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Sample records for ampullate silk proteins

  1. Production And Characterization Of Synthetic Spider Silks Based On Nephila Clavipes Major Ampullate Silk Proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    An, Bo

    The extraordinary mechanical properties of orb-weaving spider silks have served spiders for over 400 million years. However, only in the late 20th century did we start to understand the molecular nature of spider silk that contributes to its incredible properties as biomaterials. Among all seven types of spider silks, major ampullate silk from typical orb-weaving spiders is the toughest of all, it consists of primarily two proteins: MaSp1 and MaSp2. Variable ratios and conserved motifs of these two proteins in all the native spider silks demonstrate the significant role of MaSp1 and MaSp2 in controlling the mechanical properties of the fiber. The amino acid sequences of the orb weaving spider silk proteins have remained almost unchanged for more than 100 million years. Interestingly, MaSp1 and MaSp2 are the only two components in all studied dragline silk fibers from these spiders. The mechanical properties of native dragline silk vary slightly between species, which are believed to relate to the ratio of MaSp1 to MaSp2 in the silk. Both of these facts clearly indicate the importance of these two proteins to the mechanical properties of the fiber. Various types of synthetic spider silk fibers have been produced and studied in an effort to mass-produce man-made fibers with qualities comparable to native spider silk. To investigate the roles of MaSp1 and MaSp2 in silk fiber, synthetic MaSp1 (major abundant protein in Nephila clavipes major ampullate silks) only fibers, MaSp1/MaSp2 protein mixture fibers and chimeric protein fibers with both MaSp1 and MaSp2 sequence features have been produced and tested for mechanical properties. Solid-State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance was used to characterize the structure of silk fibers and reveal the relation between fiber spatial structure and mechanical properties.

  2. Spider minor ampullate silk proteins are constituents of prey wrapping silk in the cob weaver Latrodectus hesperus.

    PubMed

    La Mattina, Coby; Reza, Ryan; Hu, Xiaoyi; Falick, Arnold M; Vasanthavada, Keshav; McNary, Shannon; Yee, Russell; Vierra, Craig A

    2008-04-22

    Spiders spin high performance fibers with diverse biological functions and mechanical properties. Molecular and biochemical studies of spider prey wrapping silks have revealed the presence of the aciniform silk fibroin AcSp1-like. In our studies we demonstrate the presence of a second distinct polypeptide present within prey wrapping silk. Combining matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization tandem time-of-flight mass spectrometry and reverse genetics, we have isolated a novel gene called MiSp1-like and demonstrate that its protein product is a constituent of prey wrap silks from the black widow spider, Latrodectus hesperus. BLAST searches of the NCBInr protein database using the amino acid sequence of MiSp1-like revealed similarity to the conserved C-terminal domain of silk family members. In particular, MiSp1-like showed the highest degree of sequence similarity to the nonrepetitive C-termini of published orb-weaver minor ampullate fibroin molecules. Analysis of the internal amino acid sequence of the black widow MiSp1-like revealed polyalanine stretches interrupted by glycine residues and glycine-alanine couplets within MiSp1-like as well as repeats of the heptameric sequence AGGYGQG. Real-time quantitative PCR analysis demonstrates that the MiSp1-like gene displays a minor ampullate gland-restricted pattern of expression. Furthermore, amino acid composition analysis, coupled with scanning electron microscopy of raw wrapping silk, supports the assertion that minor ampullate silks are important constituents of black widow spider prey wrap silk. Collectively, our findings provide direct molecular evidence for the involvement of minor ampullate fibroins in swathing silks and suggest composite materials play an important role in the wrap attack process for cob-weavers.

  3. Brown widow (Latrodectus geometricus) major ampullate silk protein and its material properties.

    PubMed

    Motriuk-Smith, Dagmara; Lewis, Randolph V

    2004-01-01

    Major ampullate (dragline) silk is the main web component as well as the silk that spiders use for a lifeline when they fall. This silk has a breaking stress of 4.6 GPa, which is similar to that of Kevlar. The majority of the previous mechanical testing studies involved the major ampullate silk from orb-weaving spiders. To date, there have been no reports on dragline silk mechanical properties from a cob-weaver, brown widow Latrodectus geometricus. L. geometricus dragline was found to be composed of MaSp1, MaSp2, and MaSp-like proteins all of which have highly conserved amino acid motifs, especially the GGX, GA and poly A for MaSp1 and GPGGX and poly A for MaSp2. These sequences are the same as those found in the silks of orb-weaving spiders. To determine if protein sequences influence the material properties of the silk, mechanical testing was performed on single strands of silk fibers from adult female L. geometricus spiders. The 3 cm long silk fibers were tested for breaking stress and strain with a MTS Synergie 100 mechanical testing system using a 50 g load cell with the cross-head speed set at 10 mm/min. The breaking stress and strain were measured for 20 replicate samples and averaged. The values of 0.83 +/- 0.19 GPa for stress and 0.14 +/- 0.06 for strain shows that brown widow dragline is weaker than the orb-weaving spiders.

  4. 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.

  5. Identification and characterization of multiple Spidroin 1 genes encoding major ampullate silk proteins in Nephila clavipes.

    PubMed

    Gaines, W A; Marcotte, W R

    2008-09-01

    Spider dragline silk is primarily composed of proteins called major ampullate spidroins (MaSps) that consist of a large repeat array flanked by nonrepetitive N- and C-terminal domains. Until recently, there has been little evidence for more than one gene encoding each of the two major spidroin silk proteins, MaSp1 and MaSp2. Here, we report the deduced N-terminal domain sequences for two distinct MaSp1 genes from Nephila clavipes (MaSp1A and MaSp1B) and for MaSp2. All three MaSp genes are co-expressed in the major ampullate gland. A search of the GenBank database also revealed two distinct MaSp1 C-terminal domain sequences. Sequencing confirmed that both MaSp1 genes are present in all seven Nephila clavipes spiders examined. The presence of nucleotide polymorphisms in these genes confirmed that MaSp1A and MaSp1B are distinct genetic loci and not merely alleles of the same gene. We experimentally determined the transcription start sites for all three MaSp genes and established preliminary pairing between the two MaSp1 N- and C-terminal domains. Phylogenetic analysis of these new sequences and other published MaSp N- and C-terminal domain sequences illustrated that duplications of MaSp genes may be widespread among spider species.

  6. Conformational and orientational transformation of silk proteins in the major ampullate gland of Nephila clavipes spiders.

    PubMed

    Lefèvre, Thierry; Boudreault, Simon; Cloutier, Conrad; Pézolet, Michel

    2008-09-01

    The orientational and conformational transformation of the native liquid silk into a solid fiber in the major ampullate gland of the spider Nephila clavipes has been studied by Raman spectromicroscopy. The spectra show that the conformation of silk proteins in the glandular sac contains several secondary structure elements, which is consistent with intrinsically unfolded proteins. A few alpha-helices are also present and involve some alanine residues located in the polyalanine segments of the spidroin sequence. The conversion of the silk solution in the major ampullate gland appears to be a two-state process without intermediate states. In the first and second limbs of the duct, silk is isotropic and spidroins are generally native-like. beta-Sheets start to develop between the second and the third limb of the duct, suggesting that early beta-sheets are generated by shear forces. However, most of the beta-sheets are formed between the draw down taper and the valve. The early beta-sheets formed upward of the draw down taper might play the role of nucleation sites for the subsequent beta-sheet aggregation. The alignment of the polypeptides chains occurs near the valve, revealing that orientational and conformational changes do not occur simultaneously. Extensional flow seems to be the driving force to produce the orientational order, which in turn is associated with the formation of the major part of the beta-sheets. The slow evolution of the spidroin conformation up to the draw down taper followed by the rapid transformation between the drawn down taper and the valve may be important to achieve the optimal structure of the final fiber.

  7. 13C NMR of Nephila clavipes major ampullate silk gland.

    PubMed

    Hijirida, D H; Do, K G; Michal, C; Wong, S; Zax, D; Jelinski, L W

    1996-12-01

    The major ampullate glands of the spider Nephila clavipes contain approximately 0.2 microliter each of a highly concentrated (approximately 50%) solution of silk fibroin. Therefore, the reservoir of silk in these glands presents an ideal opportunity to observe prefolded conformations of a protein in its native state. To this end, the structure and conformation of major ampullate gland silk fibroin within the glands of the spider N. clavipes were examined by 13C NMR spectroscopy. These results were compared to those from silk protein first drawn from the spinneret and then denatured. The 13C NMR chemical shifts, along with infrared and circular dichroism data, suggest that the silk fibroin in the glands exists in dynamically averaged helical conformations. Furthermore, there is no evidence of proline residues in U-(13)C-D-glucose-labeled silk. This transient prefolded "molten fibril" state may correspond to the silk I form found in Bombyx mori silk. There is no evidence of the final beta-sheet structure in the ampullate gland silk fibroin before final silk processing. However, the conformation of silk in the glands appears to be in a highly metastable state, as plasticization with water produces the beta-sheet structure. Therefore, the ducts connecting the ampullate glands to the spinnerets play a larger role in silk processing than previously thought.

  8. An investigation of the divergence of major ampullate silk fibers from Nephila clavipes and Argiope aurantia.

    PubMed

    Brooks, Amanda E; Steinkraus, Holly B; Nelson, Shane R; Lewis, Randolph V

    2005-01-01

    The major ampullate fiber of both Nephila clavipes and Argiope aurantia is composed of two different proteins, MaSp1 and MaSp2. Each of these proteins has a highly conserved pattern of silk-associated amino acid motifs. The GPGXX motif is the only source of proline and is unique to MaSp2. On the basis of the percent of proline, Nephila clavipes major ampullate silk was calculated to consist of 19% MaSp2 and 81% MaSp1, while Argiope aurantia was calculated to have a significantly higher MaSp2 content of 59% with MaSp1 comprising the remaining 41%. To investigate the functional implications of the difference in protein composition, major ampullate silk fibers from Nephila clavipes and Argiope aurantia were mechanically tested and compared. Stress-strain curves produced from polynomial regression show that the two significant differences between major ampullate silk fibers from Nephila clavipes and Argiope aurantia are the average peak load stress and Young's modulus, with Argiope higher for both.

  9. Smart assembly of polymer fibers: lessons from major ampullate spider silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Viney, Christopher

    1996-02-01

    Studies of major ampullate silk (MAS), especially the secretions and fibers produced by the spider Nephila clavipes (golden orb weaver), have yielded several results of potential value to the materials scientist/engineer. There are lessons to be learned about synthesis, processing and microstructural design of high-tensile polymer fibers. The 'smart' aspect of silk production in nature concerns the ability of the spider to rapidly process a concentrated, viscous aqueous solution of silk protein (stored in the gland) into water-insoluble fiber on demand. This process centers on the assembly of a shear-sensitive supramolecular liquid crystalline phase by aggregation of the solubilized globular protein molecules.

  10. Analysis of major ampullate silk cDNAs from two non-orb-weaving spiders.

    PubMed

    Tian, Maozhen; Liu, Congzhou; Lewis, Randolph

    2004-01-01

    Compared to other arthropods, spiders are unique in their use of silk throughout their life span and the extraordinary mechanical properties of the silk threads they produce. Studies on orb-weaving spider silk proteins have shown that silk proteins are composed of highly repetitive regions, characterized by alanine and glycine-rich units. We have isolated and sequenced four partial cDNA clones representing major ampullate spider silk gene transcripts from two non-orb weavers: three for Kukulcania hibernalis and one for Agelenopsis aperta. These cDNA sequences were compared to each other, as well as to the previously published orb-weaver silk gene sequences. The results indicate that the repeats encoding conserved amino acid motifs such as polyA and polyGA that are characteristic of some orb-weaving spider silks are also found in some of the cDNAs reported in this study. However, we also found other motifs such as polyGS and polyGV in the cDNA sequences from the two non-orb-weaving spiders. The amino acid composition of the silk gland extracts shows that alanine and glycine are the major components of the silk of these two non-orb weavers as is the case in orb-weaver silks. Sequence alignment shows that A. aperta's cDNA displays a C-terminal encoding region that is about 44% similar to the one present in N. clavipes's MaSp1 cDNA. In addition, as previously observed for spider silk sequences, the analysis of the codon usage for these four cDNAs demonstrates a bias for A or T in the wobble base position.

  11. Similarities in the structural organization of major and minor ampullate spider silk.

    PubMed

    Papadopoulos, Periklis; Ene, Roxana; Weidner, Immanuel; Kremer, Friedrich

    2009-05-19

    Minor and major ampullate spider silks are studied under varying mechanical stress by static and time-resolved FT-IR spectroscopy. This enables one to trace the external mechanical excitation on a microscopic level and to determine for the different moieties the time dependence of the molecular order parameters and corresponding band shifts. It is concluded that the hierarchical nanostructure of both types of silk is similar, being composed of highly oriented nanocrystals, which are interconnected by amorphous chains that obey the worm-like chain model and have a Gaussian distribution of pre-strain. By that it is possible to describe the mechanical properties of both silks by two adjustable parameters only, the center and width of the distribution. For major ampullate silk, the observed variability is small in pronounced contrast to the findings for minor ampullate.

  12. 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.

  13. Plasticity in Major Ampullate Silk Production in Relation to Spider Phylogeny and Ecology

    PubMed Central

    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

  14. Spider Silk Proteins

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1994-04-18

    ampullate and cocoon silks of both Nephila clavip~s and Araneus gemmoides using standardized mechanical testing methods. We found the silks to exceed the...Chem, Res, 25: 392-397. (1992) Hinman, M.B. and Lewis, R.V. Isolation of a Clone Encoding a Second Dragline Silk Fibroin, Nephila Clavipes Dragline

  15. Minor ampullate silks from Nephila and Argiope spiders: tensile properties and microstructural characterization.

    PubMed

    Guinea, G V; Elices, M; Plaza, G R; Perea, G B; Daza, R; Riekel, C; Agulló-Rueda, F; Hayashi, C; Zhao, Y; Pérez-Rigueiro, J

    2012-07-09

    The mechanical behavior and microstructure of minor ampullate gland silk (miS) of two orb-web spinning species, Argiope trifasciata and Nephila inaurata, were extensively characterized, enabling detailed comparison with other silks. The similarities and differences exhibited by miS when compared with the intensively studied major ampullate gland silk (MAS) and silkworm (Bombyx mori) silk offer a genuine opportunity for testing some of the hypotheses proposed to correlate microstructure and tensile properties in silk. In this work, we show that miSs of different species show similar properties, even when fibers spun by spiders that diverged over 100 million years are compared. The tensile properties of miS are comparable to those of MAS when tested in air, significantly in terms of work to fracture, but differ considerably when tested in water. In particular, miS does not show a supercontraction effect and an associated ground state. In this regard, the behavior of miS in water is similar to that of B. mori silk, and it is shown that the initial elastic modulus of both fibers can be explained using a common model. Intriguingly, the microstructural parameters measured in miS are comparable to those of MAS and considerably different from those found in B. mori. This fact suggests that some critical microstructural information is still missing in our description of silks, and our results suggest that the hydrophilicity of the lateral groups or the large scale organization of the sequences might be routes worth exploring.

  16. From EST sequence to spider silk spinning: identification and molecular characterisation of Nephila senegalensis major ampullate gland peroxidase NsPox.

    PubMed

    Pouchkina, N N; Stanchev, B S; McQueen-Mason, S J

    2003-02-01

    Spider dragline silk is renowned as one of the toughest materials of its kind. In nature, spider silks are spun out of aqueous solutions under environmental conditions. This is in contrast to production of most synthetic fibres, where hazardous solvents, high temperatures and pressure are used. In order to identify some of the chemical processes involved in spider silk spinning, we have produced a collection of cDNA sequences from specific regions of Nephila senegalensis major ampullate gland. We examined in detail the sequence and expression of a putative Nephila senegalensis peroxidase gene (NsPox) from our EST collection. NsPox encodes a protein with similarity to Drosophila melanogaster and Aedes aegypti peroxidases. Northern analysis and in situ localisation experiments revealed that NsPox is expressed in major and minor ampullate glands of the spider where the main components of the dragline silk are produced. We suggest that NsPox plays a role in dragline silk fibre formation and/or processing.

