beneficial to vascular regeneration. Cytotoxicity and cell compatibility were tested on L929 cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (EA.hy926). DNA content analysis, scanning electron and confocal microscopies and MTT assay showed no inhibitory effects on DNA replication. Cell morphology, viability and proliferation were good for L929 cells, and satisfactory for EA.hy926 cells. Furthermore, the suture retention strength of the SFTS was about 23N and the Young's modulus was 0.2-0.3MPa. Collectively, these data demonstrate that PEG-DE crosslinked SFTS possesses the appropriate cytocompatibility and mechanical properties for use as vascular scaffolds as an alternative to vascular autografts. PMID:24268279

  10. Silk fibroin microtubes for blood vessel engineering.

    PubMed

    Lovett, Michael; Cannizzaro, Christopher; Daheron, Laurence; Messmer, Brady; Vunjak-Novakovic, Gordana; Kaplan, David L

    2007-12-01

    Currently available synthetic grafts demonstrate moderate success at the macrovascular level, but fail at the microvascular scale (<6mm inner diameter). We report on the development of silk fibroin microtubes for blood vessel repair with several advantages over existing scaffold materials/designs. These microtubes were prepared by dipping straight lengths of stainless steel wire into aqueous silk fibroin, where the addition of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) enabled control of microtube porosity. The microtube properties were characterized in terms of pore size, burst strength, protein permeability, enzymatic degradation, and cell migration. Low porosity microtubes demonstrated superior mechanical properties in terms of higher burst pressures, but displayed poor protein permeability; whereas higher porosity tubes had lower burst strengths but increased permeability and enhanced protein transport. The microtubes also exhibited cellular barrier functions as low porosity tubes prevented outward migration of GFP-transduced HUVECs, while the high porosity microtubes allowed a few cells per tube to migrate outward during perfusion. When combined with the biocompatible and suturability features of silk fibroin, these results suggest that silk microtubes, either implanted directly or preseeded with cells, are an attractive biomaterial for microvascular grafts. PMID:17727944

  11. Silk-Screening a la Andy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mathes, Len

    2000-01-01

    Describes a project that was used with advanced 11th and 12th grade art students in which they created silk-screen self-portraits in the style of Andy Warhol. Discusses the process of creating the portraits and the activities that concluded the project. Lists the needed materials. (CMK)

  12. The effect of sterilization on silk fibroin biomaterial properties.

    PubMed

    Rnjak-Kovacina, Jelena; DesRochers, Teresa M; Burke, Kelly A; Kaplan, David L

    2015-06-01

    The effects of common sterilization techniques on the physical and biological properties of lyophilized silk fibroin sponges are described. Sterile silk fibroin sponges were cast using a pre-sterilized silk fibroin solution under aseptic conditions or post-sterilized via autoclaving, γ radiation, dry heat, exposure to ethylene oxide, or hydrogen peroxide gas plasma. Low average molecular weight and low concentration silk fibroin solutions could be sterilized via autoclaving or filtration without significant loses of protein. However, autoclaving reduced the molecular weight distribution of the silk fibroin protein solution, and silk fibroin sponges cast from autoclaved silk fibroin were significantly stiffer compared to sponges cast from unsterilized or filtered silk fibroin. When silk fibroin sponges were sterilized post-casting, autoclaving increased scaffold stiffness, while decreasing scaffold degradation rate in vitro. In contrast, γ irradiation accelerated scaffold degradation rate. Exposure to ethylene oxide significantly decreased cell proliferation rate on silk fibroin sponges, which was rescued by leaching ethylene oxide into PBS prior to cell seeding. PMID:25761231

  13. Stem cell-based tissue engineering with silk biomaterials.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yongzhong; Kim, Hyeon-Joo; Vunjak-Novakovic, Gordana; Kaplan, David L

    2006-12-01

    Silks are naturally occurring polymers that have been used clinically as sutures for centuries. When naturally extruded from insects or worms, silk is composed of a filament core protein, termed fibroin, and a glue-like coating consisting of sericin proteins. In recent years, silk fibroin has been increasingly studied for new biomedical applications due to the biocompatibility, slow degradability and remarkable mechanical properties of the material. In addition, the ability to now control molecular structure and morphology through versatile processability and surface modification options have expanded the utility for this protein in a range of biomaterial and tissue-engineering applications. Silk fibroin in various formats (films, fibers, nets, meshes, membranes, yarns, and sponges) has been shown to support stem cell adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation in vitro and promote tissue repair in vivo. In particular, stem cell-based tissue engineering using 3D silk fibroin scaffolds has expanded the use of silk-based biomaterials as promising scaffolds for engineering a range of skeletal tissues like bone, ligament, and cartilage, as well as connective tissues like skin. To date fibroin from Bombyx mori silkworm has been the dominant source for silk-based biomaterials studied. However, silk fibroins from spiders and those formed via genetic engineering or the modification of native silk fibroin sequence chemistries are beginning to provide new options to further expand the utility of silk fibroin-based materials for medical applications. PMID:16890988

  14. Structural and optical studies on selected web spinning spider silks.

    PubMed

    Karthikeyani, R; Divya, A; Mathavan, T; Asath, R Mohamed; Benial, A Milton Franklin; Muthuchelian, K

    2017-01-01

    This study investigates the structural and optical properties in the cribellate silk of the sheet web spider Stegodyphus sarasinorum Karsch (Eresidae) and the combined dragline, viscid silk of the orb-web spiders Argiope pulchella Thorell (Araneidae) and Nephila pilipes Fabricius (Nephilidae). X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infra-red (FTIR), Ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) and fluorescence spectroscopic techniques were used to study these three spider silk species. X-ray diffraction data are consistent with the amorphous polymer network which is arising from the interaction of larger side chain amino acid contributions due to the poly-glycine rich sequences known to be present in the proteins of cribellate silk. The same amorphous polymer networks have been determined from the combined dragline and viscid silk of orb-web spiders. From FTIR spectra the results demonstrate that, cribellate silk of Stegodyphus sarasinorum, combined dragline viscid silk of Argiope pulchella and Nephila pilipes spider silks are showing protein peaks in the amide I, II and III regions. Further they proved that the functional groups present in the protein moieties are attributed to α-helical and side chain amino acid contributions. The optical properties of the obtained spider silks such as extinction coefficients, refractive index, real and imaginary dielectric constants and optical conductance were studied extensively from UV-Vis analysis. The important fluorescent amino acid tyrosine is present in the protein folding was investigated by using fluorescence spectroscopy. This research would explore the protein moieties present in the spider silks which were found to be associated with α-helix and side chain amino acid contributions than with β-sheet secondary structure and also the optical relationship between the three different spider silks are investigated. Successful spectroscopic knowledge of the internal protein structure and optical properties of the spider silks could

  15. Multiple silk coatings on biphasic calcium phosphate scaffolds: Effect on physical and mechanical properties, and in vitro osteogenic response of human mesenchymal stem cells

    PubMed Central

    Li, Jiao Jiao; Gil, Eun Seok; Hayden, Rebecca S.; Li, Chunmei; Roohani-Esfahani, Seyed-Iman; Kaplan, David L.; Zreiqat, Hala

    2013-01-01

    Ceramic scaffolds such as biphasic calcium phosphate (BCP) have been widely studied and used for bone regeneration, but their brittleness and low mechanical strength are major drawbacks. We report the first systematic study on the effect of silk coating in improving the mechanical and biological properties of BCP scaffolds, including 1) optimisation of the silk coating process by investigating multiple coatings, and 2) in vitro evaluation of the osteogenic response of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) on the coated scaffolds. Our results show that multiple silk coatings on BCP ceramic scaffolds can achieve a significant coating effect to approach the mechanical properties of native bone tissue and positively influence osteogenesis by hMSCs over an extended period. The silk coating method developed in this study represents a simple yet effective means of reinforcement that can be applied to other types of ceramic scaffolds with similar microstructure to improve osteogenic outcomes. PMID:23745709

  16. Electrodeposited silk coatings for functionalized implant applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elia, Roberto

    The mechanical and morphological properties of titanium as well as its biocompatibility and osteoinductive characteristics have made it the material of choice for dental implant systems. Although the success rate of titanium implants exceeds 90% in healthy individuals, a large subset of the population has one or more risk factors that inhibit implant integration. Treatments and coatings have been developed to improve clinical outcomes via introduction of appropriate surface topography, texture and roughness or incorporation of bioactive molecules. It is essential that the coatings and associated deposition techniques are controllable and reproducible. Currently, methods of depositing functional coatings are dictated by numerous parameters (temperature, particle size distribution, pH and voltage), which result in variable coating thickness, strength, porosity and weight, and hinder or preclude biomolecule incorporation. Silk is a highly versatile protein with a unique combination of mechanical and physical properties, including tunable degradation, biocompatibility, drug stabilizing capabilities and mechanical properties. Most recently an electrogelation technique was developed which allows for the deposition of gels which dry seamlessly over the contoured topography of the conductive substrate. In this work we examine the potential use of silk electrogels as mechanically robust implant coatings capable of sequestering and releasing therapeutic agents. Electrodeposition of silk electrogels formed in uniform electric fields was characterized with respect to field intensity and deposition time. Gel formation kinetics were used to derive functions which allowed for the prediction of coating deposition over a range of process and solution parameters. Silk electrogel growth orientation was shown to be influenced by the applied electric field. Coatings were reproducible and tunable via intrinsic silk solution properties and extrinsic process parameters. Adhesion was

  17. Intragenic homogenization and multiple copies of prey-wrapping silk genes in Argiope garden spiders

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Spider silks are spectacular examples of phenotypic diversity arising from adaptive molecular evolution. An individual spider can produce an array of specialized silks, with the majority of constituent silk proteins encoded by members of the spidroin gene family. Spidroins are dominated by tandem repeats flanked by short, non-repetitive N- and C-terminal coding regions. The remarkable mechanical properties of spider silks have been largely attributed to the repeat sequences. However, the molecular evolutionary processes acting on spidroin terminal and repetitive regions remain unclear due to a paucity of complete gene sequences and sampling of genetic variation among individuals. To better understand spider silk evolution, we characterize a complete aciniform spidroin gene from an Argiope orb-weaving spider and survey aciniform gene fragments from congeneric individuals. Results We present the complete aciniform spidroin (AcSp1) gene from the silver garden spider Argiope argentata (Aar_AcSp1), and document multiple AcSp1 loci in individual genomes of A. argentata and the congeneric A. trifasciata and A. aurantia. We find that Aar_AcSp1 repeats have >98% pairwise nucleotide identity. By comparing AcSp1 repeat amino acid sequences between Argiope species and with other genera, we identify regions of conservation over vast amounts of evolutionary time. Through a PCR survey of individual A. argentata, A. trifasciata, and A. aurantia genomes, we ascertain that AcSp1 repeats show limited variation between species whereas terminal regions are more divergent. We also find that average dN/dS across codons in the N-terminal, repetitive, and C-terminal encoding regions indicate purifying selection that is strongest in the N-terminal region. Conclusions Using the complete A. argentata AcSp1 gene and spidroin genetic variation between individuals, this study clarifies some of the molecular evolutionary processes underlying the spectacular mechanical attributes of

  18. Solution structure of eggcase silk protein and its implications for silk fiber formation

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Zhi; Huang, Weidong; Zhang, Jingfeng; Fan, Jing-Song; Yang, Daiwen

    2009-01-01

    Spider silks are renowned for their excellent mechanical properties and biomimetic and industrial potentials. They are formed from the natural refolding of water-soluble fibroins with α-helical and random coil structures in silk glands into insoluble fibers with mainly β-structures. The structures of the fibroins at atomic resolution and silk formation mechanism remain largely unknown. Here, we report the 3D structures of individual domains of a ≈366-kDa eggcase silk protein that consists of 20 identical type 1 repetitive domains, one type 2 repetitive domain, and conserved nonrepetitive N- and C-terminal domains. The structures of the individual domains in solution were determined by using NMR techniques. The domain interactions were investigated by NMR and dynamic light-scattering techniques. The formation of micelles and macroscopic fibers from the domains was examined by electron microscopy. We find that either of the terminal domains covalently linked with at least one repetitive domain spontaneously forms micelle-like structures and can be further transformed into fibers at ≥37 °C and a protein concentration of >0.1 wt%. Our biophysical and biochemical experiments indicate that the less hydrophilic terminal domains initiate the assembly of the proteins and form the outer layer of the micelles whereas the more hydrophilic repetitive domains are embedded inside to ensure the formation of the micelle-like structures that are the essential intermediates in silk formation. Our results establish the roles of individual silk protein domains in fiber formation and provide the basis for designing miniature fibroins for producing artificial silks. PMID:19458259

  19. Brown recluse spider's nanometer scale ribbons of stiff extensible silk.

    PubMed

    Schniepp, Hannes C; Koebley, Sean R; Vollrath, Fritz

    2013-12-23

    The silk of the recluse spider features a ribbon-like morphology unlike any other spider silk or synthetically spun polymer fiber. These protein ribbons represent free-standing polymer films with a thickness of about 50 nm. Stress-strain characterization of individual fibers via atomic force microscopy reveals that these ribbons, only a few molecular layers of protein thin, rival the mechanical performance of the best silks. PMID:24352987

  20. Bioengineered silk proteins to control cell and tissue functions.

    PubMed

    Preda, Rucsanda C; Leisk, Gary; Omenetto, Fiorenzo; Kaplan, David L

    2013-01-01

    Silks are defined as protein polymers that are spun into fibers by some lepidoptera larvae such as silkworms, spiders, scorpions, mites, and flies. Silk proteins are usually produced within specialized glands in these animals after biosynthesis in epithelial cells that line the glands, followed by secretion into the lumen of the gland prior to spinning into fibers.The most comprehensively characterized silks are from the domesticated silkworm (Bombyx mori) and from some spiders (Nephila clavipes and Araneus diadematus). Silkworm silk has been used commercially as biomedical sutures for decades and in textile production for centuries. Because of their impressive mechanical properties, silk proteins provide an important set of material options in the fields of controlled drug release, and for biomaterials and scaffolds for tissue engineering. Silkworm silk from B. mori consists primarily of two protein components, fibroin, the structural protein of silk fibers, and sericins, the water-soluble glue-like proteins that bind the fibroin fibers together. Silk fibroin consists of heavy and light chain polypeptides linked by a disulfide bond. Fibroin is the protein of interest for biomedical materials and it has to be purified/extracted from the silkworm cocoon by removal of the sericin. Characteristics of silks, including biodegradability, biocompatibility, controllable degradation rates, and versatility to generate different material formats from gels to fibers and sponges, have attracted interest in the field of biomaterials. Cell culture and tissue formation using silk-based biomaterials have been pursued, where appropriate cell adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation on or in silk biomaterials support the regeneration of tissues. The relative ease with which silk proteins can be processed into a variety of material morphologies, versatile chemical functionalization options, processing in water or solvent, and the related biological features of biocompatibility and

  1. Surface and Wetting Properties of Embiopteran (Webspinner) Nanofiber Silk.

    PubMed

    Osborn Popp, Thomas M; Addison, J Bennett; Jordan, Jacob S; Damle, Viraj G; Rykaczewski, Konrad; Chang, Shery L Y; Stokes, Grace Y; Edgerly, Janice S; Yarger, Jeffery L

    2016-05-10

    Insects of the order Embioptera, known as embiopterans, embiids, or webspinners, weave silk fibers together into sheets to make shelters called galleries. In this study, we show that silk galleries produced by the embiopteran Antipaluria urichi exhibit a highly hydrophobic wetting state with high water adhesion macroscopically equivalent to the rose petal effect. Specifically, the silk sheets have advancing contact angles above 150°, but receding contact angle approaching 0°. The silk sheets consist of layered fiber bundles with single strands spaced by microscale gaps. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM, TEM) images of silk treated with organic solvent and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) of the organic extract support the presence of a lipid outer layer on the silk fibers. We use cryogenic SEM to demonstrate that water drops reside on only the first layer of the silk fibers. The area fraction of this sparse outer silk layers is 0.1 to 0.3, which according to the Cassie-Baxter equation yields an effective static contact angle of ∼130° even for a mildly hydrophobic lipid coating. Using high magnification optical imaging of the three phase contact line of a water droplet receding from the silk sheet, we show that the high adhesion of the drop stems from water pinning along bundles of multiple silk fibers. The bundles likely form when the drop contact line is pinned on individual fibers and pulls them together as it recedes. The dynamic reorganization of the silk sheets during the droplet movement leads to formation of "super-pinning sites" that give embiopteran silk one of the strongest adhesions to water of any natural hydrophobic surface. PMID:27062909

  2. Spider silk: a novel optical fibre for biochemical sensing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hey Tow, Kenny; Chow, Desmond M.; Vollrath, Fritz; Dicaire, Isabelle; Gheysens, Tom; Thévenaz, Luc

    2015-09-01

    Whilst being thoroughly used in the textile industry and biomedical sector, silk has not yet been exploited for fibre optics-based sensing although silk fibres directly obtained from spiders can guide light and have shown early promises to being sensitive to some solvents. In this communication, a pioneering optical fibre sensor based on spider silk is reported, demonstrating for the first time the use of spider silk as an optical fibre sensor to detect polar solvents such as water, ammonia and acetic acid.