  17. The effect of proline on the network structure of major ampullate silks as inferred from their mechanical and optical properties.

    PubMed

    Savage, Ken N; Gosline, John M

    2008-06-01

    The silk that orb-weaving spiders produce for use as dragline and for the frame of the web is spun from the major ampullate (MA) glands, and it is renowned for its exceptional toughness. The fibroins that make up MA silk have previously been organized into two major groupings, spidroin-1 and spidroin-2, based largely on differences in amino acid sequence. The most apparent difference between spidroin-1 and spidroin-2 fibroins is the lack of proline in spidroin-1. The MA silk of Araneus diadematus comprises two spidroin-2 fibroins, and is therefore proline-rich, whereas spidroin-1 is preferentially expressed in Nephila clavipes MA silk, and so this silk is proline deficient. Together, these two silks provide a system for testing the consequences of proline-rich and proline-deficient fibroin networks. This study measures the mechanical and optical properties of dry and hydrated Araneus and Nephila MA silks. Since proline acts to disrupt secondary structure, it is hypothesized that the fibroin network of Araneus MA silk will contain less secondary structure than the network of Nephila MA silk. Mechanical and optical studies clearly support this hypothesis. Although the dry properties of these two silks are indistinguishable, there are large differences between the hydrated silks. Nephila silk does not swell upon hydration to the same degree as Araneus silk. In addition, upon hydration, Nephila MA silk retains more of its initial dry stiffness, and retains more molecular order, as indicated by birefringence measurements.

  18. Structure-property relationships in major ampullate spider silk as deduced from polarized FTIR spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Papadopoulos, P.; Sölter, J.; Kremer, F.

    2007-10-01

    Polarized Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is employed to study structure-property relationships in major ampullate spider silk being exposed to an external mechanical strain. From the measured infrared dichroism of aminoacid-residue - specific bands the molecular order parameter, the frequency width at half-maximum (FWHM) and the spectral position of the absorption maximum are determined in dependence on the external strain. For the highly ordered alanine-rich β sheets a change in the vibrational potential is found for macroscopic strains as low as a few percent. It can be quantitatively described by a quantum-mechanical approach in which the mechanical strain is treated as a weak external perturbation. The immediate microscopic response to the external field proves that β -sheeted crystals are tightly interconnected by pre-stretched chains as suggested recently (Y. Liu et al., Nat. Mater. 4, 901 (2005)).

  19. 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

  20. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    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

  2. Inverse Temperature Transition of Elastin Like Motifs in Major Ampullate Dragline Silk: MD Simulations of Short Peptides and NMR Studies of Water Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Ukpebor, Obehi T.; Shah, Anup; Bazov, Emmanuel; Boutis, Gregory S.

    2014-01-01

    Using deuterium 2D T1-T2 Inverse Laplace Transform (ILT) NMR we have investigated the distribution, population, and dynamics of waters of hydration in major ampullate N. clavipes and A. aurantia silk as a function of temperature. In both samples studied, correlation times much larger than that of free water are measured and in some cases appear to increase with increasing temperature over the range of 5 to 60 °C(corresponding to reduced tumbling). In addition, the experimental data point to a reduction in the population of water localized in the silk with increasing temperature in the range of 20 to 50°C. Molecular dynamics simulations were performed to probe the thermal characteristics of a variety of repeating motifs found in the two silk samples. The repeating motifs GLGSQ, GAAAAAAG, GPGGY, GPGQQ, GPSG, and GPSGPGS found in N. clavipes, GLGSQ, GYGSG, GPGSG, and GPGSQ found in A. aurantia silk were found to exhibit a thermal property observed in short elastin peptides known as the “inverse temperature transition”. This is a well known characteristic exhibited by short peptides consisting of (VPGXG)n motifs (where X is any amino acid other than proline) found in elastin, a protein responsible for the elasticity of vertebrate tissues. In qualitative agreement with experimental measurements of water in the silks, all the peptides studied in simulation show evidence of an increase in sidechain contacts and peptide hydrogen bonds, concomitant with a decrease in radius of gyration and localized water as the temperature is raised from approximately 5 to 60° C. PMID:24511323

  3. Inverse temperature transition of elastin like motifs in major ampullate dragline silk: MD simulations of short peptides and NMR studies of water dynamics.

    PubMed

    Ukpebor, Obehi T; Shah, Anup; Bazov, Emanuel; Boutis, Gregory S

    2014-02-07

    Using deuterium 2D T1 − T2 Inverse Laplace Transform (ILT) NMR, we have investigated the distribution, population, and dynamics of waters of hydration in major ampullate N. clavipes and A. aurantia silk as a function of temperature. In both samples studied, correlation times much larger than that of free water are measured, and in some cases, appear to increase with increasing temperature over the range of 5 to 60 °C (corresponding to reduced tumbling). In addition, the experimental data point to a reduction in the population of water localized in the silk with increasing temperature in the range of 20 to 50 °C. Molecular dynamics simulations were performed to probe the thermal characteristics of a variety of repeating motifs found in the two silk samples. The repeating motifs GLGSQ, GAAAAAAG, GPGGY, GPGQQ, GPSG, and GPSGPGS found in N. clavipes, GLGSQ, GYGSG, GPGSG, and GPGSQ found in A. aurantia silk were found to exhibit a thermal property observed in short elastin peptides known as the "inverse temperature transition". This is a well known characteristic exhibited by short peptides consisting of (VPGXG)n motifs (where X is any amino acid other than proline) found in elastin--a protein responsible for the elasticity of vertebrate tissues. In qualitative agreement with experimental measurements of water in the silks, all the peptides studied in simulation show evidence of an increase in sidechain contacts and peptide hydrogen bonds, concomitant with a decrease in radius of gyration and localized water as the temperature is raised from approximately 5 to 60 °C.

  4. Structure of a protein superfiber: spider dragline silk.

    PubMed Central

    Xu, M; Lewis, R V

    1990-01-01

    Spider major ampullate (dragline) silk is an extracellular fibrous protein with unique characteristics of strength and elasticity. The silk fiber has been proposed to consist of pseudocrystalline regions of antiparallel beta-sheet interspersed with elastic amorphous segments. The repetitive sequence of a fibroin protein from major ampullate silk of the spider Nephila clavipes was determined from a partial cDNA clone. The repeating unit is a maximum of 34 amino acids long and is not rigidly conserved. The repeat unit is composed of three different segments: (i) a 6 amino acid segment that is conserved in sequence but has deletions of 3 or 6 amino acids in many of the repeats; (ii) a 13 amino acid segment dominated by a polyalanine sequence of 5-7 residues; (iii) a 15 amino acid, highly conserved segment. The latter is predominantly a Gly-Gly-Xaa repeat with Xaa being alanine, tyrosine, leucine, or glutamine. The codon usage for this DNA is highly selective, avoiding the use of cytosine or guanine in the third position. A model for the physical properties of fiber formation, strength, and elasticity, based on this repetitive protein sequence, is presented. PMID:2402494

  5. Protein composition correlates with the mechanical properties of spider ( Argiope trifasciata ) dragline silk.

    PubMed

    Marhabaie, Mohammad; Leeper, Thomas C; Blackledge, Todd A

    2014-01-13

    We investigated the natural variation in silk composition and mechanical performance of the orb-weaving spider Argiope trifasciata at multiple spatial and temporal scales in order to assess how protein composition contributes to the remarkable material properties of spider dragline silk. Major ampullate silk in orb-weaving spiders consists predominantly of two proteins (MaSp1 and MaSp2) with divergent amino acid compositions and functionally different microstructures. Adjusting the expression of these two proteins therefore provides spiders with a simple mechanism to alter the material properties of their silk. We first assessed the reliability and precision of the Waters AccQ-Tag amino acid composition analysis kit for determining the amino acid composition of small quantities of spider silk. We then tested how protein composition varied within single draglines, across draglines spun by the same spider on different days, and finally between spiders. Then, we correlated chemical composition with the material properties of dragline silk. Overall, we found that the chemical composition of major ampullate silk was in general homogeneous among individuals of the same population. Variation in chemical composition was not detectable within silk spun by a single spider on a single day. However, we found that variation within a single spider's silk across different days could, in rare instances, be greater than variation among individual spiders. Most of the variation in silk composition in our investigation resulted from a small number of outliers (three out of sixteen individuals) with a recent history of stress, suggesting stress affects silk production process in orb web spiders. Based on reported sequences for MaSp genes, we developed a gene expression model showing the covariation of the most abundant amino acids in major ampullate silk. Our gene expression model supports that dragline silk composition was mostly determined by the relative abundance of MaSp1 and Ma

  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.

  7. 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

  8. Recombinant DNA production of spider silk proteins.

    PubMed

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

    2013-11-01

    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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Novel nanocomposites from spider silk-silica fusion (chimeric) proteins.

    PubMed

    Wong Po Foo, Cheryl; Patwardhan, Siddharth V; Belton, David J; Kitchel, Brandon; Anastasiades, Daphne; Huang, Jia; Naik, Rajesh R; Perry, Carole C; Kaplan, David L

    2006-06-20

    Silica skeletal architectures in diatoms are characterized by remarkable morphological and nanostructural details. Silk proteins from spiders and silkworms form strong and intricate self-assembling fibrous biomaterials in nature. We combined the features of silk with biosilica through the design, synthesis, and characterization of a novel family of chimeric proteins for subsequent use in model materials forming reactions. The domains from the major ampullate spidroin 1 (MaSp1) protein of Nephila clavipes spider dragline silk provide control over structural and morphological details because it can be self-assembled through diverse processing methods including film casting and fiber electrospinning. Biosilica nanostructures in diatoms are formed in aqueous ambient conditions at neutral pH and low temperatures. The R5 peptide derived from the silaffin protein of Cylindrotheca fusiformis induces and regulates silica precipitation in the chimeric protein designs under similar ambient conditions. Whereas mineralization reactions performed in the presence of R5 peptide alone form silica particles with a size distribution of 0.5-10 microm in diameter, reactions performed in the presence of the new fusion proteins generate nanocomposite materials containing silica particles with a narrower size distribution of 0.5-2 microm in diameter. Furthermore, we demonstrate that composite morphology and structure could be regulated by controlling processing conditions to produce films and fibers. These results suggest that the chimeric protein provides new options for processing and control over silica particle sizes, important benefits for biomedical and specialty materials, particularly in light of the all aqueous processing and the nanocomposite features of these new materials.

  12. Designing Spider Silk Proteins for Materials Applications

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2009-10-28

    spider silk. Accomplishments: YEAR 1. Bacteria were genetically engineered to produce two spider silk protein variants composed of basic repeat...silk proteins. In another development with Nexia we have purchased most of the founder goats they produced in order to protect the genetics they...Nexia produced in order to protect the genetics they developed. After a 9 month odyssey of bureaucratic hassles we will brought the goats into othe

  13. The N-terminal domains of spider silk proteins assemble ultrafast and protected from charge screening.

    PubMed

    Schwarze, Simone; Zwettler, Fabian U; Johnson, Christopher M; Neuweiler, Hannes

    2013-01-01

    Web spiders assemble spidroin monomers into silk fibres of unrivalled tensile strength at remarkably high spinning speeds of up to 1 m s(-1). The spidroin N-terminal domain contains a charge-driven, pH-sensitive relay that controls self-association by an elusive mechanism. The underlying kinetics have not yet been reported. Here we engineer a fluorescence switch into the isolated N-terminal domain from spidroin 1 of the major ampullate gland of the nursery web spider E. australis that monitors dimerization. We observe ultrafast association that is surprisingly insensitive to salt, contrasting the classical screening effects in accelerated, charged protein interfaces. To gain deeper mechanistic insight, we mutate each of the protonatable residue side chains and probe their contributions. Two vicinal aspartic acids are critically involved in an unusual process of accelerated protein association that is protected from screening by electrolytes, potentially facilitating the rapid synthesis of silk fibres by web spiders.

  14. 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

  15. Single honeybee silk protein mimics properties of multi-protein silk.

    PubMed

    Sutherland, Tara D; Church, Jeffrey S; Hu, Xiao; Huson, Mickey G; Kaplan, David L; Weisman, Sarah

    2011-02-02

    Honeybee silk is composed of four fibrous proteins that, unlike other silks, are readily synthesized at full-length and high yield. The four silk genes have been conserved for over 150 million years in all investigated bee, ant and hornet species, implying a distinct functional role for each protein. However, the amino acid composition and molecular architecture of the proteins are similar, suggesting functional redundancy. In this study we compare materials generated from a single honeybee silk protein to materials containing all four recombinant proteins or to natural honeybee silk. We analyse solution conformation by dynamic light scattering and circular dichroism, solid state structure by Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy, and fiber tensile properties by stress-strain analysis. The results demonstrate that fibers artificially generated from a single recombinant silk protein can reproduce the structural and mechanical properties of the natural silk. The importance of the four protein complex found in natural silk may lie in biological silk storage or hierarchical self-assembly. The finding that the functional properties of the mature material can be achieved with a single protein greatly simplifies the route to production for artificial honeybee silk.

  16. Small ampullate glands of Nephila clavipes.

    PubMed

    Ortíz, R; Céspedes, W; Nieves, L; Robles, I V; Plazaola, A; File, S; Candelas, G C

    2000-02-01

    The small ampullate glands of the orb-web spider, Nephila clavipes, have been studied and compared to other of the silk producing glands from this organism. They exhibit the same gross morphological features of the other glands. Electrophoretic analyses show that the gland's luminal contents migrate as a single band, while the contents of the secretory epithelium reveal a step-ladder array of peptides in addition to the full size product. Previous studies from our laboratory identified these peptides as products generated by translational pauses. This alternate mode of translation is typical of fibroin synthesis in all the spider glands thus far studied as well as in those of the silkworm. The correlation of the peptides to the process of fibroin synthesis is shown through experimental evidence in this paper. The gradual ultrastructural changes in Golgi vesicles elicited by the fibroin synthesis stimulus can be seen in this paper. The response to stimulation is of a higher magnitude in these glands than in any of those previously analyzed. These studies show the small ampullate glands are a promising and certainly exploitable model system for studies on the synthesis of tissue-specific protein product and its control. J. Exp. Zool. 286:114-119, 2000.

  17. 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

  18. Biocompatibility of silk-tropoelastin protein polymers.

    PubMed

    Liu, Hongjuan; Wise, Steven G; Rnjak-Kovacina, Jelena; Kaplan, David L; Bilek, Marcela M M; Weiss, Anthony S; Fei, Jian; Bao, Shisan

    2014-06-01

    Blended polymers are used extensively in many critical medical conditions as components of permanently implanted devices. Hybrid protein polymers containing recombinant human tropoelastin and silk fibroin have favorable characteristics as implantable scaffolds in terms of mechanical and biological properties. A firefly luciferase transgenic mouse model was used to monitor real-time IL-1β production localized to the site of biomaterial implantation, to observe the acute immune response (up to 5 days) to these materials. Significantly reduced levels of IL-1β were observed in silk/tropoelastin implants compared to control silk only implants at 1, 2 and 3 days post-surgery. Subsequently, mice (n = 9) were euthanized at 10 days (10D) and 3 weeks (3W) post-surgery to assess inflammatory cell infiltration and collagen deposition, using histopathology and immunohistochemistry. Compared to control silk only implants, fewer total inflammatory cells were found in silk/tropoelastin (∼29% at 10D and ∼47% at 3W). Also fewer ingrowth cells (∼42% at 10D and ∼63% at 3W) were observed within the silk/tropoelastin implants compared to silk only. Lower IL-6 (∼52%) and MMP-2 (∼84%) (pro-inflammatory) were also detected for silk/tropoelastin at 10 days. After 3 weeks implantation, reduced neovascularization (vWF ∼43%), fewer proliferating cells (Ki67 ∼58% and PCNA ∼41%), macrophages (F4/80 ∼64%), lower IL-10 (∼47%) and MMP-9 (∼55%) were also observed in silk/tropoelastin materials compared to silk only. Together, these results suggest that incorporation of tropoelastin improves on the established biocompatibility of silk fibroin, uniquely measured here as a reduced foreign body inflammatory response.