  3. Silk-based biomaterials for sustained drug delivery.

    PubMed

    Yucel, Tuna; Lovett, Michael L; Kaplan, David L

    2014-09-28

    Silk presents a rare combination of desirable properties for sustained drug delivery, including aqueous-based purification and processing options without chemical cross-linkers, compatibility with common sterilization methods, controllable and surface-mediated biodegradation into non-inflammatory by-products, biocompatibility, utility in drug stabilization, and robust mechanical properties. A versatile silk-based toolkit is currently available for sustained drug delivery formulations of small molecule through macromolecular drugs, with a promise to mitigate several drawbacks associated with other degradable sustained delivery technologies in the market. Silk-based formulations utilize silk's well-defined nano- through microscale structural hierarchy, stimuli-responsive self-assembly pathways and crystal polymorphism, as well as sequence and genetic modification options towards targeted pharmaceutical outcomes. Furthermore, by manipulating the interactions between silk and drug molecules, near-zero order sustained release may be achieved through diffusion- and degradation-based release mechanisms. Because of these desirable properties, there has been increasing industrial interest in silk-based drug delivery systems currently at various stages of the developmental pipeline from pre-clinical to FDA-approved products. Here, we discuss the unique aspects of silk technology as a sustained drug delivery platform and highlight the current state of the art in silk-based drug delivery. We also offer a potential early development pathway for silk-based sustained delivery products. PMID:24910193

  4. Metal nanoparticles triggered persistent negative photoconductivity in silk protein hydrogels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gogurla, Narendar; Sinha, Arun K.; Naskar, Deboki; Kundu, Subhas C.; Ray, Samit K.

    2016-03-01

    Silk protein is a natural biopolymer with intriguing properties, which are attractive for next generation bio-integrated electronic and photonic devices. Here, we demonstrate the negative photoconductive response of Bombyx mori silk protein fibroin hydrogels, triggered by Au nanoparticles. The room temperature electrical conductivity of Au-silk hydrogels is found to be enhanced with the incorporation of Au nanoparticles over the control sample, due to the increased charge transporting networks within the hydrogel. Au-silk lateral photoconductor devices show a unique negative photoconductive response under an illumination of 325 nm, with excitation energy higher than the characteristic metal plasmon resonance band. The enhanced photoconductance yield in the hydrogels over the silk protein is attributed to the photo-oxidation of amino groups in the β-pleated sheets of the silk around the Au nanoparticles followed by the breaking of charge transport networks. The Au-silk nanocomposite does not show any photoresponse under visible illumination because of the localization of excited charges in Au nanoparticles. The negative photoconductive response of hybrid Au-silk under UV illumination may pave the way towards the utilization of silk for future bio-photonic devices using metal nanoparticle platforms.

  5. Structure-Function-Property-Design Interplay in Biopolymers: Spider Silk

    PubMed Central

    Tokareva, Olena; Jacobsen, Matthew; Buehler, Markus; Wong, Joyce; Kaplan, David L.

    2013-01-01

    Spider silks have been a focus of research for almost two decades due to their outstanding mechanical and biophysical properties. Recent advances in genetic engineering have led to the synthesis of recombinant spider silks, thus helping to unravel a fundamental understanding of structure-function-property relationships. The relationships between molecular composition, secondary structures, and mechanical properties found in different types of spider silks are described, along with a discussion of artificial spinning of these proteins and their bioapplications, including the role of silks in biomineralization and fabrication of biomaterials with controlled properties. PMID:23962644

  6. Total X-Ray Scattering of Spider Dragline Silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benmore, C. J.; Izdebski, T.; Yarger, J. L.

    2012-04-01

    Total x-ray scattering measurements of spider dragline silk fibers from Nephila clavipes, Argiope aurantia, and Latrodectus hesperus all yield similar structure factors, with only small variations between the different species. Wide-angle x-ray scattering from fibers orientated perpendicular to the beam shows a high degree of anisotropy, and differential pair distribution functions obtained by integrating over wedges of the equatorial and meridian planes indicate that, on average, the majority (95%) of the atom-atom correlations do not extend beyond 1 nm. Futhermore, the atom-atom correlations between 1 and 3 nm are not associated with the most intense diffraction peaks at Q=1-2Å-1. Disordered molecular orientations along the fiber axis are consistent with proteins in similar structural arrangements to those in the equatorial plane, which may be associated with the silk’s greater flexibility in this direction.

  7. Silk microgels formed by proteolytic enzyme activity.

    PubMed

    Samal, Sangram K; Dash, Mamoni; Chiellini, Federica; Kaplan, David L; Chiellini, Emo

    2013-09-01

    The proteolytic enzyme α-chymotrypsin selectively cleaves the amorphous regions of silk fibroin protein (SFP) and allows the crystalline regions to self-assemble into silk microgels (SMGs) at physiological temperature. These microgels consist of lamellar crystals in the micrometer scale, in contrast to the nanometer-scaled crystals in native silkworm fibers. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and zeta potential results demonstrated that α-chymotrypsin utilized only the non-amorphous domains or segments of the heavy chain of SFP to form negatively charged SMGs. The SMGs were characterized in terms of size, charge, structure, morphology, crystallinity, swelling kinetics, water content and thermal properties. The results suggest that the present technique of preparing SMGs by α-chymotrypsin is simple and efficient, and that the prepared SMGs have useful features for studies related to biomaterial and pharmaceutical needs. This process is also an easy way to obtain the amorphous peptide chains for further study. PMID:23756227

  8. Silk constructs for delivery of muskuloskeletal therapeutics

    PubMed Central

    Meinel, Lorenz; Kaplan, David L.

    2012-01-01

    Silk fibroin (SF) is a biopolymer with distinguishing features from many other bio- as well as synthetic polymers. From a biomechanical and drug delivery perspective, SF combines remarkable versatility for scaffolding (solid implants, hydrogels, threads, solutions), with advanced mechanical properties and good stabilization and controlled delivery of entrapped protein and small molecule drugs, respectively. It is this combination of mechanical and pharmaceutical features which render SF so exciting for biomedical applications. his pattern along with the versatility of this biopolymer have been translated into progress for musculoskeletal applications. We review the use and potential of silk fibroin for systemic and localized delivery of therapeutics in diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system. We also present future directions for this biopolymer as well as the necessary research and development steps for their achievement. PMID:22522139

  9. Electrospun Silk Biomaterial Scaffolds for Regenerative Medicine

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Xiaohui; Reagan, Michaela R; Kaplan, David L.

    2009-01-01

    Electrospinning is a versatile technique that enables the development of nanofiber-based biomaterial scaffolds. Scaffolds can be generated that are useful for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine since they mimic the nanoscale properties of certain fibrous components of the native extracellular matrix in tissues. Silk is a natural protein with excellent biocompatibility, remarkable mechanical properties as well as tailorable degradability. Integrating these protein polymer advantages with electrospinning results in scaffolds with combined biochemical, topographical and mechanical cues with versatility for a range of biomaterial, cell and tissue studies and applications. This review covers research related to electrospinning of silk, including process parameters, post treatment of the spun fibers, functionalization of nanofibers, and the potential applications for these material systems in regenerative medicine. Research challenges and future trends are also discussed. PMID:19643154

  10. Silk scaffolds for musculoskeletal tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Yao, Danyu; Liu, Haifeng; Fan, Yubo

    2016-02-01

    The musculoskeletal system, which includes bone, cartilage, tendon/ligament, and skeletal muscle, is becoming the targets for tissue engineering because of the high need for their repair and regeneration. Numerous factors would affect the use of musculoskeletal tissue engineering for tissue regeneration ranging from cells used for scaffold seeding to the manufacture and structures of materials. The essential function of the scaffolds is to convey growth factors as well as cells to the target site to aid the regeneration of the injury. Among the variety of biomaterials used in scaffold engineering, silk fibroin is recognized as an ideal material for its impressive cytocompatibility, slow biodegradability, and excellent mechanical properties. The current review describes the advances made in the fabrication of silk fibroin scaffolds with different forms such as films, particles, electrospun fibers, hydrogels, three-dimensional porous scaffolds, and their applications in the regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues. PMID:26445979

  11. Silk fibroin nanostructured materials for biomedical applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitropoulos, Alexander N.

    Nanostructured biopolymers have proven to be promising to develop novel biomedical applications where forming structures at the nanoscale normally occurs by self-assembly. However, synthesizing these structures can also occur by inducing materials to transition into other forms by adding chemical cross-linkers, changing pH, or changing ionic composition. Understanding the generation of nanostructures in fluid environments, such as liquid organic solvents or supercritical fluids, has not been thoroughly examined, particularly those that are based on protein-based block-copolymers. Here, we examine the transformation of reconstituted silk fibroin, which has emerged as a promising biopolymer due to its biocompatibility, biodegradability, and ease of functionalization, into submicron spheres and gel networks which offer applications in tissue engineering and advanced sensors. Two types of gel networks, hydrogels and aerogels, have small pores and large surface areas that are defined by their structure. We design and analyze silk nanoparticle formation using a microfluidic device while offering an application for drug delivery. Additionally, we provide a model and characterize hydrogel formation from micelles to nanoparticles, while investigating cellular response to the hydrogel in an in vitro cell culture model. Lastly, we provide a second model of nanofiber formation during near-critical and supercritical drying and characterize the silk fibroin properties at different drying pressures which, when acting as a stabilizing matrix, shows to improve the activity of entrapped enzymes dried at different pressures. This work has created new nanostructured silk fibroin forms to benefit biomedical applications that could be applied to other fibrous proteins.