  19. Characterizing the secondary protein structure of black widow dragline silk using solid-state NMR and X-ray diffraction.

    PubMed

    Jenkins, Janelle E; Sampath, Sujatha; Butler, Emily; Kim, Jihyun; Henning, Robert W; Holland, Gregory P; Yarger, Jeffery L

    2013-10-14

    This study provides a detailed secondary structural characterization of major ampullate dragline silk from Latrodectus hesperus (black widow) spiders. X-ray diffraction results show that the structure of black widow major ampullate silk fibers is comprised of stacked β-sheet nanocrystallites oriented parallel to the fiber axis and an amorphous region with oriented (anisotropic) and isotropic components. The combination of two-dimensional (2D) (13)C-(13)C through-space and through-bond solid-state NMR experiments provide chemical shifts that are used to determine detailed information about the amino acid motif secondary structure in black widow spider dragline silk. Individual amino acids are incorporated into different repetitive motifs that make up the majority of this protein-based biopolymer. From the solid-state NMR measurements, we assign distinct secondary conformations to each repetitive amino acid motif and, hence, to the amino acids that make up the motifs. Specifically, alanine is incorporated in β-sheet (poly(Alan) and poly(Gly-Ala)), 3(1)-helix (poly(Gly-Gly-Xaa), and α-helix (poly(Gln-Gln-Ala-Tyr)) components. Glycine is determined to be in β-sheet (poly(Gly-Ala)) and 3(1)-helical (poly(Gly-Gly-X(aa))) regions, while serine is present in β-sheet (poly(Gly-Ala-Ser)), 3(1)-helix (poly(Gly-Gly-Ser)), and β-turn (poly(Gly-Pro-Ser)) structures. These various motif-specific secondary structural elements are quantitatively correlated to the primary amino acid sequence of major ampullate spidroin 1 and 2 (MaSp1 and MaSp2) and are shown to form a self-consistent model for black widow dragline silk.

  20. 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

  1. A novel model system for design of biomaterials based on recombinant analogs of spider silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Bogush, Vladimir G; Sokolova, Olga S; Davydova, Lyubov I; Klinov, Dmitri V; Sidoruk, Konstantin V; Esipova, Natalya G; Neretina, Tatyana V; Orchanskyi, Igor A; Makeev, Vsevolod Yu; Tumanyan, Vladimir G; Shaitan, Konstantin V; Debabov, Vladimir G; Kirpichnikov, Mikhail P

    2009-03-01

    Spider dragline silk possesses impressive mechanical and biochemical properties. It is synthesized by a couple of major ampullate glands in spiders and comprises of two major structural proteins--spidroins 1 and 2. The relationship between structure and mechanical properties of spider silk is not well understood. Here, we modeled the complete process of the spider silk assembly using two new recombinant analogs of spidroins 1 and 2. The artificial genes sequence of the hydrophobic core regions of spidroin 1 and 2 have been designed using computer analysis of existing databases and mathematical modeling. Both proteins were expressed in Pichia pastoris and purified using a cation exchange chromatography. Despite the absence of hydrophilic N- and C-termini, both purified proteins spontaneously formed the nanofibrils and round micelles of about 1 microm in aqueous solutions. The electron microscopy study has revealed the helical structure of a nanofibril with a repeating motif of 40 nm. Using the electrospinning, the thin films with an antiparallel beta-sheet structure were produced. In summary, we were able to obtain artificial structures with characteristics that are perspective for further biomedical applications, such as producing three-dimensional matrices for tissue engineering and drug delivery.

  2. Molecular and mechanical characterization of aciniform silk: uniformity of iterated sequence modules in a novel member of the spider silk fibroin gene family.

    PubMed

    Hayashi, Cheryl Y; Blackledge, Todd A; Lewis, Randolph V

    2004-10-01

    Araneoid spiders use specialized abdominal glands to produce up to seven different protein-based silks/glues that have diverse physical properties. The fibroin sequences that encode aciniform fibers (wrapping silk) and the mechanical properties of these fibers have not been characterized previously. To gain a better understanding of the molecular radiation of spider silk fibroin genes, cDNA libraries derived from aciniform glands of the banded garden spider, Argiope trifasciata, were constructed, and unique silk transcripts were sequenced. There was evidence for a single silk fibroin gene that was expressed in the aciniform glands, and the inferred amino acid composition of the novel fibroin closely matched the amino acid contents of these glands. The inferred protein, aciniform spidroin 1 (AcSp1), is composed of highly homogenized repeats that are 200 amino acids in length. The long stretches of poly-alanine and glycine-alanine subrepeats, which are thought to account for the crystalline regions of minor ampullate and major ampullate fibers, are very poorly represented in AcSp1. The AcSp1 repeat unit is iterated minimally 14 times and does not display substantial sequence similarity to any previously described genes or proteins. Database searches, however, showed that the nonrepetitive carboxy-terminus contains stretches of matches to known spider fibroin sequences, suggesting that the AcSp1 gene is a highly divergent member of the spider silk gene family. In phylogenetic analyses of carboxy-terminal sequences from araneid spiders, the aciniform sequence did not group strongly with clusters of fibroins from the flagelliform, minor ampullate, or major ampullate silk glands. Comparisons of stress/strain curves for major ampullate, minor ampullate, and aciniform silks from Argiope trifasciata showed significant differences in ultimate strength, extensibility, and toughness. Remarkably, the toughness of aciniform silk was 50% greater than the highest values typically

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  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.

  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.

  8. Spidroin N-terminal Domain Promotes a pH-dependent Association of Silk Proteins during Self-assembly*

    PubMed Central

    Gaines, William A.; Sehorn, Michael G.; Marcotte, William R.

    2010-01-01

    Spider silks are spun from concentrated solutions of spidroin proteins. The appropriate timing of spidroin assembly into organized fibers must be highly regulated to avoid premature fiber formation. Chemical and physical signals presented to the silk proteins as they pass from the ampulle and through the tapered duct include changes in ionic environment and pH as well as the introduction of shear forces. Here, we show that the N-terminal domain of spidroins from the major ampullate gland (MaSp-NTDs) for both Nephila and Latrodectus spiders associate noncovalently as homodimers. The MaSp-NTDs are highly pH-responsive and undergo a structural transition in the physiological pH range of the spider duct. Tryptophan fluorescence of the MaSp-NTDs reveals a change in conformation when pH is decreased, and the pH at which the transition occurs is determined by the amount and type of salt present. Size exclusion chromatography and pulldown assays both indicate that the lower pH conformation is associated with a significantly increased MaSp-NTD homodimer stability. By transducing the duct pH signal into specific protein-protein interactions, this conserved spidroin domain likely contributes significantly to the silk-spinning process. Based on these results, we propose a model of spider silk assembly dynamics as mediated through the MaSp-NTD. PMID:20959449

  9. High-toughness silk produced by a transgenic silkworm expressing spider (Araneus ventricosus) dragline silk protein.

    PubMed

    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.

  10. 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.

  11. Conformation and orientation of proteins in various types of silk fibers produced by Nephila clavipes spiders.

    PubMed

    Rousseau, Marie-Eve; Lefèvre, Thierry; Pézolet, Michel

    2009-10-12

    Silk fibers harvested from the web, cocoon, and prey wrapping of the spider Nephila clavipes have been studied by polarized Raman spectromicroscopy. The technique is efficient to differentiate the various types of silk by probing monofilaments produced by the major ampullate (MA), minor ampullate (MI), cylindriform, flagelliform, and aciniform glands. The spectra show that the MA, MI, and cylindriform silks belong to the same structural class and are composed of highly oriented beta-sheets (35-37%) with other slightly oriented secondary structures. Spectral markers of particular motifs involved in the beta-sheets have been identified. The flagelliform silk represents a second, very peculiar structural class. It displays a heterogeneous disordered conformation without any preferential orientation. Such characteristics certainly play a role in the large extensibility of this silk. The aciniform silk represents a third class of silk dominated by moderately oriented beta-sheets (approximately 30%) and alpha-helices (approximately 24%). Such a structure seems important in explaining the high toughness of this silk.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

    2015-06-08

    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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-14

    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.

  1. 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.

  2. Comprehensive Proteomic Analysis of Spider Dragline Silk from Black Widows: A Recipe to Build Synthetic Silk Fibers

    PubMed Central

    Larracas, Camille; Hekman, Ryan; Dyrness, Simmone; Arata, Alisa; Williams, Caroline; Crawford, Taylor; Vierra, Craig A.

    2016-01-01

    The outstanding material properties of spider dragline silk fibers have been attributed to two spidroins, major ampullate spidroins 1 and 2 (MaSp1 and MaSp2). Although dragline silk fibers have been treated with different chemical solvents to elucidate the relationship between protein structure and fiber mechanics, there has not been a comprehensive proteomic analysis of the major ampullate (MA) gland, its spinning dope, and dragline silk using a wide range of chaotropic agents, inorganic salts, and fluorinated alcohols to elucidate their complete molecular constituents. In these studies, we perform in-solution tryptic digestions of solubilized MA glands, spinning dope and dragline silk fibers using five different solvents, followed by nano liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis with an Orbitrap Fusion™ Tribrid™. To improve protein identification, we employed three different tryptic peptide fragmentation modes, which included collision-induced dissociation (CID), electron transfer dissociation (ETD), and high energy collision dissociation (HCD) to discover proteins involved in the silk assembly pathway and silk fiber. In addition to MaSp1 and MaSp2, we confirmed the presence of a third spidroin, aciniform spidroin 1 (AcSp1), widely recognized as the major constituent of wrapping silk, as a product of dragline silk. Our findings also reveal that MA glands, spinning dope, and dragline silk contain at least seven common proteins: three members of the Cysteine-Rich Protein Family (CRP1, CRP2 and CRP4), cysteine-rich secretory protein 3 (CRISP3), fasciclin and two uncharacterized proteins. In summary, this study provides a proteomic blueprint to construct synthetic silk fibers that most closely mimic natural fibers. PMID:27649139

  3. 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.

  4. Silken toolkits: biomechanics of silk fibers spun by the orb web spider Argiope argentata (Fabricius 1775).

    PubMed

    Blackledge, Todd A; Hayashi, Cheryl Y

    2006-07-01

    Orb-weaving spiders spin five fibrous silks from differentiated glands that contain unique sets of proteins. Despite diverse ecological functions, the mechanical properties of most of these silks are not well characterized. Here, we quantify the mechanical performance of this toolkit of silks for the silver garden spider Argiope argentata. Four silks exhibit viscoelastic behaviour typical of polymers, but differ statistically from each other by up to 250% in performance, giving each silk a distinctive suite of material properties. Major ampullate silk is 50% stronger than other fibers, but also less extensible. Aciniform silk is almost twice as tough as other silks because of high strength and extensibility. Capture spiral silk, coated with aqueous glue, is an order of magnitude stretchier than other silks. Dynamic mechanical properties are qualitatively similar, but quantitatively vary by up to 300% among silks. Storage moduli are initially nearly constant and increase after fiber yield, whereas loss tangents reach maxima of 0.1-0.2 at the yield. The remarkable mechanical diversity of Argiope argentata silks probably results in part from the different molecular structures of fibers and can be related to the specific ecological role of each silk. Our study indicates substantial potential to customize the mechanics of bioengineered silks.

  5. Coatings and films made of silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Borkner, Christian B; Elsner, Martina B; Scheibel, Thomas

    2014-09-24

    Silks are a class of proteinaceous materials produced by arthropods for various purposes. Spider dragline silk is known for its outstanding mechanical properties, and it shows high biocompatibility, good biodegradability, and a lack of immunogenicity and allergenicity. The silk produced by the mulberry silkworm B. mori has been used as a textile fiber and in medical devices for a long time. Here, recent progress in the processing of different silk materials into highly tailored isotropic and anisotropic coatings for biomedical applications such as tissue engineering, cell adhesion, and implant coatings as well as for optics and biosensors is reviewed.

  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. Biopatterning of Silk Proteins for Soft Micro-optics.

    PubMed

    Pal, Ramendra K; Kurland, Nicholas E; Wang, Congzhou; Kundu, Subhas C; Yadavalli, Vamsi K

    2015-04-29

    Silk proteins from spiders and silkworms have been proposed as outstanding candidates for soft micro-optic and photonic applications because of their optical transparency, unique biological properties, and mechanical robustness. Here, we present a method to form microstructures of the two constituent silk proteins, fibroin and sericin for use as an optical biomaterial. Using photolithography, chemically modified silk protein photoresists are patterned in 2D arrays of periodic patterns and Fresnel zone plates. Angle-dependent iridescent colors are produced in these periodic micropatterns because of the Bragg diffraction. Silk protein photolithography can used to form patterns on different substrates including flexible sheets with features of any shape with high fidelity and resolution over large areas. Finally, we show that these mechanically stable and transparent iridescent architectures are also completely biodegradable. This versatile and scalable technique can therefore be used to develop biocompatible, soft micro-optic devices that can be degraded in a controlled manner.

  8. Spider silks: recombinant synthesis, assembly, spinning, and engineering of synthetic proteins

    PubMed Central

    Scheibel, Thomas

    2004-01-01

    Since thousands of years humans have utilized insect silks for their own benefit and comfort. The most famous example is the use of reeled silkworm silk from Bombyx mori to produce textiles. In contrast, despite the more promising properties of their silk, spiders have not been domesticated for large-scale or even industrial applications, since farming the spiders is not commercially viable due to their highly territorial and cannibalistic nature. Before spider silks can be copied or mimicked, not only the sequence of the underlying proteins but also their functions have to be resolved. Several attempts to recombinantly produce spider silks or spider silk mimics in various expression hosts have been reported previously. A new protein engineering approach, which combines synthetic repetitive silk sequences with authentic silk domains, reveals proteins that closely resemble silk proteins and that can be produced at high yields, which provides a basis for cost-efficient large scale production of spider silk-like proteins. PMID:15546497

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Microdissection of black widow spider silk-producing glands.

    PubMed

    Jeffery, Felicia; La Mattina, Coby; Tuton-Blasingame, Tiffany; Hsia, Yang; Gnesa, Eric; Zhao, Liang; Franz, Andreas; Vierra, Craig

    2011-01-11

    Modern spiders spin high-performance silk fibers with a broad range of biological functions, including locomotion, prey capture and protection of developing offspring. 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. 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. 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], tubuliform [synthesizes egg case silk], flagelliform [unknown function in cob-weavers], aggregate [makes glue silk], aciniform [synthesizes prey wrapping and egg

  12. Isolation of a clone encoding a second dragline silk fibroin. Nephila clavipes dragline silk is a two-protein fiber.

    PubMed

    Hinman, M B; Lewis, R V

    1992-09-25

    Spider dragline silk is a unique protein fiber possessing both high tensile strength and high elasticity. A partial cDNA clone for one dragline silk protein (Spidroin 1) was previously isolated. However, the predicted amino acid sequence could not account for the amino acid composition of dragline silk. We have isolated a partial cDNA clone for another dragline silk protein (Spidroin 2), demonstrating that dragline silk is composed of multiple proteins. The amino acid sequence exhibits an entirely different repetitive motif than Spidroin 1. Spidroin 2 is predicted to consist of linked beta-turns in proline-rich regions which alternate with beta-sheet regions composed of polyalanine segments. This structure for Spidroin 2 provides a model for dragline silk structure and function.