  12. Silk electrogel coatings for titanium dental implants.

    PubMed

    Elia, Roberto; Michelson, Courtney D; Perera, Austin L; Harsono, Masly; Leisk, Gray G; Kugel, Gerard; Kaplan, David L

    2015-04-01

    The aim of this study was to develop biocompatible, biodegradable dental implant coatings capable of withstanding the mechanical stresses imparted during implant placement. Two techniques were developed to deposit uniform silk fibroin protein coatings onto dental implants. Two novel coating techniques were implemented to coat titanium shims, studs, and implants. One technique involved electrodeposition of the silk directly onto the titanium substrates. The second technique consisted of melting electrogels and dispensing the melted gels onto the titanium to form the coatings. Both techniques were tested for coating reproducibility using a stylus profilometer and a dial thickness gauge. The mechanical strength of adhered titanium studs was assessed using a universal mechanical testing machine. Uniform, controllable coatings were obtained from both the electrodeposition and melted electrogel coating techniques, tunable from 35 to 1654 µm thick under the conditions studied, and able to withstand delamination during implantation into implant socket mimics. Mechanical testing revealed that the adhesive strength of electrogel coatings, 0.369 ± 0.09 MPa, rivaled other biologically derived coating systems such as collagen, hydroxyapatite, and chitosan (0.07-4.83 MPa). These novel silk-based techniques offer a unique approach to the deposition of safe, simple, mechanically robust, biocompatible, and degradable implant coatings. PMID:25425563

  13. Recombinant protein blends: silk beyond natural design.

    PubMed

    Dinjaski, Nina; Kaplan, David L

    2016-06-01

    Recombinant DNA technology and new material concepts are shaping future directions in biomaterial science for the design and production of the next-generation biomaterial platforms. Aside from conventionally used synthetic polymers, numerous natural biopolymers (e.g., silk, elastin, collagen, gelatin, alginate, cellulose, keratin, chitin, polyhydroxyalkanoates) have been investigated for properties and manipulation via bioengineering. Genetic engineering provides a path to increase structural and functional complexity of these biopolymers, and thereby expand the catalog of available biomaterials beyond that which exists in nature. In addition, the integration of experimental approaches with computational modeling to analyze sequence-structure-function relationships is starting to have an impact in the field by establishing predictive frameworks for determining material properties. Herein, we review advances in recombinant DNA-mediated protein production and functionalization approaches, with a focus on hybrids or combinations of proteins; recombinant protein blends or 'recombinamers'. We highlight the potential biomedical applications of fibrous protein recombinamers, such as Silk-Elastin Like Polypeptides (SELPs) and Silk-Bacterial Collagens (SBCs). We also discuss the possibility for the rationale design of fibrous proteins to build smart, stimuli-responsive biomaterials for diverse applications. We underline current limitations with production systems for these proteins and discuss the main trends in systems/synthetic biology that may improve recombinant fibrous protein design and production. PMID:26686863

  14. Osteogenic signaling on silk-based matrices.

    PubMed

    Midha, Swati; Murab, Sumit; Ghosh, Sourabh

    2016-08-01

    Bone tissue engineering has mainly focused on generating 3D grafts to repair bone defects. However, the underlying signaling mechanisms responsible for development of such 3D bone equivalents have largely been ignored. Here we describe the crucial aspects of embryonic osteogenesis and bone development including cell sources and general signaling cascades that guide mesenchymal progenitors towards osteogenic lineage. Drawing from the knowledge of developmental biology, we then review how silk biomaterial can regulate osteogenic signaling by focusing on the expression of cell surface markers, functional genomic information (mRNA) of stem cells cultured on silk matrices. In an attempt to recapitulate exact in vivo microenvironment of osteogenesis, role of scaffold architecture and material chemistry in regulating cellular differentiation is elaborated. The generated knowledge will not only improve our understanding of cell-material interactions but reveal newer strategies beyond a conventional tissue engineering paradigm and open new prospects for developing silk-based therapies against clinically relevant bone disorders. PMID:27163625

  15. Silk film biomaterials for cornea tissue engineering

    PubMed Central

    Lawrence, Brian D.; Marchant, Jeffrey K.; Pindrus, Mariya; Omenetto, Fiorenzo; Kaplan, David L.

    2009-01-01

    Biomaterials for corneal tissue engineering must demonstrate several critical features for potential utility in vivo, including transparency, mechanical integrity, biocompatibility and slow biodegradation. Silk film biomaterials were designed and characterized to meet these functional requirements. Silk protein films were used in a biomimetic approach to replicate corneal stromal tissue architecture. The films were 2 μm thick to emulate corneal collagen lamellae dimensions, and were surface patterned to guide cell alignment. To enhance trans-lamellar diffusion of nutrients and to promote cell-cell interaction, pores with 0.5 to 5.0 μm diameters were introduced into the silk films. Human and rabbit corneal fibroblast proliferation, alignment and corneal extracellular matrix expression on these films in both 2D and 3D cultures was demonstrated. The mechanical properties, optical clarity and surface patterned features of these films, combined with their ability to support corneal cell functions suggest this new biomaterial system offers important potential benefits for corneal tissue regeneration. PMID:19059642

  16. Silk-based blood stabilization for diagnostics.

    PubMed

    Kluge, Jonathan A; Li, Adrian B; Kahn, Brooke T; Michaud, Dominique S; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G; Kaplan, David L

    2016-05-24

    Advanced personalized medical diagnostics depend on the availability of high-quality biological samples. These are typically biofluids, such as blood, saliva, or urine; and their collection and storage is critical to obtain reliable results. Without proper temperature regulation, protein biomarkers in particular can degrade rapidly in blood samples, an effect that ultimately compromises the quality and reliability of laboratory tests. Here, we present the use of silk fibroin as a solid matrix to encapsulate blood analytes, protecting them from thermally induced damage that could be encountered during nonrefrigerated transportation or freeze-thaw cycles. Blood samples are recovered by simple dissolution of the silk matrix in water. This process is demonstrated to be compatible with a number of immunoassays and provides enhanced sample preservation in comparison with traditional air-drying paper approaches. Additional processing can remediate interactions with conformational structures of the silk protein to further enhance blood stabilization and recovery. This approach can provide expanded utility for remote collection of blood and other biospecimens empowering new modalities of temperature-independent remote diagnostics. PMID:27162330

  17. Vibrational spectroscopic study of sulphated silk proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Monti, P.; Freddi, G.; Arosio, C.; Tsukada, M.; Arai, T.; Taddei, P.

    2007-05-01

    Degummed Bombyx mori ( B. m.) silk fibroin fabric and mutant naked pupa cocoons (Nd-s) consisting of almost pure silk sericin were treated with chlorosulphonic acid in pyridine and investigated by FT-IR and FT-Raman spectroscopies. Untreated silk fibroin and sericin displayed typical spectral features due to characteristic amino acid composition and molecular conformation (prevailing β-sheet with a less ordered structure in sericin). Upon sulphation, the degree of molecular disorder increased in both proteins and new bands appeared. The IR bands at 1049 and 1014 cm -1 were attributed to vibrations of sulphate salts and that at 1385 cm -1 to the νasSO 2 mode of organic covalent sulphates. In the 1300-1180 cm -1 range various contributions of alkyl and aryl sulphate salts, sulphonamides, sulphoamines and organic covalent sulphates, fell. Fibroin covalently bound sulphate groups through the hydroxyl groups of tyrosine and serine, while sericin through the hydroxyl groups of serine, since the δOH vibrations at 1399 cm -1 in IR and at 1408 cm -1 in Raman disappeared almost completely. Finally, the increase of the I850/ I830 intensity ratio of Raman tyrosine doublet in fibroin suggested a change towards a more exposed state of tyrosine residues, in good agreement with the more disordered conformation taken upon sulphation.

  18. Silk Reconstitution Disrupts Fibroin Self-Assembly.

    PubMed

    Koebley, Sean R; Thorpe, Daniel; Pang, Pei; Chrisochoides, Panos; Greving, Imke; Vollrath, Fritz; Schniepp, Hannes C

    2015-09-14

    Using atomic force microscopy, we present the first molecular-scale comparison of two of the most important silk dopes, native (NSF) and reconstituted (RSF) silkworm fibroin. We found that both systems depended on shear to show self-assembly. Significant differences in the nature of self-assembly between NSF and RSF were shown. In the highest studied concentration of 1000 mg/L, NSF exhibited assembly into 20-30 nm-wide nanofibrils closely resembling the surface structures found in natural silk fibers. RSF, in contrast, showed no self-assembly whatsoever at the same concentration, which suggests that the reconstitution process significantly disrupts silk's inherent self-assembly capability. At lower concentrations, both RSF and NSF formed fibrils under shear, apparently denatured by the substrate. Using image analysis, we quantified the properties of these self-assembled fibrils as a function of concentration and found low-concentration fibrils of NSF to form larger continuous structures than those of RSF, further supporting NSF's superior self-assembly capabilities. PMID:26284914

  19. Early events in the evolution of spider silk genes.

    PubMed

    Starrett, James; Garb, Jessica E; Kuelbs, Amanda; Azubuike, Ugochi O; Hayashi, Cheryl Y