  13. Novel silk protein barrier membranes for guided bone regeneration.

    PubMed

    Smeets, Ralf; Knabe, Christine; Kolk, Andreas; Rheinnecker, Michael; Gröbe, Alexander; Heiland, Max; Zehbe, Rolf; Sachse, Manuela; Große-Siestrup, Christian; Wöltje, Michael; Hanken, Henning

    2016-10-12

    This study assesses the biocompatibility of novel silk protein membranes with and without modification, and evaluates their effect on facilitating bone formation and defect repair in guided bone regeneration. Two calvarian bone defects 12 mm in diameter were created in each of a total of 38 rabbits. Four different types of membranes, (silk-, hydroxyapatite-modified silk-, β-TCP-modified silk- and commonly clinically used collagen-membranes) were implanted to cover one of the two defects in each animal. Histologic analysis did not show any adverse tissue reactions in any of the defect sites indicating good biocompatibility of all silk protein membranes. Histomorphometric and histologic evaluation revealed that collagen and β-TCP modified silk membranes supported bone formation (collagen: bone area fraction p = 0.025; significant; β-TCP modified silk membranes bone area fraction: p = 0.24, not significant), guided bone regeneration and defect bridging. The bone, which had formed in defects covered by β-TCP modified silk membranes, displayed a more advanced stage of bone tissue maturation with restoration of the original calvarial bone microarchitecture when compared to the bone which had formed in defects, for which any of the other test membranes were used. Micro-CT analysis did not reveal any differences in the amount of bone formation between defects with and without membranes. In contrast to the collagen membranes, β-TCP modified silk membranes were visible in all cases and may therefore be advantageous for further supporting bone formation beyond 10 weeks and preventing soft tissue ingrowth from the periphery. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 2016.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Nanostructure and molecular mechanics of spider dragline silk protein assemblies.

    PubMed

    Keten, Sinan; Buehler, Markus J

    2010-12-06

    Spider silk is a self-assembling biopolymer that outperforms most known materials in terms of its mechanical performance, despite its underlying weak chemical bonding based on H-bonds. While experimental studies have shown that the molecular structure of silk proteins has a direct influence on the stiffness, toughness and failure strength of silk, no molecular-level analysis of the nanostructure and associated mechanical properties of silk assemblies have been reported. Here, we report atomic-level structures of MaSp1 and MaSp2 proteins from the Nephila clavipes spider dragline silk sequence, obtained using replica exchange molecular dynamics, and subject these structures to mechanical loading for a detailed nanomechanical analysis. The structural analysis reveals that poly-alanine regions in silk predominantly form distinct and orderly beta-sheet crystal domains, while disorderly regions are formed by glycine-rich repeats that consist of 3₁-helix type structures and beta-turns. Our structural predictions are validated against experimental data based on dihedral angle pair calculations presented in Ramachandran plots, alpha-carbon atomic distances, as well as secondary structure content. Mechanical shearing simulations on selected structures illustrate that the nanoscale behaviour of silk protein assemblies is controlled by the distinctly different secondary structure content and hydrogen bonding in the crystalline and semi-amorphous regions. Both structural and mechanical characterization results show excellent agreement with available experimental evidence. Our findings set the stage for extensive atomistic investigations of silk, which may contribute towards an improved understanding of the source of the strength and toughness of this biological superfibre.

  17. Tubuliform silk protein: A protein with unique molecular characteristics and mechanical properties in the spider silk fibroin family

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tian, M.; Lewis, R. V.

    2006-02-01

    Orb-web weavers can produce up to six different types of silk and a glue for various functions. Tubuliform silk is unique among them due to its distinct amino acid composition, specific time of production, and atypical mechanical properties. To study the protein composing this silk, tubuliform gland cDNA libraries were constructed from three orb-weaving spiders Argiope aurantia, Araneus gemmoides, and Nephila clavipes. Amino acid composition comparison between the predicted tubuliform silk protein sequence (TuSp1) and the corresponding gland protein confirms that TuSp1 is the major component in tubuliform gland in three spiders. Sequence analysis suggests that TuSp1 shares no significant similarity with its paralogues, while it has conserved sequence motifs with the most primitive spider, Euagrus chisoseus silk protein. The presence of large side-chain amino acids in TuSp1 sequence is consistent with the frustrated β-sheet crystalline structure of tubuliform silk observed in transmission electron microscopy. Repeat unit comparison within species as well as among three spiders exhibits high sequence conservation. Parsimony analysis based on carboxy terminal sequence shows that Argiope and Araneus are more closely related than either is to Nephila which is consistent with phylogenetic analysis based on morphological evidence.

  18. Solution behavior of synthetic silk peptides and modified recombinant silk proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foo, C. Wong Po; Bini, E.; Huang, J.; Lee, S. Y.; Kaplan, D. L.

    2006-02-01

    Spider dragline silk from Nephila clavipes possesses impressive mechanical properties derived in part from repetitive primary sequence containing polyalanine regions that self-assemble into crystalline β-sheets. In the present study, we have sought to understand more details of redox responses related to conformational transitions of modified silk peptides and a recombinant protein containing encoded methionine triggers. Regardless of the position of the methionine trigger relative to the polyalanine domain, chemical oxidation was rapid and slight increases in the α-helical structure and decreases in the β-sheet and random coil content were observed by CD and FTIR in the assembled silk-like peptides and the recombinant protein. CD results indicated that the decrease in β-sheet and random coil conformations, coupled with the increase in helical content during oxidation, occurred during the first 30 min of the reaction. No further conformational changes occurred after this time and the response was independent of methionine trigger location relative to the penta-alanine domain. These results were confirmed with fluorescence studies. The design, processing and utility of these modified redox triggered silk-like peptides and proteins suggest a range of potential utility, from biomaterials to engineered surface coatings with chemically alterable secondary structure and, thus, properties.

  19. Molecular characterization and evolutionary study of spider tubuliform (eggcase) silk protein.

    PubMed

    Tian, Maozhen; Lewis, Randolph V

    2005-06-07

    As a result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution, orb-web-weaving spiders have developed the use of seven different silks produced by different abdominal glands for various functions. Tubuliform silk (eggcase silk) is unique among these spider silks due to its high serine and very low glycine content. In addition, tubuliform silk is the only silk produced just during a short period of time, the reproductive season, in the spider's life. To understand the molecular characteristics of the proteins composing this silk, we constructed tubuliform-gland-specific cDNA libraries from three different spider families, Nephila clavipes, Argiope aurantia, and Araneus gemmoides. Sequencing of tubuliform silk cDNAs reveals the repetitive architecture of its coding sequence and novel amino acid motifs. The inferred protein, tubuliform spidroin 1 (TuSp1), contains highly homogenized repeats in all three spiders. Amino acid composition comparison of the predicted tubuliform silk protein sequence to tubuliform silk indicates that TuSp1 is the major component of tubuliform silk. Repeat unit alignment of TuSp1 among three spider species shows high sequence conservation among tubuliform silk protein orthologue groups. Sequence comparison among TuSp1 repetitive units within species suggests intragenic concerted evolution, presumably through gene conversion and unequal crossover events. Comparative analysis demonstrates that TuSp1 represents a new orthologue in the spider silk gene family.

  20. Shape Memory Silk Protein Sponges for Minimally Invasive Tissue Regeneration.

    PubMed

    Brown, Joseph E; Moreau, Jodie E; Berman, Alison M; McSherry, Heather J; Coburn, Jeannine M; Schmidt, Daniel F; Kaplan, David L

    2017-01-01

    Porous silk protein scaffolds are designed to display shape memory characteristics and volumetric recovery following compression. Two strategies are utilized to realize shape recovery: addition of hygroscopic plasticizers like glycerol, and tyrosine modifications with hydrophilic sulfonic acid chemistries. Silk sponges are evaluated for recovery following 80% compressive strain, total porosity, pore size distribution, secondary structure development, in vivo volume retention, cell infiltration, and inflammatory responses. Glycerol-modified sponges recover up to 98.3% of their original dimensions following compression, while sulfonic acid/glycerol modified sponges swell in water up to 71 times their compressed volume, well in excess of their original size. Longer silk extraction times (lower silk molecular weights) and higher glycerol concentrations yielded greater flexibility and shape fidelity, with no loss in modulus following compression. Sponges are over 95% porous, with secondary structure analysis indicating glycerol-induced β-sheet physical crosslinking. Tyrosine modifications with sulfonic acid interfere with β-sheet formation. Glycerol-modified sponges exhibit improved rates of cellular infiltration at subcutaneous implant sites with minimal immune response in mice. They also degrade more rapidly than unmodified sponges, a result posited to be cell-mediated. Overall, this work suggests that silk sponges may be useful for minimally invasive deployment in soft tissue augmentation procedures.

  1. Hydrothermal production and characterization of protein and amino acids from silk waste.

    PubMed

    Lamoolphak, Wiwat; De-Eknamkul, Wanchai; Shotipruk, Artiwan

    2008-11-01

    Non-catalytic hydrothermal decomposition of sericin and fibroin from silk waste into useful protein and amino acids was examined in a closed batch reactor at various temperatures, reaction times, and silk to water ratios to examine their effects on protein and amino acid yields. For the decomposition of sericin, the highest protein yield was found to be 0.466 mg protein/mg raw silk, obtained after 10 min hydrothermal reaction of silk waste at 1:100 silk to water ratio at 120 degrees C. The highest amino acid yield was found to be 0.203 mg amino acids/mg raw silk, obtained after 60 min of hydrothermal reaction of silk waste at 1:20 silk to water ratio at 160 degrees C. For the hydrothermal decomposition of fibroin, the highest protein yield was 0.455 mg protein/mg silk fibroin (1:100, 220 degrees C, 10 min) and that of amino acids was 0.755 mg amino acids/mg silk fibroin (1:50, 220 degrees C, 60 min). The rate of silk fibroin decomposition could be described by surface reaction kinetics. The soluble reaction products were freeze-dried to obtain sericin and fibroin particles, whose conformation and crystal structure of the particles were shown to differ from the original silk materials, particularly in the case of fibroin, in which the change from beta-sheet conformation to alpha-helix/random coil was observed.

  2. Role of pH and charge on silk protein assembly in insects and spiders

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foo, C. Wong Po; Bini, E.; Hensman, J.; Knight, D. P.; Lewis, R. V.; Kaplan, D. L.

    2006-02-01

    Silk fibers possess impressive mechanical properties, dependant, in part, on the crystalline β-sheets silk II conformation. The transition to silk II from soluble silk I-like conformation in silk glands, is thought to originate in the spinning ducts immediately before the silk is drawn down into a fiber. However the assembly process of these silk molecules into fibers, whether in silkworms or spiders, is not well understood. Extensional flow, protein concentration, pH and metal ion concentrations are thought to be most important in in vivo silk processing and in affecting structural conformations. We look at how parameters such as pH, [Ca2+], [K+], and [Cu2+], and water content, interact with the domain structure of silk proteins towards the successful storage and processing of these concentrated hydrophobic silk proteins. Our recent domain mapping studies of all known silk proteins, and 2D Raman spectroscopy, NMR, and DLS studies performed on sections of silkworm gland, suggest that low pH and gradual water removal promote intermolecular over intramolecular hydrogen bonding. This discussion helps to provide the necessary ground rules towards the design of silk protein analogues with specific hydrophobicity and charge profiles to optimize expression, solubility and assembly with implications in structural biology and material science.

  3. 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

    2016-01-08

    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.

  4. The advances and perspectives of recombinant protein production in the silk gland of silkworm Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Xu, Hanfu

    2014-10-01

    The silk gland of silkworm Bombyx mori, is one of the most important organs that has been fully studied and utilized so far. It contributes finest silk fibers to humankind. The silk gland has excellent ability of synthesizing silk proteins and is a kind tool to produce some useful recombinant proteins, which can be widely used in the biological, biotechnical and pharmaceutical application fields. It's a very active area to express recombinant proteins using the silk gland as a bioreactor, and great progress has been achieved recently. This review recapitulates the progress of producing recombinant proteins and silk-based biomaterials in the silk gland of silkworm in addition to the construction of expression systems. Current challenges and future trends in the production of valuable recombinant proteins using transgenic silkworms are also discussed.

  5. A Materiomics Approach to Spider Silk: Protein Molecules to Webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tarakanova, Anna; Buehler, Markus J.

    2012-02-01

    The exceptional mechanical properties of hierarchical self-assembling silk biopolymers have been extensively studied experimentally and in computational investigations. A series of recent studies has been conducted to examine structure-function relationships across different length scales in silk, ranging from atomistic models of protein constituents to the spider web architecture. Silk is an exemplary natural material because its superior properties stem intrinsically from the synergistic cooperativity of hierarchically organized components, rather than from the superior properties of the building blocks themselves. It is composed of beta-sheet nanocrystals interspersed within less orderly amorphous domains, where the underlying molecular structure is dominated by weak hydrogen bonding. Protein chains are organized into fibrils, which pack together to form threads of a spider web. In this article we survey multiscale studies spanning length scales from angstroms to centimeters, from the amino acid sequence defining silk components to an atomistically derived spider web model, with the aim to bridge varying levels of hierarchy to elucidate the mechanisms by which structure at each composite level contributes to organization and material phenomena at subsequent levels. The work demonstrates that the web is a highly adapted system where both material and hierarchical structure across all length scales is critical for its functional properties.

  6. Engineering aqueous fiber assembly into silk-elastin-like protein polymers.

    PubMed

    Zeng, Like; Jiang, Linan; Teng, Weibing; Cappello, Joseph; Zohar, Yitshak; Wu, Xiaoyi

    2014-07-01

    Self-assembled peptide/protein nanofibers are valuable 1D building blocks for creating complex structures with designed properties and functions. It is reported that the self-assembly of silk-elastin-like protein polymers into nanofibers or globular aggregates in aqueous solutions can be modulated by tuning the temperature of the protein solutions, the size of the silk blocks, and the charge of the elastin blocks. A core-sheath model is proposed for nanofiber formation, with the silk blocks in the cores and the hydrated elastin blocks in the sheaths. The folding of the silk blocks into stable cores--affected by the size of the silk blocks and the charge of the elastin blocks--plays a critical role in the assembly of silk-elastin nanofibers. Furthermore, enhanced hydrophobic interactions between the elastin blocks at elevated temperatures greatly influence the nanoscale features of silk-elastin nanofibers.

  7. Differential Scanning Fluorimetry provides high throughput data on silk protein transitions.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vollrath, Fritz; Hawkins, Nick; Porter, David; Holland, Chris; Boulet-Audet, Maxime

    2014-07-01

    Here we present a set of measurements using Differential Scanning Fluorimetry (DSF) as an inexpensive, high throughput screening method to investigate the folding of silk protein molecules as they abandon their first native melt conformation, dehydrate and denature into their final solid filament conformation. Our first data and analyses comparing silks from spiders, mulberry and wild silkworms as well as reconstituted `silk' fibroin show that DSF can provide valuable insights into details of silk denaturation processes that might be active during spinning. We conclude that this technique and technology offers a powerful and novel tool to analyse silk protein transitions in detail by allowing many changes to the silk solutions to be tested rapidly with microliter scale sample sizes. Such transition mechanisms will lead to important generic insights into the folding patterns not only of silks but also of other fibrous protein (bio)polymers.

  8. Impact of Protein-Metal Ion Interactions on the Crystallization of Silk Fibroin Protein

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Xiao; Lu, Qiang; Kaplan, David; Cebe, Peggy

    2009-03-01

    Proteins can easily form bonds with a variety of metal ions, which provides many unique biological functions for the protein structures, and therefore controls the overall structural transformation of proteins. We use advanced thermal analysis methods such as temperature modulated differential scanning calorimetry and quasi-isothermal TMDSC, combined with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy, to investigate the protein-metallic ion interactions in Bombyx mori silk fibroin proteins. Silk samples were mixed with different metal ions (Ca^2+, K^+, Ma^2+, Na^+, Cu^2+, Mn^2+) with different mass ratios, and compared with the physical conditions in the silkworm gland. Results show that all metallic ions can directly affect the crystallization behavior and glass transition of silk fibroin. However, different ions tend to have different structural impact, including their role as plasticizer or anti-plasticizer. Detailed studies reveal important information allowing us better to understand the natural silk spinning and crystallization process.

  9. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-05

    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.

  11. 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

  12. Molecular architecture and evolution of a modular spider silk protein gene.

    PubMed

    Hayashi, C Y; Lewis, R V

    2000-02-25

    Spider flagelliform silk is one of the most elastic natural materials known. Extensive sequencing of spider silk genes has shown that the exons and introns of the flagelliform gene underwent intragenic concerted evolution. The intron sequences are more homogenized within a species than are the exons. This pattern can be explained by extreme mutation and recombination pressures on the internally repetitive exons. The iterated sequences within exons encode protein structures that are critical to the function of silks. Therefore, attributes that make silks exceptional biomaterials may also hinder the fixation of optimally adapted protein sequences.

  13. Molecular Architecture and Evolution of a Modular Spider Silk Protein Gene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hayashi, Cheryl Y.; Lewis, Randolph V.

    2000-02-01

    Spider flagelliform silk is one of the most elastic natural materials known. Extensive sequencing of spider silk genes has shown that the exons and introns of the flagelliform gene underwent intragenic concerted evolution. The intron sequences are more homogenized within a species than are the exons. This pattern can be explained by extreme mutation and recombination pressures on the internally repetitive exons. The iterated sequences within exons encode protein structures that are critical to the function of silks. Therefore, attributes that make silks exceptional biomaterials may also hinder the fixation of optimally adapted protein sequences.

  14. Acidic Residues Control the Dimerization of the N-terminal Domain of Black Widow Spiders’ Major Ampullate Spidroin 1

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bauer, Joschka; Schaal, Daniel; Eisoldt, Lukas; Schweimer, Kristian; Schwarzinger, Stephan; Scheibel, Thomas

    2016-09-01

    Dragline silk is the most prominent amongst spider silks and comprises two types of major ampullate spidroins (MaSp) differing in their proline content. In the natural spinning process, the conversion of soluble MaSp into a tough fiber is, amongst other factors, triggered by dimerization and conformational switching of their helical amino-terminal domains (NRN). Both processes are induced by protonation of acidic residues upon acidification along the spinning duct. Here, the structure and monomer-dimer-equilibrium of the domain NRN1 of Latrodectus hesperus MaSp1 and variants thereof have been investigated, and the key residues for both could be identified. Changes in ionic composition and strength within the spinning duct enable electrostatic interactions between the acidic and basic pole of two monomers which prearrange into an antiparallel dimer. Upon naturally occurring acidification this dimer is stabilized by protonation of residue E114. A conformational change is independently triggered by protonation of clustered acidic residues (D39, E76, E81). Such step-by-step mechanism allows a controlled spidroin assembly in a pH- and salt sensitive manner, preventing premature aggregation of spider silk proteins in the gland and at the same time ensuring fast and efficient dimer formation and stabilization on demand in the spinning duct.

  15. Acidic Residues Control the Dimerization of the N-terminal Domain of Black Widow Spiders’ Major Ampullate Spidroin 1

    PubMed Central

    Bauer, Joschka; Schaal, Daniel; Eisoldt, Lukas; Schweimer, Kristian; Schwarzinger, Stephan; Scheibel, Thomas

    2016-01-01

    Dragline silk is the most prominent amongst spider silks and comprises two types of major ampullate spidroins (MaSp) differing in their proline content. In the natural spinning process, the conversion of soluble MaSp into a tough fiber is, amongst other factors, triggered by dimerization and conformational switching of their helical amino-terminal domains (NRN). Both processes are induced by protonation of acidic residues upon acidification along the spinning duct. Here, the structure and monomer-dimer-equilibrium of the domain NRN1 of Latrodectus hesperus MaSp1 and variants thereof have been investigated, and the key residues for both could be identified. Changes in ionic composition and strength within the spinning duct enable electrostatic interactions between the acidic and basic pole of two monomers which prearrange into an antiparallel dimer. Upon naturally occurring acidification this dimer is stabilized by protonation of residue E114. A conformational change is independently triggered by protonation of clustered acidic residues (D39, E76, E81). Such step-by-step mechanism allows a controlled spidroin assembly in a pH- and salt sensitive manner, preventing premature aggregation of spider silk proteins in the gland and at the same time ensuring fast and efficient dimer formation and stabilization on demand in the spinning duct. PMID:27681031

  16. Structural Model for the Spider Silk Protein Spidroin-1.

    PubMed

    dos Santos-Pinto, José Roberto Aparecido; Arcuri, Helen Andrade; Priewalder, Helga; Salles, Heliana Clara; Palma, Mario Sergio; Lubec, Gert

    2015-09-04

    Most reports about the 3-D structure of spidroin-1 have been proposed for the protein in solid state or for individual domains of these proteins. A gel-based mass spectrometry strategy using collision-induced dissociation (CID) and electron-transfer dissociation (ETD) fragmentation methods was used to completely sequence spidroins-1A and -1B and to assign a series of post-translational modifications (PTMs) on to the spidroin sequences. A total of 15 and 16 phosphorylation sites were detected on spidroin-1A and -1B, respectively. In this work, we present the nearly complete amino acid sequence of spidroin-1A and -1B, including the nonrepetitive N- and C-terminal domains and a highly repetitive central core. We also described a fatty acid layer surrounding the protein fibers and PTMs in the sequences of spidroin-1A and -1B, including phosphorylation. Thus, molecular models for phosphorylated spidroins were proposed in the presence of a mixture fatty acids/water (1:1) and submitted to molecular dynamics simulation. The resulting models presented high content of coils, a higher percentage of α-helix, and an almost neglected content of 310-helix than the previous models. Knowledge of the complete structure of spidroins-1A and -1B would help to explain the mechanical features of silk fibers. The results of the current investigation provide a foundation for biophysical studies of the mechanoelastic properties of web-silk proteins.

  17. Hierarchical structures made of proteins. The complex architecture of spider webs and their constituent silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Heim, Markus; Römer, Lin; Scheibel, Thomas

    2010-01-01

    Biopolymers fulfil a variety of different functions in nature. They conduct various processes inside and outside cells and organisms, with a functionality ranging from storage of information to stabilization, protection, shaping, transport, cellular division, or movement of whole organisms. Within the plethora of biopolymers, the most sophisticated group is of proteinaceous origin: the cytoskeleton of a cell is made of protein filaments that aid in pivotal processes like intracellular transport, movement, and cell division; geckos use a distinct arrangement of keratin-like filaments on their toes which enable them to walk up smooth surfaces, such as walls, and even upside down across ceilings; and spiders spin silks that are extra-corporally used for protection of offspring and construction of complex prey traps. The following tutorial review describes the hierarchical organization of protein fibers, using spider dragline silk as an example. The properties of a dragline silk thread originate from the strictly controlled assembly of the underlying protein chains. The assembly procedure leads to protein fibers showing a complex hierarchical organization comprising three different structural phases. This structural organization is responsible for the outstanding mechanical properties of individual fibers, which out-compete even those of high-performance artificial fibers like Kevlar. Web-weaving spiders produce, in addition to dragline silk, other silks with distinct properties, based on slightly variant constituent proteins--a feature that allows construction of highly sophisticated spider webs with well designed architectures and with optimal mechanical properties for catching prey.

  18. Biological responses to spider silk-antibiotic fusion protein

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    The development of a new generation of multifunctional biomaterials is a continual goal for the field of materials science. The in vivo functional behaviour of a new fusion protein that combines the mechanical properties of spider silk with the antimicrobial properties of hepcidin was addressed in this study. This new chimeric protein, termed 6mer+hepcidin, fuses spider dragline consensus sequences (6mer) and the antimicrobial peptide hepcidin as we have recently described, with retention of bactericidal activity and low cytotoxicity. In the present study mice subcutaneous implants were studied to access the in vivo biological response to the 6mer+hepcidin, which were compared with controls of silk alone (6mer), poly-lactic-glycolic-acid (PLGA) films and empty defects. Along with visual observations, flow cytometry and histology analyses were used to determine the number and type of inflammatory cells at the implantation site. The results show a mild to low inflammatory reaction to the implanted materials and no apparent differences between the 6mer+hepcidin films and the other experimental controls, demonstrating that the new fusion protein has good in vivo biocompatibility, while maintaining antibiotic function. PMID:22514077

  19. Relationships between supercontraction and mechanical properties of spider silk.

    PubMed

    Liu, Yi; Shao, Zhengzhong; Vollrath, Fritz

    2005-12-01

    Typical spider dragline silk tends to outperform other natural fibres and most man-made filaments. However, even small changes in spinning conditions can have large effects on the mechanical properties of a silk fibre as well as on its water uptake. Absorbed water leads to significant shrinkage in an unrestrained dragline fibre and reversibly converts the material into a rubber. This process is known as supercontraction and may be a functional adaptation for the silk's role in the spider's web. Supercontraction is thought to be controlled by specific motifs in the silk proteins and to be induced by the entropy-driven recoiling of molecular chains. In analogy, in man-made fibres thermal shrinkage induces changes in mechanical properties attributable to the entropy-driven disorientation of 'unfrozen' molecular chains (as in polyethylene terephthalate) or the 'broken' intermolecular hydrogen bonds (as in nylons). Here we show for Nephila major-ampullate silk how in a biological fibre the spinning conditions affect the interplay between shrinkage and mechanical characteristics. This interaction reveals design principles linking the exceptional properties of silk to its molecular orientation.

  20. Relationships between supercontraction and mechanical properties of spider silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Yi; Shao, Zhengzhong; Vollrath, Fritz

    2005-12-01

    Typical spider dragline silk tends to outperform other natural fibres and most man-made filaments. However, even small changes in spinning conditions can have large effects on the mechanical properties of a silk fibre as well as on its water uptake. Absorbed water leads to significant shrinkage in an unrestrained dragline fibre and reversibly converts the material into a rubber. This process is known as supercontraction and may be a functional adaptation for the silk's role in the spider's web. Supercontraction is thought to be controlled by specific motifs in the silk proteins and to be induced by the entropy-driven recoiling of molecular chains. In analogy, in man-made fibres thermal shrinkage induces changes in mechanical properties attributable to the entropy-driven disorientation of `unfrozen' molecular chains (as in polyethylene terephthalate) or the `broken' intermolecular hydrogen bonds (as in nylons). Here we show for Nephila major-ampullate silk how in a biological fibre the spinning conditions affect the interplay between shrinkage and mechanical characteristics. This interaction reveals design principles linking the exceptional properties of silk to its molecular orientation.

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

    DOE PAGES

    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

  2. Low-Tech, Pilot Scale Purification of a Recombinant Spider Silk Protein Analog from Tobacco Leaves.

    PubMed

    Heppner, René; Weichert, Nicola; Schierhorn, Angelika; Conrad, Udo; Pietzsch, Markus

    2016-10-09

    Spider dragline is used by many members of the Araneae family not only as a proteinogenic safety thread but also for web construction. Spider dragline has been shown to possess high tensile strength in combination with elastic behavior. This high tensile strength can be attributed to the presence of antiparallel β-sheets within the thread; these antiparallel β-sheets are why the protein is classified as a silk. Due to the properties of spider silk and its technical and medical uses, including its use as a suture material and as a scaffold for tissue regeneration, spider dragline is a focus of the biotechnology industry. The production of sufficient amounts of spider silk is challenging, as it is difficult to produce large quantities of fibers because of the cannibalistic behavior of spiders and their large spatial requirements. In recent years, the heterologous expression of genes coding for spider silk analogs in various hosts, including plants such as Nicotiana tabacum, has been established. We developed a simple and scalable method for the purification of a recombinant spider silk protein elastin-like peptide fusion protein (Q-/K-MaSp1-100× ELP) after heterologous production in tobacco leaves involving heat and acetone precipitation. Further purification was performed using centrifugal Inverse Transition Cycling (cITC). Up to 400 mg of highly pure spider silk protein derivatives can be isolated from six kilograms of tobacco leaves, which is the highest amount of silk protein derivatives purified from plants thus far.

  3. Unique molecular architecture of egg case silk protein in a spider, Nephila clavata.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Aichun; Zhao, Tianfu; Sima, Yanghu; Zhang, Yuansong; Nakagaki, Koichi; Miao, Yungen; Shiomi, Kunihiro; Kajiura, Zenta; Nagata, Yoko; Nakagaki, Masao

    2005-11-01

    We describe a unique silk protein secreted from the cylindrical silk glands of the spider Nephila clavata. This silk is primarily composed of three proteins, whose transcripts of approximately 16.0, 14.5 and 13.0 kb are homologous to one another in two termini and repetitive units, as determined on Northern blotting. Its overall organization shows that it is similar to other characterized silk proteins, including in the mainly central repetitive region as well as the non-repetitive N-terminal (166 residues) and C-terminal (176 residues) parts. However, up to 90% of the protein consists of highly ordered repetitive structures that are not found in other silks. The repetitive region mainly consists of several types of complexes and remarkably conserved polypeptide repeats. The assembled repeat units (A1B1) contain a high proportion of Ala (30.41%), Ser (25.15%), and residues with hydrophobic side chains (22.22% for Gly, Leu, Ile, Val and Phe combined). The presence of Ser-rich and GVGAGASA motifs suggests the formation of a beta-sheet. The repetitive region is characterized by alternating arrays of hydrophobic and hydrophilic blocks. The results suggested that this egg case silk is an exceptional protein when compared with previously investigated spider silks.

  4. Low-Tech, Pilot Scale Purification of a Recombinant Spider Silk Protein Analog from Tobacco Leaves

    PubMed Central

    Heppner, René; Weichert, Nicola; Schierhorn, Angelika; Conrad, Udo; Pietzsch, Markus

    2016-01-01

    Spider dragline is used by many members of the Araneae family not only as a proteinogenic safety thread but also for web construction. Spider dragline has been shown to possess high tensile strength in combination with elastic behavior. This high tensile strength can be attributed to the presence of antiparallel β-sheets within the thread; these antiparallel β-sheets are why the protein is classified as a silk. Due to the properties of spider silk and its technical and medical uses, including its use as a suture material and as a scaffold for tissue regeneration, spider dragline is a focus of the biotechnology industry. The production of sufficient amounts of spider silk is challenging, as it is difficult to produce large quantities of fibers because of the cannibalistic behavior of spiders and their large spatial requirements. In recent years, the heterologous expression of genes coding for spider silk analogs in various hosts, including plants such as Nicotiana tabacum, has been established. We developed a simple and scalable method for the purification of a recombinant spider silk protein elastin-like peptide fusion protein (Q-/K-MaSp1-100× ELP) after heterologous production in tobacco leaves involving heat and acetone precipitation. Further purification was performed using centrifugal Inverse Transition Cycling (cITC). Up to 400 mg of highly pure spider silk protein derivatives can be isolated from six kilograms of tobacco leaves, which is the highest amount of silk protein derivatives purified from plants thus far. PMID:27735843

  5. Microbial production of amino acid-modified spider dragline silk protein with intensively improved mechanical properties.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Haibo; Zhou, Fengli; Jiang, Xinglin; Cao, Mingle; Wang, Shilu; Zou, Huibin; Cao, Yujin; Xian, Mo; Liu, Huizhou

    2016-08-17

    Spider dragline silk is a remarkably strong fiber with impressive mechanical properties, which were thought to result from the specific structures of the underlying proteins and their molecular size. In this study, silk protein 11R26 from the dragline silk protein of Nephila clavipes was used to analyze the potential effects of the special amino acids on the function of 11R26. Three protein derivatives, ZF4, ZF5, and ZF6, were obtained by site-directed mutagenesis, based on the sequence of 11R26, and among these derivatives, serine was replaced with cysteine, isoleucine, and arginine, respectively. After these were expressed and purified, the mechanical performance of the fibers derived from the four proteins was tested. Both hardness and average elastic modulus of ZF4 fiber increased 2.2 times compared with those of 11R26. The number of disulfide bonds in ZF4 protein was 4.67 times that of 11R26, which implied that disulfide bonds outside the poly-Ala region affect the mechanical properties of spider silk more efficiently. The results indicated that the mechanical performances of spider silk proteins with small molecular size can be enhanced by modification of the amino acids residues. Our research not only has shown the feasibility of large-scale production of spider silk proteins but also provides valuable information for protein rational design.