    2012-01-01

    Silk spinning is essential to spider ecology and has had a key role in the expansive diversification of spiders. Silk is composed primarily of proteins called spidroins, which are encoded by a multi-gene family. Spidroins have been studied extensively in the derived clade, Orbiculariae (orb-weavers), from the suborder Araneomorphae ('true spiders'). Orbicularians produce a suite of different silks, and underlying this repertoire is a history of duplication and spidroin gene divergence. A second class of silk proteins, Egg Case Proteins (ECPs), is known only from the orbicularian species, Lactrodectus hesperus (Western black widow). In L. hesperus, ECPs bond with tubuliform spidroins to form egg case silk fibers. Because most of the phylogenetic diversity of spiders has not been sampled for their silk genes, there is limited understanding of spidroin gene family history and the prevalence of ECPs. Silk genes have not been reported from the suborder Mesothelae (segmented spiders), which diverged from all other spiders >380 million years ago, and sampling from Mygalomorphae (tarantulas, trapdoor spiders) and basal araneomorph lineages is sparse. In comparison to orbicularians, mesotheles and mygalomorphs have a simpler silk biology and thus are hypothesized to have less diversity of silk genes. Here, we present cDNAs synthesized from the silk glands of six mygalomorph species, a mesothele, and a non-orbicularian araneomorph, and uncover a surprisingly rich silk gene diversity. In particular, we find ECP homologs in the mesothele, suggesting that ECPs were present in the common ancestor of extant spiders, and originally were not specialized to complex with tubuliform spidroins. Furthermore, gene-tree/species-tree reconciliation analysis reveals that numerous spidroin gene duplications occurred after the split between Mesothelae and Opisthothelae (Mygalomorphae plus Araneomorphae). We use the spidroin gene tree to reconstruct the evolution of amino acid compositions of

  20. Early Events in the Evolution of Spider Silk Genes

    PubMed Central

    Starrett, James; Garb, Jessica E.; Kuelbs, Amanda; Azubuike, Ugochi O.; Hayashi, Cheryl Y.

    2012-01-01

    Silk spinning is essential to spider ecology and has had a key role in the expansive diversification of spiders. Silk is composed primarily of proteins called spidroins, which are encoded by a multi-gene family. Spidroins have been studied extensively in the derived clade, Orbiculariae (orb-weavers), from the suborder Araneomorphae (‘true spiders’). Orbicularians produce a suite of different silks, and underlying this repertoire is a history of duplication and spidroin gene divergence. A second class of silk proteins, Egg Case Proteins (ECPs), is known only from the orbicularian species, Lactrodectus hesperus (Western black widow). In L. hesperus, ECPs bond with tubuliform spidroins to form egg case silk fibers. Because most of the phylogenetic diversity of spiders has not been sampled for their silk genes, there is limited understanding of spidroin gene family history and the prevalence of ECPs. Silk genes have not been reported from the suborder Mesothelae (segmented spiders), which diverged from all other spiders >380 million years ago, and sampling from Mygalomorphae (tarantulas, trapdoor spiders) and basal araneomorph lineages is sparse. In comparison to orbicularians, mesotheles and mygalomorphs have a simpler silk biology and thus are hypothesized to have less diversity of silk genes. Here, we present cDNAs synthesized from the silk glands of six mygalomorph species, a mesothele, and a non-orbicularian araneomorph, and uncover a surprisingly rich silk gene diversity. In particular, we find ECP homologs in the mesothele, suggesting that ECPs were present in the common ancestor of extant spiders, and originally were not specialized to complex with tubuliform spidroins. Furthermore, gene-tree/species-tree reconciliation analysis reveals that numerous spidroin gene duplications occurred after the split between Mesothelae and Opisthothelae (Mygalomorphae plus Araneomorphae). We use the spidroin gene tree to reconstruct the evolution of amino acid compositions

  1. Transgenic phenolic production in corn silks moderately enhances insect resistance

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Some phenolic compounds produced in corn silks, such as maysin, can promote resistance to caterpillar pests. We evaluated transgenic maize engineered to express a maize cDNA controlled by a putative silk specific promoter for secondary metabolite production and corn earworm resistance. Transgene e...

  2. Silk-Based Biomaterials for Sustained Drug Delivery

    PubMed Central

    Yucel, Tuna; Lovett, Michael L.; Kaplan, David L.

    2014-01-01

    Silk presents a rare combination of desirable properties for sustained drug delivery, including aqueous-based purification and processing options without chemical cross-linkers, compatibility with common sterilization methods, controllable and surface-mediated biodegradation into non-inflammatory by-products, biocompatibility, utility in drug stabilization, and robust mechanical properties. A versatile silk-based toolkit is currently available for sustained drug delivery formulations of small molecule through macromolecular drugs, with a promise to mitigate several drawbacks associated with other degradable sustained delivery technologies in the market. Silk-based formulations utilize silk’s well-defined nano- through microscale structural hierarchy, stimuli-responsive self-assembly pathways and crystal polymorphism, as well as sequence and genetic modification options towards targeted pharmaceutical outcomes. Furthermore, by manipulating the interactions between silk and drug molecules, near-zero order sustained release may be achieved through diffusion- and degradation-based release mechanisms. Because of these desirable properties, there has been increasing industrial interest in silk-based drug delivery systems currently at various stages of the developmental pipeline from pre-clinical to FDA-approved products. Here, we discuss the unique aspects of silk technology as a sustained drug delivery platform and highlight the current state of the art in silk-based drug delivery. We also offer a potential early development pathway for silk-based sustained delivery products. PMID:24910193

  3. Photocrosslinking of Silk Fibroin Using Riboflavin for Ocular Prostheses.

    PubMed

    Applegate, Matthew B; Partlow, Benjamin P; Coburn, Jeannine; Marelli, Benedetto; Pirie, Christopher; Pineda, Roberto; Kaplan, David L; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G

    2016-03-23

    A novel method to photocrosslink silk fibroin protein is reported, using riboflavin (vitamin B2) as a photoinitiator and the mechanism of crosslinking is determined. Exposure of riboflavin-doped liquid silk solution to light results in the formation of a transparent, elastic hydrogel. Several applications for this new material are investigated including corneal reshaping to restore visual acuity and photolithography. PMID:26821561

  4. Geographic Perspectives with Elementary Students: The Silk Road

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bisland, Beverly Milner

    2006-01-01

    The purpose of this study is to investigate elementary students' explanations of how physical features of the land influence the location of humanly defined structures including trade routes, such as the silk routes. The silk routes were a series of caravan trade routes that extended from Turkey to China and were located as far south as India and…

  5. The failure mode of natural silk epoxy triggered composite tubes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eshkour, R. A.; Ariffin, A. K.; Zulkifli, R.; Sulong, A. B.; Azhari, C. H.

    2012-09-01

    In this study the quasi static compression test over natural silk epoxy triggered composite tubes has been carried out, the natural silk epoxy composite tubes consist of 24 layer of woven natural silk as reinforcement and thermoset epoxy resin as matrix which both of them i e natural silk and epoxy have excellent mechanical properties More over the natural silk have better moisture resistance in comparison with other natural reinforcements, the length of tubes are 50, 80 and 120 mm The natural silk epoxy composite tubes are associated with an external trigger which includes 4 steel pieces welded on downside flat plate fixture The hand lay up fabrication method has been used to make the natural silk epoxy composite tubes Instron universal testing machine with 250 KN load capacity has been employed to accomplish this investigation The failure modes of natural silk epoxy triggered composite tubes has been investigated by representative photographs which has been taken by a high resolution camera(12 2 Mp) during the quasi static compression test, from the photographs is observed the failure modes is progressive local buckling

  6. Self-assembly of silk fibroin under osmotic stress

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sohn, Sungkyun

    The supramolecular self-assembly behavior of silk fibroin was investigated using osmotic stress technique. In Chapter 2, a ternary phase diagram of water-silk-LiBr was constructed based on X-ray results on the osmotically stressed regenerated silk fibroin of Bombyx mori silkworm. Microscopic data indicated that silk I is a hydrated structure and a rough estimate of the number of water molecules lost by the structure upon converting from silk I to silk II has been made, and found to be about 2.2 per [GAGAGS] hexapeptide. In Chapter 3, wet-spinning of osmotically stressed, regenerated silk fibroin was performed, based on the prediction that the enhanced control over structure and phase behavior using osmotic stress method helps improve the physical properties of wet-spun regenerated silk fibroin fibers. The osmotic stress was applied in order to pre-structure the regenerated silk fibroin molecule from its original random coil state to more oriented state, manipulating the phase of the silk solution in the phase diagram before the start of spinning. Monofilament fiber with a diameter of 20 microm was produced. In Chapter 4, we investigated if there is a noticeable synergistic osmotic pressure increase between co-existing polymeric osmolyte and salt when extremely highly concentrated salt molecules are present both at sample subphase and stressing subphase, as is the case of silk fibroin self-assembly. The equilibration method that measures osmotic pressure relative to a reference with known osmotic pressure was introduced. Osmotic pressure of aqueous LiBr solution up to 2.75M was measured and it was found that the synergistic effect was insignificant up to this salt concentration. Solution parameters of stressing solutions and Arrhenius kinetics based on time-temperature relationship for the equilibration process were derived as well. In Chapter 5, self-assembly behavior of natural silk fibroin within the gland of Bombyx mori silkworm was investigated using osmotic

  7. The complexity of silk under the spotlight of synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Vollrath, Fritz

    2016-08-15

    For centuries silkworm filaments have been the focus of R&D innovation centred on textile manufacture with high added value. Most recently, silk research has focused on more fundamental issues concerning bio-polymer structure-property-function relationships. This essay outlines the complexity and fundamentals of silk spinning, and presents arguments for establishing this substance as an interesting and important subject at the interface of systems biology (discovery) and synthetic biology (translation). It is argued that silk is a generic class of materials where each type of silk presents a different embodiment of emergent properties that combine genetically determined (anticipatory) and environmentally responsive components. In spiders' webs the various silks have evolved to form the interactive components of an intricate fabric that provides an extended phenotype to the spider's body morphology. PMID:27528763

  8. [Processing and Modification of Recombinant Spider Silk Proteins].

    PubMed

    Liu, Bin; Wang, Tao; Liu, Xiaobing; Luo, Yongen

    2015-08-01

    Due to its special sequence structure, spider silk protein has unique physical and chemical properties, mechanical properties and excellent biological properties. With the expansion of the application value of spider silk in many fields as a functional material, progress has been made in the studies on the expression of recombinant spider silk proteins through many host systems by gene recombinant techniques. Recombinant spider silk proteins can be processed into high performance fibers, and a wide range of nonfibrous morphologies. Moreover, for their excellent biocompatibility and low immune response they are ideal for biomedical applications. Here we review the process and mechanism of preparation in vitro, chemistry and genetic engineering modification on recombinant spider silk protein. PMID:26710473

  9. Silk-based delivery systems of bioactive molecules

    PubMed Central

    Numata, Keiji; Kaplan, David L

    2010-01-01

    Silks are biodegradable, biocompatible, self-assemblying proteins that can also be tailored via genetic engineering to contain specific chemical features, offering utility for drug and gene delivery. Silkworm silk has been used in biomedical sutures for decades and has recently achieved Food and Drug Administration approval for expanded biomaterials device utility. With the diversity and control of size, structure and chemistry, modified or recombinant silk proteins can be designed and utilized in various biomedical application, such as for the delivery of bioactive molecules. This review focuses on the biosynthesis and applications of silk-based multi-block copolymer systems and related silk protein drug delivery systems. The utility of these systems for the delivery of small molecule drugs, proteins and genes are reviewed. PMID:20298729

  10. Investigation of Natural Bombyx mori Silk Fibroin Proteins Using INS

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crain, Christopher; Strange, Nicholas; Larese, J. Z.

    The mechanical properties of many protein comprised biomaterials are a direct reflection of non-covalent (i.e. weak) interacting ions such as F-actin in muscles, tubulin in the cytoskeleton of cells, viral capsids, and silk. Porter and Vollrath underscored the two main factors that are critical for understanding the high mechanical strength of silks: the nanoscale semi-crystalline folding structure, which gives it exceptional toughness and strength, and the degree of hydration of the disordered fraction, which acts to modify these properties. Understanding and controlling these two principal factors are the key to the functionality of protein elastomers, and render silk an ideal model protein for (bio)material design. We will describe our investigation of electrospun silk of the Bombyx mori (silk worm), using Inelastic Neutron Scattering (INS). These techniques were used to investigate the microscopic dynamics of the dry and hydrated protein.

  11. Increased molecular mobility in humid silk fibers under tensile stress

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seydel, Tilo; Knoll, Wiebke; Greving, Imke; Dicko, Cedric; Koza, Michael M.; Krasnov, Igor; Müller, Martin

    2011-01-01

    Silk fibers are semicrystalline nanocomposite protein fibers with an extraordinary mechanical toughness that changes with humidity. Diffusive or overdamped motion on a molecular level is absent in dry silkworm silk, but present in humid silk at ambient temperature. This microscopic diffusion distinctly depends on the externally applied macroscopic tensile force. Quasielastic and inelastic neutron-scattering data as a function of humidity and of tensile strain on humid silk fibers support the model that both the adsorbed water and parts of the amorphous polymers participate in diffusive motion and are affected by the tensile force. It is notable that the quasielastic linewidth of humid silk at 100% relative humidity increases significantly with the applied force. The effect of the tensile force is discussed in terms of an increasing alignment of the polymer chains in the amorphous fraction with increasing tensile stress which changes the geometrical restrictions of the diffusive motions.

  12. Chimeric spider silk proteins mediated by intein result in artificial hybrid silks.

    PubMed

    Lin, Senzhu; Chen, Gefei; Liu, Xiangqin; Meng, Qing

    2016-07-01

    Hybrid silks hold a great potential as specific biomaterials due to its controlled mechanical properties. To produce fibers with tunable properties, here we firstly made chimeric proteins in vitro, called W2C4CT and W2C8CT, with ligation of MaSp repetitive modules (C) with AcSp modules (W) by intein trans splicing technology from smaller precursors without final yield reduction. Intein mediated chimeric proteins form fibers at a low concentration of 0.4 mg/mL in 50 mM K3 PO4 pH 7.5 just drawn by hand. Hybrid fibers show smoother surface, and also have stronger chemical resistance as compared with fibers from W2CT (W fibers) and mixture of W2CT/C8CT (MHF8 fibers). Fibers from chimeric protein W2C4CT (HFH4) have improved mechanical properties than W fibers; however, with more C modules W2C8CT fibers (HFH8) properties decreased, indicates the length proportion of various modules is very important and should be optimized for fibers with specific properties. Generally, hybrid silks generated via chimeric proteins, which can be simplified by intein trans splicing, has greater potential to produce fibers with tunable properties. Our research shows that intein mediated directional protein ligation is a novel way to make large chimeric spider silk proteins and hybrid silks. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 105: 385-392, 2016. PMID:26948769

  13. Alleged silk spigots on tarantula feet: electron microscopy reveals sensory innervation, no silk.

    PubMed

    Foelix, Rainer; Erb, Bruno; Rast, Bastian

    2013-05-01

    Several studies on tarantulas have claimed that their tarsi could secrete fine silk threads which would provide additional safety lines for maintaining a secure foot-hold on smooth vertical surfaces. This interpretation was seriously questioned by behavioral experiments, and more recently morphological evidence indicated that the alleged spigots ("ribbed hairs") were not secretory but most likely sensory hairs (chemoreceptors). However, since fine structural studies were lacking, the sensory nature was not proven convincingly. By using transmission electron microscopy we here present clear evidence that these "ribbed hairs" contain many dendrites inside the hair lumen - as is the case in the well-known contact chemoreceptors of spiders and insects. For comparison, we also studied the fine structure of regular silk spigots on the spinnerets and found them distinctly different from sensory hairs. Finally, histological studies of a tarantula tarsus did not reveal any silk glands, which, by contrast, are easily found within the spinnerets. In conclusion, the alleged presence of silk spigots on tarantula feet is refuted. PMID:23474440

  14. The effect of residual silk sericin on the structure and mechanical property of regenerated silk filament.

    PubMed

    Ki, Chang Seok; Kim, Jong Wook; Oh, Han Jin; Lee, Ki Hoon; Park, Young Hwan

    2007-08-01

    In this study, we elucidated the effect of residual silk sericin (SS) on structure and mechanical properties of regenerated silk filament as well as on fiber formation. The dope viscosity markedly increased with increasing residual SS content in dope solution which was prepared by dissolving the silk protein in formic acid. As a result of FTIR, (13)C NMR, and XRD, a small amount of SS (9.6%) contained in the filament showed highest content of beta-sheet conformation and maximum crystallinity. It seems that the SS affects the structural change of SF up to a certain level by inducing the beta-transition easily. The tenacity of the filaments, containing 9.6-18.9% SS, was in the range of 2.1-2.4 gf/d, which was about 50% higher than the filament without SS (pure SF). Consequently, with the enhancement of spinnability in wet spinning process, the SS can play an important role for developing the crystalline structure of SF as well as for improving mechanical properties of the regenerated silk fiber. PMID:17573107

  15. The method of purifying bioengineered spider silk determines the silk sphere properties.

    PubMed

    Jastrzebska, Katarzyna; Felcyn, Edyta; Kozak, Maciej; Szybowicz, Miroslaw; Buchwald, Tomasz; Pietralik, Zuzanna; Jesionowski, Teofil; Mackiewicz, Andrzej; Dams-Kozlowska, Hanna

    2016-01-01

    Bioengineered spider silks are a biomaterial with great potential for applications in biomedicine. They are biocompatible,biodegradable and can self-assemble into films, hydrogels, scaffolds, fibers, capsules and spheres. A novel, tag-free, bioengineered spider silk named MS2(9x) was constructed. It is a 9-mer of the consensus motif derived from MaSp2-the spidroin of Nephila clavipes dragline silk. Thermal and acidic extraction methods were used to purify MS2(9x). Both purification protocols gave a similar quantity and quality of soluble silk; however, they differed in the secondary structure and zeta potential value. Spheres made of these purified variants differed with regard to critical features such as particle size, morphology, zeta potential and drug loading. Independent of the purification method, neither variant of the MS2(9x) spheres was cytotoxic, which confirmed that both methods can be used for biomedical applications. However, this study highlights the impact that the applied purification method has on the further biomaterial properties. PMID:27312998