  6. The speed of sound in silk: linking material performance to biological function.

    PubMed

    Mortimer, Beth; Gordon, Shira D; Holland, Chris; Siviour, Clive R; Vollrath, Fritz; Windmill, James F C

    2014-08-13

    Sonic properties of spider silks are measured independent of the web using laser vibrometry and ballistic impact providing insights into Nature's design of functionalized high-performance materials. Through comparison to cocoon silk and other industrial fibers, we find that major ampullate silk has the largest wavespeed range of any known material.

  7. Conferring biological activity to native spider silk: A biofunctionalized protein-based microfiber.

    PubMed

    Wu, Hsuan-Chen; Quan, David N; Tsao, Chen-Yu; Liu, Yi; Terrell, Jessica L; Luo, Xiaolong; Yang, Jen-Chang; Payne, Gregory F; Bentley, William E

    2017-01-01

    Spider silk is an extraordinary material with physical properties comparable to the best scaffolding/structural materials, and as a fiber it can be manipulated with ease into a variety of configurations. Our work here demonstrates that natural spider silk fibers can also be used to organize biological components on and in devices through rapid and simple means. Micron scale spider silk fibers (5-10 μm in diameter) were surface modified with a variety of biological entities engineered with pentaglutamine tags via microbial transglutaminase (mTG). Enzymes, enzyme pathways, antibodies, and fluorescent proteins were all assembled onto spider silk fibers using this biomolecular engineering/biofabrication process. Additionally, arrangement of biofunctionalized fiber should in of itself generate a secondary level of biomolecular organization. Toward this end, as proofs of principle, spatially defined arrangement of biofunctionalized spider silk fiber was shown to generate effects specific to silk position in two cases. In one instance, arrangement perpendicular to a flow produced selective head and neck carcinoma cell capture on silk with antibodies complexed to conjugated protein G. In a second scenario, asymmetric bacterial chemotaxis arose from asymmetric conjugation of enzymes to arranged silk. Overall, the biofabrication processes used here were rapid, required no complex chemistries, were biologically benign, and also the resulting engineered silk microfibers were flexible, readily manipulated and functionally active. Deployed here in microfluidic environments, biofunctional spider silk fiber provides a means to convey complex biological functions over a range of scales, further extending its potential as a biomaterial in biotechnological settings. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2017;114: 83-95. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  8. Review the role of terminal domains during storage and assembly of spider silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Eisoldt, Lukas; Thamm, Christopher; Scheibel, Thomas

    2012-06-01

    Fibrous proteins in nature fulfill a wide variety of functions in different structures ranging from cellular scaffolds to very resilient structures like tendons and even extra-corporal fibers such as silks in spider webs or silkworm cocoons. Despite their different origins and sequence varieties many of these fibrous proteins share a common building principle: they consist of a large repetitive core domain flanked by relatively small non-repetitive terminal domains. Amongst protein fibers, spider dragline silk shows prominent mechanical properties that exceed those of man-made fibers like Kevlar. Spider silk fibers assemble in a spinning process allowing the transformation from an aqueous solution into a solid fiber within milliseconds. Here, we highlight the role of the non-repetitive terminal domains of spider dragline silk proteins during storage in the gland and initiation of the fiber assembly process.

  9. Mapping domain structures in silks from insects and spiders related to protein assembly.

    PubMed

    Bini, Elisabetta; Knight, David P; Kaplan, David L

    2004-01-02

    The exceptional solubility in vivo (20-30%, w/v) of the silk proteins of insects and spiders is dictated by both the need to produce solid fibres with a high packing fraction and the high mesogen concentration required for lyotropic liquid crystalline spinning. A further design requirement for silk proteins is a strong predominance of hydrophobic amino acid residues to provide for the hydrophobic interactions, water exclusion, and beta-crystallite formation required to produce strong insoluble threads. Thus, the domain structure of silk proteins needs to enable nanoscale phase separation to achieve high solubility of hydrophobic proteins in aqueous solutions. Additionally, silk proteins need to avoid premature precipitation as beta-sheets during storage and processing. Here we use mapping of domain types, sizes and distributions in silks to identify consistent design features that have evolved to meet these requirements. We show that silk proteins consist of conspicuously hydrophilic terminal domains flanking a very long central portion constructed from hydrophobic blocks separated by hydrophilic ones, discussing the domain structure in detail. The general rules of construction for silk proteins based on our observations should give a useful guide to the way in which Nature has solved the problem of processing hydrophobic proteins in water and how this can be copied industrially. Following these rules may also help in obtaining adequate expression, soluble products and controllable conformational switches in the production of genetically engineered or chemically synthesized silk analogues. Thus these insights have implications for structural biology and relevance to fundamental and applied questions in material science and engineering.

  10. NMR characterization of native liquid spider dragline silk from Nephila edulis.

    PubMed

    Hronska, M; van Beek, J D; Williamson, P T F; Vollrath, Fritz; Meier, Beat H

    2004-01-01

    Solid spider dragline silk is well-known for its mechanical properties. Nonetheless a detailed picture of the spinning process is lacking. Here we report NMR studies on the liquid silk within the wide sac of the major ampullate (m.a.) gland from the spider Nephila edulis. The resolution in the NMR spectra is shown to be significantly improved by the application of magic-angle spinning (MAS). From the narrow width of the resonance lines and the chemical shifts observed, it is concluded that the silk protein within the wide sac of the m.a. gland is dynamically disordered throughout the molecule in the sense that each amino acid of a given type senses an identical environment, on average. The NMR data obtained are consistent with an isotropic liquid phase.

  11. Simulation of flow in the silk gland.

    PubMed

    Breslauer, David N; Lee, Luke P; Muller, Susan J

    2009-01-12

    Spiders and silkworms employ the complex flow of highly concentrated silk solution as part of silk fiber spinning. To understand the role of fluidic forces in this process, the flow of silk solution in the spider major ampullate and silkworm silk glands was investigated using numerical simulation. Our simulations demonstrate significant differences between flow in the spider and silkworm silk glands. In particular, shear flow effects are shown to be much greater in the spider than the silkworm, the silkworm gland exhibits a much different flow extension profile than the spider gland, and the residence time within the spider gland is eight times greater than in the silkworm gland. Lastly, simulations on the effect of spinning speed on the flow of silk solution suggest that a critical extension rate is the initiating factor for fiber formation from silk solution. These results provide new insight into silk spinning processes and will guide the future development of novel fiber spinning technologies.

  12. Processing of recombinant spider silk proteins into tailor-made materials for biomaterials applications.

    PubMed

    Schacht, Kristin; Scheibel, Thomas

    2014-10-01

    Spider silk has extraordinary mechanical properties, is biocompatible and biodegradable, and therefore an ideal material for biomedical applications. However, a drawback for any application is the inhomogeneity of spider silk, as seen for other natural materials, as well as the low availability due to the cannibalism of most spiders. Recently, developed recombinant spider silk proteins ensure constant material properties, as well as scalable production, and further the processing into morphologies other than fibres. Biotechnology enables genetic modification, broadening the range of applications, such as implant coatings, scaffolds for tissue engineering, wound dressing devices as well as drug delivery systems.

  13. Secretory mechanism of fibroin, a silk protein, in the posterior silk gland cells of Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Sasaki, S; Nakagaki, I

    1980-01-01

    There are two microtubule-microfilament systems in the posterior silk gland cells of Bombyx mori. One is a radial microtubule system; the other is a circular microtubule-microfilament system. These two systems are presumably concerned with the intracellular transport of secretory granules of fibroin and the secretion of fibroin into the lumen, respectively. Conventional and scanning electron microscopic observations of the two microtubule-microfilament systems in the posterior silk gland cells are reported. Scanning electron micrographs showed that a number of parallel linear cytoplasmic processes ran circularly on the luminal surface of the posterior silk gland cells. These processes were assumed to correspond to the circular microtubule-microfilament systems. The effects of cytochalasin (B or D), a secretion stimulating agent of fibroin, on the intracellular recording of membrane potential from the posterior silk gland cells are also reported. Exposure to cytochalasin resulted in depolarization of the membrane potential of the gland cells. Possible functional roles of the two microtubule-microfilament systems in the secretory mechanism of fibroin are discussed with reference to the effects of antimitotic reagents and cytochalasin on these two systems.

  14. Surface properties and conformation of Nephila clavipes spider recombinant silk proteins at the air-water interface.

    PubMed

    Renault, Anne; Rioux-Dubé, Jean-François; Lefèvre, Thierry; Pezennec, Stéphane; Beaufils, Sylvie; Vié, Véronique; Tremblay, Mélanie; Pézolet, Michel

    2009-07-21

    The dragline fiber of spiders is composed of two proteins, the major ampullate spidroins I and II (MaSpI and MaSpII). To better understand the assembly mechanism and the properties of these proteins, the adsorption behavior of the recombinant proteins of the spider Nephila clavipes produced by Nexia Biotechnologies Inc. has been studied at the air-water interface using ellipsometry, surface pressure, rheological, and infrared measurements. The results show that the adsorption is more rapid and more molecules are present at the interface for MaSpII than for MaSpI. MaSpII has thus a higher affinity for the interface than MaSpI, which is consistent with its higher aggregation propensity in water. The films formed at the interface consist of networks containing a high content of intermolecular beta-sheets as revealed by the in situ polarization modulation infrared absorption reflection spectra. The infrared results further demonstrate that, for MaSpI, the beta-sheets are formed as soon as the proteins adsorb to the interface while for MaSpII the beta-sheet formation occurs more slowly. The amount of beta-sheets is lower for MaSpII than for MaSpI, most likely due to the presence of proline residues in its sequence. Both proteins form elastic films, but they are heterogeneous for MaSpI and homogeneous for MaSpII most probably as a result of a more ordered and slower aggregation process for MaSpII. This difference in their mechanism of assembly and interfacial behaviors does not seem to arise from their overall hydrophobicity or from a specific pattern of hydrophobicity, but rather from the longer polyalanine motifs, lower glycine content, and higher proline content of MaSpII. The propensity of both spidroins to form beta-sheets, especially the polyalanine blocks, suggests the participation of both proteins in the silk's beta-sheet crystallites.

  15. Recombinant Minimalist Spider Wrapping Silk Proteins Capable of Native-Like Fiber Formation

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Lingling; Rainey, Jan K.; Meng, Qing; Liu, Xiang-Qin

    2012-01-01

    Spider silks are desirable biomaterials characterized by high tensile strength, elasticity, and biocompatibility. Spiders produce different types of silks for different uses, although dragline silks have been the predominant focus of previous studies. Spider wrapping silk, made of the aciniform protein (AcSp1), has high toughness because of its combination of high elasticity and tensile strength. AcSp1 in Argiope trifasciata contains a 200-aa sequence motif that is repeated at least 14 times. Here, we produced in E. coli recombinant proteins consisting of only one to four of the 200-aa AcSp1 repeats, designated W1 to W4. We observed that purified W2, W3 and W4 proteins could be induced to form silk-like fibers by shear forces in a physiological buffer. The fibers formed by W4 were ∼3.4 µm in diameter and up to 10 cm long. They showed an average tensile strength of 115 MPa, elasticity of 37%, and toughness of 34 J cm−3. The smaller W2 protein formed fewer fibers and required a higher protein concentration to form fibers, whereas the smallest W1 protein did not form silk-like fibers, indicating that a minimum of two of the 200-aa repeats was required for fiber formation. Microscopic examinations revealed structural features indicating an assembly of the proteins into spherical structures, fibrils, and silk-like fibers. CD and Raman spectral analysis of protein secondary structures suggested a transition from predominantly α-helical in solution to increasingly β-sheet in fibers. PMID:23209681

  16. Comparative proteomics reveal diverse functions and dynamic changes of Bombyx mori silk proteins spun from different development stages.

    PubMed

    Dong, Zhaoming; Zhao, Ping; Wang, Chen; Zhang, Yan; Chen, Jianping; Wang, Xin; Lin, Ying; Xia, Qingyou

    2013-11-01

    Silkworms (Bombyx mori) produce massive amounts of silk proteins to make cocoons during the final stages of larval development. Although the major components, fibroin and sericin, have been the focus for a long time, few researchers have realized the complexity of the silk proteome. We collected seven kinds of silk fibers spun by silkworm larvae at different developmental stages: the silks spun by new hatched larvae, second instar day 0 larvae, third instar day 0 larvae, fourth instar day 0 larvae, and fourth instar molting larvae, the scaffold silk used to attach the cocoon to the substrate and the cocoon silk. Analysis by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry identified 500 proteins from the seven silks. In addition to the expected fibroins, sericins, and some known protease inhibitors, we also identified further protease inhibitors, enzymes, proteins of unknown function, and other proteins. Unsurprisingly, our quantitative results showed fibroins and sericins were the most abundant proteins in all seven silks. Except for fibroins and sericins, protease inhibitors, enzymes, and proteins of unknown function were more abundant than other proteins. We found significant change in silk protein compositions through development, being consistent with their different biological functions and complicated formation.

  17. 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

    2016-09-02

    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.

  18. Native-sized spider silk proteins synthesized in planta via intein-based multimerization.

    PubMed

    Hauptmann, Valeska; Weichert, Nicola; Menzel, Matthias; Knoch, Dominic; Paege, Norman; Scheller, Jürgen; Spohn, Uwe; Conrad, Udo; Gils, Mario

    2013-04-01

    The synthesis of native-sized proteins is a pre-requisite for exploiting the potential of spider silk as a bio-based material. The unique properties of spider silk, such as extraordinary tensile strength and elasticity, result from the highly repetitive nature of spider silk protein motifs. The present report describes the combination of spider silk flagelliform protein (FLAG) production in the endoplasmic reticulum of tobacco plant leaf cells with an intein-based posttranslational protein fusion technology. The repeated ligation of FLAG monomers resulted in the formation of large multimers. This method avoids the need for highly repetitive transgenes, which may result in a higher genetic and transcriptional stability. Here we show, for the first time, the production of synthetic, high molecular weight spider silk proteins larger than 250 kDa based on the assembly of protein monomers via intein-mediated trans-splicing in planta. The resulting multimeric structures form microfibers, thereby demonstrating their great potential as a biomaterial.

  19. Silk Fibroin Aqueous-Based Adhesives Inspired by Mussel Adhesive Proteins.

    PubMed

    Burke, Kelly A; Roberts, Dane C; Kaplan, David L

    2016-01-11

    Silk fibroin from the domesticated silkworm Bombyx mori is a naturally occurring biopolymer with charged hydrophilic terminal regions that end-cap a hydrophobic core consisting of repeating sequences of glycine, alanine, and serine residues. Taking inspiration from mussels that produce proteins rich in L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) to adhere to a variety of organic and inorganic surfaces, the silk fibroin was functionalized with catechol groups. Silk fibroin was selected for its high molecular weight, tunable mechanical and degradation properties, aqueous processability, and wide availability. The synthesis of catechol-functionalized silk fibroin polymers containing varying amounts of hydrophilic polyethylene glycol (PEG, 5000 g/mol) side chains was carried out to balance silk hydrophobicity with PEG hydrophilicity. The efficiency of the catechol functionalization reaction did not vary with PEG conjugation over the range studied, although tuning the amount of PEG conjugated was essential for aqueous solubility. Adhesive bonding and cell compatibility of the resulting materials were investigated, where it was found that incorporating as little as 6 wt % PEG prior to catechol functionalization resulted in complete aqueous solubility of the catechol conjugates and increased adhesive strength compared with silk lacking catechol functionalization. Furthermore, PEG-silk fibroin conjugates maintained their ability to form β-sheet secondary structures, which can be exploited to reduce swelling. Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) proliferated on the silks, regardless of PEG and catechol conjugation. These materials represent a protein-based approach to catechol-based adhesives, which we envision may find applicability as biodegradable adhesives and sealants.