  16. The method of purifying bioengineered spider silk determines the silk sphere properties

    PubMed Central

    Jastrzebska, Katarzyna; Felcyn, Edyta; Kozak, Maciej; Szybowicz, Miroslaw; Buchwald, Tomasz; Pietralik, Zuzanna; Jesionowski, Teofil; Mackiewicz, Andrzej; Dams-Kozlowska, Hanna

    2016-01-01

    Bioengineered spider silks are a biomaterial with great potential for applications in biomedicine. They are biocompatible,biodegradable and can self-assemble into films, hydrogels, scaffolds, fibers, capsules and spheres. A novel, tag-free, bioengineered spider silk named MS2(9x) was constructed. It is a 9-mer of the consensus motif derived from MaSp2–the spidroin of Nephila clavipes dragline silk. Thermal and acidic extraction methods were used to purify MS2(9x). Both purification protocols gave a similar quantity and quality of soluble silk; however, they differed in the secondary structure and zeta potential value. Spheres made of these purified variants differed with regard to critical features such as particle size, morphology, zeta potential and drug loading. Independent of the purification method, neither variant of the MS2(9x) spheres was cytotoxic, which confirmed that both methods can be used for biomedical applications. However, this study highlights the impact that the applied purification method has on the further biomaterial properties. PMID:27312998

  17. Characterization of silk gland ribosomes from a bivoltine caddisfly, Stenopsyche marmorata: translational suppression of a silk protein in cold conditions.

    PubMed

    Nomura, Takaomi; Ito, Miho; Kanamori, Mai; Shigeno, Yuta; Uchiumi, Toshio; Arai, Ryoichi; Tsukada, Masuhiro; Hirabayashi, Kimio; Ohkawa, Kousaku

    2016-01-01

    Larval Stenopsyche marmorata constructs food capture nets and fixed retreats underwater using self-produced proteinaceous silk fibers. In the Chikuma River (Nagano Prefecture, Japan) S. marmorata has a bivoltine life cycle; overwintering larvae grow slowly with reduced net spinning activity in winter. We recently reported constant transcript abundance of S. marmorata silk protein 1 (Smsp-1), a core S. marmorata silk fiber component, in all seasons, implying translational suppression in the silk gland during winter. Herein, we prepared and characterized silk gland ribosomes from seasonally collected S. marmorata larvae. Ribosomes from silk glands immediately frozen in liquid nitrogen (LN2) after dissection exhibited comparable translation elongation activity in spring, summer, and autumn. Conversely, silk glands obtained in winter did not contain active ribosomes and Smsp-1. Ribosomes from silk glands immersed in ice-cold physiological saline solution for approximately 4 h were translationally inactive, despite summer collection and Smsp-1 expression. The ribosomal inactivation occurs because of defects in the formation of 80S ribosomes, presumably due to splitting of 60S subunits containing 28S rRNA with central hidden break, in response to cold stress. These results suggest a novel-type ribosome-regulated translation control mechanism. PMID:26646291

  18. A tunable silk-alginate hydrogel scaffold for stem cell culture and transplantation

    PubMed Central

    Ziv, Keren; Nuhn, Harald; Ben-Haim, Yael; Sasportas, Laura S.; Kempen, Paul J.; Niedringhaus, Thomas P.; Hrynyk, Michael; Sinclair, Robert; Barron, Annelise E.; Gambhir, Sanjiv S.

    2014-01-01

    One of the major challenges in regenerative medicine is the ability to recreate the stem cell niche, which is defined by its signaling molecules, the creation of cytokine gradients, and the modulation of matrix stiffness. A wide range of scaffolds has been developed in order to recapitulate the stem cell niche, among them hydrogels. This paper reports the development of a new silk-alginate based hydrogel with a focus on stem cell culture. This biocomposite allows to fine tune its elasticity during cell culture, addressing the importance of mechanotransduction during stem cell differentiation. The silk-alginate scaffold promotes adherence of mouse embryonic stem cells and cell survival upon transplantation. In addition, it has tunable stiffness as function of the silk-alginte ratio and the concentration of crosslinker - a characteristic that is very hard to accomplish in current hydrogels. The hydrogel and the presented results represents key steps on the way of creating artificial stem cell niche, opening up new paths in regenerative medicine. PMID:24484675

  19. New Silk Fibroin-Based Bioresorbable Microcarriers.

    PubMed

    Arkhipova, A Yu; Kotlyarova, M C; Novichkova, S G; Agapova, O I; Kulikov, D A; Kulikov, A V; Drutskaya, M S; Agapov, I I; Moisenovich, M M

    2016-02-01

    We fabricated bioresorbable microcarriers from water solution of Bombyx mori silk fi broin. The microcarriers are 3D structures with intricate surface and pores allowing penetration of culture medium, gas exchange, and cell adhesion. Fibroin molecules form hydrophobic structures and normally have a negative charge, which stimulates migration, but inhibits cell adhesion and makes it less effective. In order to improve adhesion efficiency and velocity, gelatin (hydrophilic biopolymer with integrin-recognizing RGD sequence) was added to the microcarrier composition. The resultant bioresorbable microcarriers support adhesion and proliferation of 3T3 murine fibroblasts. PMID:26899838

  20. Electricity from the Silk Cocoon Membrane

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tulachan, Brindan; Meena, Sunil Kumar; Rai, Ratan Kumar; Mallick, Chandrakant; Kusurkar, Tejas Sanjeev; Teotia, Arun Kumar; Sethy, Niroj Kumar; Bhargava, Kalpana; Bhattacharya, Shantanu; Kumar, Ashok; Sharma, Raj Kishore; Sinha, Neeraj; Singh, Sushil Kumar; Das, Mainak

    2014-06-01

    Silk cocoon membrane (SCM) is an insect engineered structure. We studied the electrical properties of mulberry (Bombyx mori) and non-mulberry (Tussar, Antheraea mylitta) SCM. When dry, SCM behaves like an insulator. On absorbing moisture, it generates electrical current, which is modulated by temperature. The current flowing across the SCM is possibly ionic and protonic in nature. We exploited the electrical properties of SCM to develop simple energy harvesting devices, which could operate low power electronic systems. Based on our findings, we propose that the temperature and humidity dependent electrical properties of the SCM could find applications in battery technology, bio-sensor, humidity sensor, steam engines and waste heat management.

  1. Silk scaffolds with tunable mechanical capability for cell differentiation.

    PubMed

    Bai, Shumeng; Han, Hongyan; Huang, Xiaowei; Xu, Weian; Kaplan, David L; Zhu, Hesun; Lu, Qiang

    2015-07-01

    Bombyx mori silk fibroin is a promising biomaterial for tissue regeneration and is usually considered an "inert" material with respect to actively regulating cell differentiation due to few specific cell signaling peptide domains in the primary sequence and the generally stiffer mechanical properties due to crystalline content formed in processing. In the present study, silk fibroin porous 3D scaffolds with nanostructures and tunable stiffness were generated via a silk fibroin nanofiber-assisted lyophilization process. The silk fibroin nanofibers with high β-sheet content were added into the silk fibroin solutions to modulate the self-assembly, and to directly induce water-insoluble scaffold formation after lyophilization. Unlike previously reported silk fibroin scaffold formation processes, these new scaffolds had lower overall β-sheet content and softer mechanical properties for improved cell compatibility. The scaffold stiffness could be further tuned to match soft tissue mechanical properties, which resulted in different differentiation outcomes with rat bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells toward myogenic and endothelial cells, respectively. Therefore, these silk fibroin scaffolds regulate cell differentiation outcomes due to their mechanical features. PMID:25858557

  2. Inhibitory effect of corn silk on skin pigmentation.

    PubMed

    Choi, Sang Yoon; Lee, Yeonmi; Kim, Sung Soo; Ju, Hyun Min; Baek, Ji Hwoon; Park, Chul-Soo; Lee, Dong-Hyuk

    2014-01-01

    In this study, the inhibitory effect of corn silk on melanin production was evaluated. This study was performed to investigate the inhibitory effect of corn silk on melanin production in Melan-A cells by measuring melanin production and protein expression. The corn silk extract applied on Melan-A cells at a concentration of 100 ppm decreased melanin production by 37.2% without cytotoxicity. This was a better result than arbutin, a positive whitening agent, which exhibited a 26.8% melanin production inhibitory effect at the same concentration. The corn silk extract did not suppress tyrosinase activity but greatly reduced the expression of tyrosinase in Melan-A cells. In addition, corn silk extract was applied to the human face with hyperpigmentation, and skin color was measured to examine the degree of skin pigment reduction. The application of corn silk extract on faces with hyperpigmentation significantly reduced skin pigmentation without abnormal reactions. Based on the results above, corn silk has good prospects for use as a material for suppressing skin pigmentation. PMID:24595276

  3. Silk scaffolds with tunable mechanical capability for cell differentiation

    PubMed Central

    Bai, Shumeng; Han, Hongyan; Huang, Xiaowei; Xu, Weian; Kaplan, David L.; Zhu, Hesun; Lu, Qiang

    2015-01-01

    Bombyx mori silk fibroin is a promising biomaterial for tissue regeneration and is usually considered an “inert” material with respect to actively regulating cell differentiation due to few specific cell signaling peptide domains in the primary sequence and the generally stiffer mechanical properties due to crystalline content formed in processing. In the present study, silk fibroin porous 3D scaffolds with nanostructures and tunable stiffness were generated via a silk fibroin nanofiber-assisted lyophilization process. The silk fibroin nanofibers with high β-sheet content were added into the silk fibroin solutions to modulate the self-assembly, and to directly induce water-insoluble scaffold formation after lyophilization. Unlike previously reported silk fibroin scaffold formation processes, these new scaffolds had lower overall β-sheet content and softer mechanical properties for improved cell compatibility. The scaffold stiffness could be further tuned to match soft tissue mechanical properties, which resulted in different differentiation outcomes with rat bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells towards myogenic and endothelial cells, respectively. Therefore, these silk fibroin scaffolds regulate cell differentiation outcomes due to their mechanical features. PMID:25858557

  4. Some autophagic and apoptotic features of programmed cell death in the anterior silk glands of the silkworm, Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Goncu, Ebru; Parlak, Osman

    2008-11-01

    Programmed cell death has been subdivided into two major groups: apoptosis and autophagic cell death. The anterior silk gland of Bombyx mori degenerates during larval-pupal metamorphosis. Our findings indicate that two types of programmed cell death features are observed during this physiological process. During the prepupal period, pyknosis of the nucleus, cell detachment,and membrane blebbing occur and they are the first signs of programmed cell death in the anterior silk glands. According to previous studies, all of these morphological appearances are common for both cell-death types. Autophagy features are also exhibited during the prepupal period. Levels of one of the lysosomal marker enzymes-acid phosphatase-are high during this period then decrease gradually. Vacuole formation begins to appear first at the basal surface of the cell, then expands to the apical surface just before the larval pupal ecdysis. After larval-pupal ecdysis, DNA fragmentation, which is the obvious biochemical marker of apoptosis, is detected in agarose gel electrophoresis, which also shows that caspase-like enzyme activities occur during the programmed cell death process of the anterior silk glands. Apoptosis and autophagic cell death interact with each other during the degeneration process of the anterior silk gland in Bombyx mori and this interaction occurs at a late phase of cell death. We suggest that apoptotic cell death only is not enough for whole gland degeneration and that more effective degeneration occurs with this cooperation. PMID:18838861

  5. Spermidine enhances the silk production by mulberry silkworm.

    PubMed

    Lattala, Gayatri Manogna; Kandukuru, Kasturaiah; Gangupantula, Shamitha; Mamillapalli, Anitha

    2014-01-01

    Polyamines are ubiquitous low molecular weight polycationic aliphatic amines involved in diverse cellular processes. Spermidine (Spd), a polyamine, has been proved to be crucial for cell survival in various organisms. Our study reports the effect of Spd on the growth of Bombyx mori. Silkworms showed improved silk gland weight and economic parameters in the fifth instar larval stage when treated with different concentrations of Spd, in the range of 25-75 µM. The worms treated with Spd produced 31% more silk when compared with the control worms. Altogether, this study establishes that Spd-treated leaves can be fed into the larvae for better silk production. PMID:25502041

  6. Bioengineered Chimeric Spider Silk-Uranium Binding Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Krishnaji, Sreevidhya Tarakkad; Kaplan, David L.

    2014-01-01

    Heavy metals constitute a source of environmental pollution. Here, novel functional hybrid biomaterials for specific interactions with heavy metals are designed by bioengineering consensus sequence repeats from spider silk of Nephila clavipes with repeats of a uranium peptide recognition motif from a mutated 33-residue of calmodulin protein from Paramecium tetraurelia. The self-assembly features of the silk to control nanoscale organic/inorganic material interfaces provides new biomaterials for uranium recovery. With subsequent enzymatic digestion of the silk to concentrate the sequestered metals, options can be envisaged to use these new chimeric protein systems in environmental engineering, including to remediate environments contaminated by uranium. PMID:23212989

  7. High-Q silk fibroin whispering gallery microresonator.

    PubMed

    Xu, Linhua; Jiang, Xuefeng; Zhao, Guangming; Ma, Ding; Tao, Hu; Liu, Zhiwen; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G; Yang, Lan

    2016-09-01

    We have experimentally demonstrated an on-chip all-silk fibroin whispering gallery mode microresonator by using a simple molding and solution-casting technique. The quality factors of the fabricated silk protein microresonators are on the order of 105. A high-sensitivity thermal sensor was realized in this silk fibroin microtoroid with a sensitivity of -1.17 nm/K, that is 8 times higher than previous WGM resonator-based thermal sensors. This opens the way to fabricate biodegradable and biocompatible protein based microresonators on a flexible chip for biophotonics applications. PMID:27607686

  8. Injectable Silk Foams for Soft Tissue Regeneration

    PubMed Central

    Bellas, E.; Lo, T.J.; Fournier, E.P.; Brown, J.E.; Abbott, R.D.; Gil, E.S.; Marra, K.G.; Rubin, J.P.; Leisk, G.G.; Kaplan, D.L.

    2015-01-01

    Soft tissue fillers are needed for restoration of a defect or augmentation of existing tissues. Autografts and lipotransfer have been under study for soft tissue reconstruction but yield inconsistent results, often with considerable resorption of the grafted tissue. A minimally invasive procedure would reduce scarring and recovery time as well as allow for the implant and/or grafted tissue to be placed closer to existing vasculature. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of an injectable silk foam for soft tissue regeneration. Adipose derived stem cells survive and migrate through the foam over a 10 day period in vitro. The silk foams are also successfully injected into the subcutaneous space in a rat and over a 3 month period integrating with the surrounding native tissue. The injected foams are palpable and soft to the touch through the skin and returning to their original dimensions after pressure was applied and then released. The foams readily absorb lipoaspirate making the foams useful as a scaffold or template for existing soft tissue filler technologies, useful either as a biomaterial alone or in combination with the lipoaspirate. PMID:25323438

  9. Effects of Microwave Radiation on Selected Mechanical Properties of Silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reed, Emily Jane

    Impressive mechanical properties have served to peak interest in silk as an engineering material. In addition, the ease with which silk can be altered through processing has led to its use in various biomaterial applications. As the uses of silk branch into new territory, it is imperative (and inevitable) to discover the boundary conditions beyond which silk no longer performs as expected. These boundary conditions include factors as familiar as temperature and humidity, but may also include other less familiar contributions, such as exposure to different types of radiation. The inherent variations in mechanical properties of silk, as well as its sensitivity to moisture, suggest that in an engineering context silk is best suited for use in composite materials; that way, silk can be shielded from ambient moisture fluctuations, and the surrounding matrix allows efficient load transfer from weaker fibers to stronger ones. One such application is to use silk as a reinforcing fiber in epoxy composites. When used in this way, there are several instances in which exposure to microwave radiation is likely (for example, as a means of speeding epoxy cure rates), the effects of which remain mostly unstudied. It will be the purpose of this dissertation to determine whether selected mechanical properties of B. mori cocoon silk are affected by exposure to microwave radiation, under specified temperature and humidity conditions. Results of our analyses are directly applicable wherever exposure of silk to microwave radiation is possible, including in fiber reinforced epoxy composites (the entire composite may be microwaved to speed epoxy cure time), or when silk is used as a component in the material used to construct the radome of an aircraft (RADAR units use frequencies in the microwave range of the electromagnetic spectrum), or when microwave energy is used to sterilize biomaterials (such as cell scaffolds) made of silk. In general, we find that microwave exposure does not

  10. Wet-spinning of regenerated silk fiber from aqueous silk fibroin solution: discussion of spinning parameters.

    PubMed

    Yan, Jiaping; Zhou, Guanqiang; Knight, David P; Shao, Zhengzhong; Chen, Xin

    2010-01-11

    Regenerated silk fibroin (RSF) fibers were obtained by extruding a concentrated aqueous silk fibroin solution into an ammonium sulfate coagulation bath. A custom-made simplified industrial-type wet-spinning device with continuous mechanical postdraw was used. The effect of dope concentration, coagulation bath, extrusion rate, and postdraw treatment on the morphology of RSF fiber was examined. The results showed that although RSF fiber could be formed with dope concentration between 13 and 19% (w/w), the ones spun from 15% RSF solution showed the most regular morphology being dense and homogeneous in cross-section with a smooth surface and a uniform cylindrical shape. Though it had little effect on morphology, postdraw treatment especially under steam, significantly improved the mechanical properties of the RSF fibers. PMID:19860400