  20. Designing Spider Silk Genes for Materials Applications

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-05-14

    urn (close to the natural Nephila ) and had tensile strengths of about 25% of the natural fibers. We have subsequently generated fibers with diameters...and Randolph V. Lewis, An Investigation of the Divergence of Major Ampullate Silk Fibers from Nephila clavipes and Argiope aurantia, Biomacromolecules

  1. Transglutamination allows production and characterization of native-sized ELPylated spider silk proteins from transgenic plants.

    PubMed

    Weichert, Nicola; Hauptmann, Valeska; Menzel, Matthias; Schallau, Kai; Gunkel, Philip; Hertel, Thomas C; Pietzsch, Markus; Spohn, Uwe; Conrad, Udo

    2014-02-01

    In the last two decades it was shown that plants have a great potential for production of specific heterologous proteins. But high cost and inefficient downstream processing are a main technical bottleneck for the broader use of plant-based production technology especially for protein-based products, for technical use as fibres or biodegradable plastics and also for medical applications. High-performance fibres from recombinant spider silks are, therefore, a prominent example. Spiders developed rather different silk materials that are based on proteins. These spider silks show excellent properties in terms of elasticity and toughness. Natural spider silk proteins have a very high molecular weight, and it is precisely this property which is thought to give them their strength. Transgenic plants were generated to produce ELPylated recombinant spider silk derivatives. These fusion proteins were purified by Inverse Transition Cycling (ITC) and enzymatically multimerized with transglutaminase in vitro. Layers produced by casting monomers and multimers were characterized using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and AFM-based nanoindentation. The layered multimers formed by mixing lysine- and glutamine-tagged monomers were associated with the highest elastic penetration modulus.

  2. Prey type, vibrations and handling interactively influence spider silk expression.

    PubMed

    Blamires, S J; Chao, I-C; Tso, I-M

    2010-11-15

    The chemical and mechanical properties of spider major ampullate (MA) silks vary in response to different prey, mostly via differential expression of two genes - MaSp1 and MaSp2 - although the spinning process exerts additional influence over the mechanical properties of silk. The prey cues that initiate differential gene expression are unknown. Prey nutrients, vibratory stimuli and handling have been suggested to be influential. We performed experiments to decouple the vibratory stimuli and handling associated with high and low kinetic energy prey (crickets vs flies) from their prey nutrients to test the relative influence of each as inducers of silk protein expression in the orb web spider Nephila pilipes. We found that the MA silks from spiders feeding on live crickets had greater percentages of glutamine, serine, alanine and glycine than those from spiders feeding on live flies. Proline composition of the silks was unaffected by feeding treatment. Increases in alanine and glycine in the MA silks of the live-cricket-feeding spiders indicate a probable increase in MaSp1 gene expression. The amino acid compositions of N. pilipes feeding on crickets with fly stimuli and N. pilipes feeding on flies with cricket stimuli did not differ from each other or from pre-treatment responses, so these feeding treatments did not induce differential MaSp expression. Our results indicate that cricket vibratory stimuli and handling interact with nutrients to induce N. pilipes to adjust their gene expression to produce webs with mechanical properties appropriate for the retention of this prey. This shows that spiders can genetically alter their silk chemical compositions and, presumably, mechanical properties upon exposure to different prey types. The lack of any change in proline composition with feeding treatment in N. pilipes suggests that the MaSp model determined for Nephila clavipes is not universally applicable to all Nephila.

  3. Bio-inspired Silicification of Silica-binding Peptide-Silk Protein Chimeras: Comparison of Chemically and Genetically Produced Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Canabady-Rochelle, Laetitia L.S.; Belton, David J.; Deschaume, Olivier; Currie, Heather A.; Kaplan, David L.; Perry, Carole C.

    2012-01-01

    Novel protein chimeras constituted of ‘silk’ and a silica-binding peptide (KSLSRHDHIHHH) were synthesized by genetic or chemical approaches and their influence on silica-silk based chimera composite formation evaluated. Genetic chimeras were constructed from 6 or 15 repeats of the 32 amino acid consensus sequence of Nephila clavipes spider silk ([SGRGGLGGQG AGAAAAAGGA GQGGYGGLGSQG]n) to which one silica binding peptide was fused at the N terminus. For the chemical chimera, 25 equivalents of the silica binding peptide were chemically coupled to natural Bombyx mori silk after modification of tyrosine groups by diazonium coupling and EDC/NHS activation of all acid groups. After silica formation under mild, biomaterial compatible conditions the effect of peptide addition on the properties of the silk and chimeric silk-silica composite materials was explored. The composite biomaterial properties could be related to the extent of silica condensation and to the higher number of silica binding sites in the chemical chimera as compared to the genetically derived variants. In all cases, the structure of the protein / chimera in solution dictated the type of composite structure that formed with the silica deposition process having little effect on the secondary structural composition of the silk based materials. Similarly to our study of genetic silk based chimeras containing the R5 peptide (SSKKSGSYSGSKGSKRRIL), the role of the chimeras (genetic and chemical) used in the present study resided more in aggregation and scaffolding than in the catalysis of condensation. The variables of peptide identity, silk construct (number of consensus repeats or silk source) and approach to synthesis (genetic or chemical) can be used to ‘tune’ the properties of the composite materials formed and is a general approach which can be used to prepare a range of materials for biomedical and sensor based applications. PMID:22229696

  4. The Widespread Prevalence and Functional Significance of Silk-Like Structural Proteins in Metazoan Biological Materials

    PubMed Central

    McDougall, Carmel; Woodcroft, Ben J.

    2016-01-01

    In nature, numerous mechanisms have evolved by which organisms fabricate biological structures with an impressive array of physical characteristics. Some examples of metazoan biological materials include the highly elastic byssal threads by which bivalves attach themselves to rocks, biomineralized structures that form the skeletons of various animals, and spider silks that are renowned for their exceptional strength and elasticity. The remarkable properties of silks, which are perhaps the best studied biological materials, are the result of the highly repetitive, modular, and biased amino acid composition of the proteins that compose them. Interestingly, similar levels of modularity/repetitiveness and similar bias in amino acid compositions have been reported in proteins that are components of structural materials in other organisms, however the exact nature and extent of this similarity, and its functional and evolutionary relevance, is unknown. Here, we investigate this similarity and use sequence features common to silks and other known structural proteins to develop a bioinformatics-based method to identify similar proteins from large-scale transcriptome and whole-genome datasets. We show that a large number of proteins identified using this method have roles in biological material formation throughout the animal kingdom. Despite the similarity in sequence characteristics, most of the silk-like structural proteins (SLSPs) identified in this study appear to have evolved independently and are restricted to a particular animal lineage. Although the exact function of many of these SLSPs is unknown, the apparent independent evolution of proteins with similar sequence characteristics in divergent lineages suggests that these features are important for the assembly of biological materials. The identification of these characteristics enable the generation of testable hypotheses regarding the mechanisms by which these proteins assemble and direct the construction of

  5. A protocol for the production of recombinant spider silk-like proteins for artificial fiber spinning

    PubMed Central

    Teulé, Florence; Cooper, Alyssa R; Furin, William A; Bittencourt, Daniela; Rech, Elibio L; Brooks, Amanda; Lewis, Randolph V

    2009-01-01

    The extreme strength and elasticity of spider silks originate from the modular nature of their repetitive proteins. To exploit such materials and mimic spider silks, comprehensive strategies to produce and spin recombinant fibrous proteins are necessary. This protocol describes silk gene design and cloning, protein expression in bacteria, recombinant protein purification and fiber formation. With an improved gene construction and cloning scheme, this technique is adaptable for the production of any repetitive fibrous proteins, and ensures the exact reproduction of native repeat sequences, analogs or chimeric versions. The proteins are solubilized in 1,1,1,3,3,3-hexafluoro-2-propanol (HFIP) at 25–30% (wt/vol) for extrusion into fibers. This protocol, routinely used to spin single micrometer-size fibers from several recombinant silk-like proteins from different spider species, is a powerful tool to generate protein libraries with corresponding fibers for structure–function relationship investigations in protein-based biomaterials. This protocol may be completed in 40 d. PMID:19229199

  6. Rheology of reconstituted silk fibroin protein gels: the epitome of extreme mechanics.

    PubMed

    Tabatabai, A Pasha; Kaplan, David L; Blair, Daniel L

    2015-01-28

    In nature, silk fibroin proteins assemble into hierarchical structures with dramatic mechanical properties. With the hope of creating new classes of on demand silk-based biomaterials, Bombyx mori silk is reconstituted back into stable aqueous solutions that can be reassembled into functionalized materials; one strategy for reassembly is electrogelation. Electrogels (e-gels) are particularly versatile and can be produced using electrolysis with small DC electric fields. We characterize the linear and nonlinear rheological behavior of e-gels to provide fundamental insights into these distinct protein-based materials. We observe that e-gels form robust biopolymer networks that exhibit distinctive strain hardening and are recoverable from strains as large as γ=27, i.e. 2700%. We propose a simple microscopic model that is consistent with local restructuring of single proteins within the e-gel network.

  7. Giant wood spider Nephila pilipes alters silk protein in response to prey variation.

    PubMed

    Tso, I-Min; Wu, Hsuan-Chen; Hwang, In-Ru

    2005-03-01

    Recent studies have demonstrated that orb-weaving spiders may alter web structures, foraging localities or silk output in response to prey variations. In this study we conducted field surveys and food manipulations to examine whether orb-weaving spiders may also adjust the protein of silk to prey variations. A comparison of dragline silks collected from nine giant wood spider Nephila pilipes populations in Taiwan showed a spatial variation. The percentage of all amino acids (except alanine and glycine) exhibited significant differences among populations. A survey of prey composition also revealed a significant spatial variation among N. pilipes populations. To determine whether prey variation was responsible for silk protein variation, we fed N. pilipes with different types of prey (dipteran vs orthopteran) then compared the percentage of five major dragline amino acids and secondary structures. The results showed that dragline of N. pilipes fed with orthopteran prey contained significantly higher proline and glutamine but lower alanine. Congruent with this result were those from FTIR spectroscopy, which showed that dragline of N. pilipes fed with crickets exhibited significantly higher percentage of proline- and glutamine-containing beta turns, and lower percentage of alanine-containing beta sheet structures. Since the results of feeding manipulations showed that diet significantly affected the compositions of dragline silks, the observed spatial variation seemed to reflect the different types of prey these spiders had consumed. Results of this study thus indicated that orb-weaving spiders can alter dragline protein in response to prey variations.

  8. Charge-Tunable Silk-Tropoelastin Protein Alloys That Control Neuron Cell Responses

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Xiao; Tang-Schomer, Min D.; Huang, Wenwen; Xia, Xiao-Xia; Weiss, Anthony S.

    2014-01-01

    Tunable protein composites are important for constructing extracellular matrix mimics of human tissues with control of biochemical, structural, and mechanical properties. Molecular interaction mechanisms between silk fibroin protein and recombinant human tropoelastin, based on charge, are utilized to generate a new group of multifunctional protein alloys (mixtures of silk and tropoelastin) with different net charges. These new biomaterials are then utilized as a biomaterial platform to control neuron cell response. With a +38 net charge in water, tropoelastin molecules provide extraordinary elasticity and selective interactions with cell surface integrins. In contrast, negatively charged silk fibroin protein (net charge −36) provides remarkable toughness and stiffness with morphologic stability in material formats via autoclaving-induced beta-sheet crystal physical crosslinks. The combination of these properties in alloy format extends the versatility of both structural proteins, providing a new biomaterial platform. The alloys with weak positive charges (silk/tropoelastin mass ratio 75/25, net charge around +16) significantly improved the formation of neuronal networks and maintained cell viability of rat cortical neurons after 10 days in vitro. The data point to these protein alloys as an alternative to commonly used poly-L-lysine (PLL) coatings or other charged synthetic polymers, particularly with regard to the versatility of material formats (e.g., gels, sponges, films, fibers). The results also provide a practical example of physically designed protein materials with control of net charge to direct biological outcomes, in this case for neuronal tissue engineering. PMID:25093018

  9. [Cloning and prokaryotic expression of major ampullate spidroin gene of spider].

    PubMed

    Pan, Hong-Chun; Song, Da-Xiang; Zhou, Kai-Ya; Zhu, Guo-Ping

    2007-05-01

    RT-PCR was conducted with one degenerate primer designed according to repetitive regions' amino acid sequence of major ampullate spidroin (MaSp) in spiders and adaptor primer in the SMART cDNA Library Construction Kit. By cloning and sequencing of amplified products, one cDNA clone (GenBank Accession No. AY365017) of Argiope amoena MaSp gene was obtained. The deduced amino acid sequence can be distinctly divided into two regions: (1) Repetitive region that consists of an alternating alanine-rich and glycine-rich domain in which many prolines are present; and (2) C-terminal non-repetitive region. The region coding for 272 amino acids of MaSp gene was subcloned into prokaryotic expression vector pET28b(+) and an about 26kD recombinant protein was expressed at high levels in Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) after induction of IPTG. After being purified with metal-affinity chromatography on Ni(2+) -IDA-Sepharose columns as well as gel filtration chromatography, the recombinant protein was confirmed to be predicted MaSp by means of amino acid composition analysis and N-terminal amino acid sequence analysis. The solubility behavior of recombinant MaSp with C-terminal non-repetitive region in the present study is similar to that of recombinant dragline silk proteins without C-terminal non-repetitive region expressed by bacteria and yeast in the other studies. The result shows that absence or presence of C-terminal non-repetitive region is not a crucial factor affecting the solubility of the recombinant MaSp.

  10. Tunable Self-Assembly of Genetically Engineered Silk-Elastin-Like Protein Polymers

    PubMed Central

    Xia, Xiao-Xia; Xu, Qiaobing; Hu, Xiao; Qin, Guokui; Kaplan, David L.

    2011-01-01

    Silk-elastin-like protein polymers (SELPs), consisting of the repeating units of silk and elastin blocks, combine a set of outstanding physical and biological properties of silk and elastin. Due to the unique properties, SELPs have been widely fabricated into various materials for the applications in drug delivery and tissue engineering. However, little is known about the fundamental self-assembly characteristics of these remarkable polymers. Here we propose a two-step self-assembly process of SELPs in aqueous solution for the first time and report the importance of the ratio of silk to elastin blocks in a SELP’s repeating unit on the assembly of the SELP. Through precise tuning of the ratio of silk to elastin, various structures including nanoparticles, hydrogels and nanofibers could be generated either reversibly or irreversibly. This assembly process might provide opportunities to generate innovative smart materials for biosensors, tissue engineering and drug delivery. Furthermore, the newly developed SELPs in this study may be potentially useful as biomaterials for controlled drug delivery and biomedical engineering. PMID:21955178

  11. Tunable self-assembly of genetically engineered silk--elastin-like protein polymers.

    PubMed

    Xia, Xiao-Xia; Xu, Qiaobing; Hu, Xiao; Qin, Guokui; Kaplan, David L

    2011-11-14

    Silk--elastin-like protein polymers (SELPs), consisting of the repeating units of silk and elastin blocks, combine a set of outstanding physical and biological properties of silk and elastin. Because of the unique properties, SELPs have been widely fabricated into various materials for the applications in drug delivery and tissue engineering. However, little is known about the fundamental self-assembly characteristics of these remarkable polymers. Here we propose a two-step self-assembly process of SELPs in aqueous solution for the first time and report the importance of the ratio of silk-to-elastin blocks in a SELP's repeating unit on the assembly of the SELP. Through precise tuning of the ratio of silk to elastin, various structures including nanoparticles, hydrogels, and nanofibers could be generated either reversibly or irreversibly. This assembly process might provide opportunities to generate innovative smart materials for biosensors, tissue engineering, and drug delivery. Furthermore, the newly developed SELPs in this study may be potentially useful as biomaterials for controlled drug delivery and biomedical engineering.

  12. Native-sized recombinant spider silk protein produced in metabolically engineered Escherichia coli results in a strong fiber

    PubMed Central

    Xia, Xiao-Xia; Qian, Zhi-Gang; Ki, Chang Seok; Park, Young Hwan; Kaplan, David L.; Lee, Sang Yup

    2010-01-01

    Spider dragline silk is a remarkably strong fiber that makes it attractive for numerous applications. Much has thus been done to make similar fibers by biomimic spinning of recombinant dragline silk proteins. However, success is limited in part due to the inability to successfully express native-sized recombinant silk proteins (250–320 kDa). Here we show that a 284.9 kDa recombinant protein of the spider Nephila clavipes is produced and spun into a fiber displaying mechanical properties comparable to those of the native silk. The native-sized protein, predominantly rich in glycine (44.9%), was favorably expressed in metabolically engineered Escherichia coli within which the glycyl-tRNA pool was elevated. We also found that the recombinant proteins of lower molecular weight versions yielded inferior fiber properties. The results provide insight into evolution of silk protein size related to mechanical performance, and also clarify why spinning lower molecular weight proteins does not recapitulate the properties of native fibers. Furthermore, the silk expression, purification, and spinning platform established here should be useful for sustainable production of natural quality dragline silk, potentially enabling broader applications. PMID:20660779

  13. Interactions between fibroin and sericin proteins from Antheraea pernyi and Bombyx mori silk fibers.

    PubMed

    Du, Shan; Zhang, Jin; Zhou, Wei T; Li, Quan X; Greene, George W; Zhu, Hai J; Li, Jing L; Wang, Xun G

    2016-09-15

    Silkworm silk fibers are core-shell composites of fibroin and sericin proteins. Studying the interactions between fibroin and sericin is essential for understanding the properties of these composites. It is observed that compared to the domestic silk cocoon Bombyx mori (B. mori), the adhesion between fibroin and sericin from the wild silk cocoon, Antheraea pernyi (A. pernyi), is significantly stronger with a higher degree of heterogeneity. The adsorption of A. pernyi sericin on its fibroin is almost twice the value for B. mori sericin on fibroin, both showing a monolayer Langmuir adsorption. (1)H NMR and FTIR studies demonstrate on a molecular level the stronger interactions and the more intensive complex formation between A. pernyi fibroin and sericin, facilitated by the hydrogen bonding between glycine and serine. The findings of this study may help the design of composites with superior interfacial adhesion between different components.

  14. Sequence basis of Barnacle Cement Nanostructure is Defined by Proteins with Silk Homology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    So, Christopher R.; Fears, Kenan P.; Leary, Dagmar H.; Scancella, Jenifer M.; Wang, Zheng; Liu, Jinny L.; Orihuela, Beatriz; Rittschof, Dan; Spillmann, Christopher M.; Wahl, Kathryn J.

    2016-11-01

    Barnacles adhere by producing a mixture of cement proteins (CPs) that organize into a permanently bonded layer displayed as nanoscale fibers. These cement proteins share no homology with any other marine adhesives, and a common sequence-basis that defines how nanostructures function as adhesives remains undiscovered. Here we demonstrate that a significant unidentified portion of acorn barnacle cement is comprised of low complexity proteins; they are organized into repetitive sequence blocks and found to maintain homology to silk motifs. Proteomic analysis of aggregate bands from PAGE gels reveal an abundance of Gly/Ala/Ser/Thr repeats exemplified by a prominent, previously unidentified, 43 kDa protein in the solubilized adhesive. Low complexity regions found throughout the cement proteome, as well as multiple lysyl oxidases and peroxidases, establish homology with silk-associated materials such as fibroin, silk gum sericin, and pyriform spidroins from spider silk. Distinct primary structures defined by homologous domains shed light on how barnacles use low complexity in nanofibers to enable adhesion, and serves as a starting point for unraveling the molecular architecture of a robust and unique class of adhesive nanostructures.

  15. Sequence basis of Barnacle Cement Nanostructure is Defined by Proteins with Silk Homology

    PubMed Central

    So, Christopher R.; Fears, Kenan P.; Leary, Dagmar H.; Scancella, Jenifer M.; Wang, Zheng; Liu, Jinny L.; Orihuela, Beatriz; Rittschof, Dan; Spillmann, Christopher M.; Wahl, Kathryn J.

    2016-01-01

    Barnacles adhere by producing a mixture of cement proteins (CPs) that organize into a permanently bonded layer displayed as nanoscale fibers. These cement proteins share no homology with any other marine adhesives, and a common sequence-basis that defines how nanostructures function as adhesives remains undiscovered. Here we demonstrate that a significant unidentified portion of acorn barnacle cement is comprised of low complexity proteins; they are organized into repetitive sequence blocks and found to maintain homology to silk motifs. Proteomic analysis of aggregate bands from PAGE gels reveal an abundance of Gly/Ala/Ser/Thr repeats exemplified by a prominent, previously unidentified, 43 kDa protein in the solubilized adhesive. Low complexity regions found throughout the cement proteome, as well as multiple lysyl oxidases and peroxidases, establish homology with silk-associated materials such as fibroin, silk gum sericin, and pyriform spidroins from spider silk. Distinct primary structures defined by homologous domains shed light on how barnacles use low complexity in nanofibers to enable adhesion, and serves as a starting point for unraveling the molecular architecture of a robust and unique class of adhesive nanostructures. PMID:27824121

  16. Sequence basis of Barnacle Cement Nanostructure is Defined by Proteins with Silk Homology.

    PubMed

    So, Christopher R; Fears, Kenan P; Leary, Dagmar H; Scancella, Jenifer M; Wang, Zheng; Liu, Jinny L; Orihuela, Beatriz; Rittschof, Dan; Spillmann, Christopher M; Wahl, Kathryn J

    2016-11-08

    Barnacles adhere by producing a mixture of cement proteins (CPs) that organize into a permanently bonded layer displayed as nanoscale fibers. These cement proteins share no homology with any other marine adhesives, and a common sequence-basis that defines how nanostructures function as adhesives remains undiscovered. Here we demonstrate that a significant unidentified portion of acorn barnacle cement is comprised of low complexity proteins; they are organized into repetitive sequence blocks and found to maintain homology to silk motifs. Proteomic analysis of aggregate bands from PAGE gels reveal an abundance of Gly/Ala/Ser/Thr repeats exemplified by a prominent, previously unidentified, 43 kDa protein in the solubilized adhesive. Low complexity regions found throughout the cement proteome, as well as multiple lysyl oxidases and peroxidases, establish homology with silk-associated materials such as fibroin, silk gum sericin, and pyriform spidroins from spider silk. Distinct primary structures defined by homologous domains shed light on how barnacles use low complexity in nanofibers to enable adhesion, and serves as a starting point for unraveling the molecular architecture of a robust and unique class of adhesive nanostructures.

  17. 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.

  18. Physical and biological regulation of neuron regenerative growth and network formation on recombinant dragline silks.

    PubMed

    An, Bo; Tang-Schomer, Min D; Huang, Wenwen; He, Jiuyang; Jones, Justin A; Lewis, Randolph V; Kaplan, David L

    2015-04-01

    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.

  19. Gold nanoparticle-embedded silk protein-ZnO nanorod hybrids for flexible bio-photonic devices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gogurla, Narendar; Kundu, Subhas C.; Ray, Samit K.

    2017-04-01

    Silk protein has been used as a biopolymer substrate for flexible photonic devices. Here, we demonstrate ZnO nanorod array hybrid photodetectors on Au nanoparticle-embedded silk protein for flexible optoelectronics. Hybrid samples exhibit optical absorption at the band edge of ZnO as well as plasmonic energy due to Au nanoparticles, making them attractive for selective UV and visible wavelength detection. The device prepared on Au-silk protein shows a much lower dark current and a higher photo to dark-current ratio of ∼105 as compared to the control sample without Au nanoparticles. The hybrid device also exhibits a higher specific detectivity due to higher responsivity arising from the photo-generated hole trapping by Au nanoparticles. Sharp pulses in the transient photocurrent have been observed in devices prepared on glass and Au-silk protein substrates due to the light induced pyroelectric effect of ZnO, enabling the demonstration of self-powered photodetectors at zero bias. Flexible hybrid detectors have been demonstrated on Au-silk/polyethylene terephthalate substrates, exhibiting characteristics similar to those fabricated on rigid glass substrates. A study of the performance of photodetectors with different bending angles indicates very good mechanical stability of silk protein based flexible devices. This novel concept of ZnO nanorod array photodetectors on a natural silk protein platform provides an opportunity to realize integrated flexible and self-powered bio-photonic devices for medical applications in near future.

  20. Gold nanoparticle-embedded silk protein-ZnO nanorod hybrids for flexible bio-photonic devices.

    PubMed

    Gogurla, Narendar; Kundu, Subhas C; Ray, Samit K

    2017-04-07

    Silk protein has been used as a biopolymer substrate for flexible photonic devices. Here, we demonstrate ZnO nanorod array hybrid photodetectors on Au nanoparticle-embedded silk protein for flexible optoelectronics. Hybrid samples exhibit optical absorption at the band edge of ZnO as well as plasmonic energy due to Au nanoparticles, making them attractive for selective UV and visible wavelength detection. The device prepared on Au-silk protein shows a much lower dark current and a higher photo to dark-current ratio of ∼10(5) as compared to the control sample without Au nanoparticles. The hybrid device also exhibits a higher specific detectivity due to higher responsivity arising from the photo-generated hole trapping by Au nanoparticles. Sharp pulses in the transient photocurrent have been observed in devices prepared on glass and Au-silk protein substrates due to the light induced pyroelectric effect of ZnO, enabling the demonstration of self-powered photodetectors at zero bias. Flexible hybrid detectors have been demonstrated on Au-silk/polyethylene terephthalate substrates, exhibiting characteristics similar to those fabricated on rigid glass substrates. A study of the performance of photodetectors with different bending angles indicates very good mechanical stability of silk protein based flexible devices. This novel concept of ZnO nanorod array photodetectors on a natural silk protein platform provides an opportunity to realize integrated flexible and self-powered bio-photonic devices for medical applications in near future.

  1. 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

  2. Sticky Situation: An Investigation of Robust Aqueous-Based Recombinant Spider Silk Protein Coatings and Adhesives.

    PubMed

    Harris, Thomas I; Gaztambide, Danielle A; Day, Breton A; Brock, Cameron L; Ruben, Ashley L; Jones, Justin A; Lewis, Randolph V

    2016-11-14

    The mechanical properties and biocompatibility of spider silks have made them one of the most sought after and studied natural biomaterials. A biomimetic process has been developed that uses water to solvate purified recombinant spider silk proteins (rSSps) prior to material formation. The absence of harsh organic solvents increases cost effectiveness, safety, and decreases the environmental impact of these materials. This development allows for the investigation of aqueous-based rSSps as coatings and adhesives and their potential applications. In these studies it was determined that fiber-based rSSps in nonfiber formations have the capability to coat and adhere numerous substrates, whether rough, smooth, hydrophobic, or hydrophilic. Further, these materials can be functionalized for a variety of processes. Drug-eluting coatings have been made with the capacity to release a variety of compounds in addition to their inherent ability to prevent blood clotting and biofouling. Additionally, spider silk protein adhesives are strong enough to outperform some conventional glues and still display favorable tissue implantation properties. The physical properties, corresponding capabilities, and potential applications of these nonfibrous materials were characterized in this study. Mechanical properties, ease of manufacturing, biodegradability, biocompatibility, and functionality are the hallmarks of these revolutionary spider silk protein materials.

  3. Investigate the Effect of Thawing Process on the Self-Assembly of Silk Protein for Tissue Applications

    PubMed Central

    Tran, Hien Anh; Huynh, Khon Chan; Vo, Toi Van

    2017-01-01

    Biological self-assembly is a process in which building blocks autonomously organize to form stable supermolecules of higher order and complexity through domination of weak, noncovalent interactions. For silk protein, the effect of high incubating temperature on the induction of secondary structure and self-assembly was well investigated. However, the effect of freezing and thawing on silk solution has not been studied. The present work aimed to investigate a new all-aqueous process to form 3D porous silk fibroin matrices using a freezing-assisted self-assembly method. This study proposes an experimental investigation and optimization of environmental parameters for the self-assembly process such as freezing temperature, thawing process, and concentration of silk solution. The optical images demonstrated the possibility and potential of −80ST48 treatment to initialize the self-assembly of silk fibroin as well as controllably fabricate a porous scaffold. Moreover, the micrograph images illustrate the assembly of silk protein chain in 7 days under the treatment of −80ST48 process. The surface morphology characterization proved that this method could control the pore size of porous scaffolds by control of the concentration of silk solution. The animal test showed the support of silk scaffold for cell adhesion and proliferation, as well as the cell migration process in the 3D implantable scaffold. PMID:28367442

  4. Inducing β-Sheets Formation in Synthetic Spider Silk Fibers by Aqueous Post-Spin Stretching

    PubMed Central

    Hinman, Michael B.; Holland, Gregory P.; Yarger, Jeffery L.; Lewis, Randolph V.

    2012-01-01

    As a promising biomaterial with numerous potential applications, various types of synthetic spider silk fibers have been produced and studied in an effort to produce manmade fibers with mechanical and physical properties comparable to those of native spider silk. In this study, two recombinant proteins based on Nephila clavipes Major ampullate Spidroin 1 (MaSp1) consensus repeat sequence were expressed and spun into fibers. Mechanical test results showed that fiber spun from the higher molecular weight protein had better overall mechanical properties (70 KD versus 46 KD), whereas postspin stretch treatment in water helped increase fiber tensile strength significantly. Carbon-13 solid-state NMR studies of those fibers further revealed that the postspin stretch in water promoted protein molecule rearrangement and the formation of β-sheets in the polyalanine region of the silk. The rearrangement correlated with improved fiber mechanical properties and indicated that postspin stretch is key to helping the spider silk proteins in the fiber form correct secondary structures, leading to better quality fibers. PMID:21574576

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Characterization and expression of a cDNA encoding a tubuliform silk protein of the golden web spider Nephila antipodiana.

    PubMed

    Huang, W; Lin, Z; Sin, Y M; Li, D; Gong, Z; Yang, D

    2006-07-01

    Spider silks are renowned for their excellent mechanical properties. Although several spider fibroin genes, mainly from dragline and capture silks, have been identified, there are still many members in the spider fibroin gene family remain uncharacterized. In this study, a novel silk cDNA clone from the golden web spider Nephila antipodiana was isolated. It is serine rich and contains two almost identical fragments with one varied gap region and one conserved spider fibroin-like C-terminal domain. Both in situ hybridization and immunoblot analyses have shown that it is specifically expressed in the tubuliform gland. Thus, it likely encodes the silk fibroin from the tubuliform gland, which supplies the main component of the inner egg case. Unlike other silk proteins, the protein encoded by the novel cDNA in water solution exhibits the characteristic of an alpha-helical protein, which implies the distinct property of the egg case silk, though the fiber of tubuliform silk is mainly composed of beta-sheet structure. Its sequence information facilitates elucidation of the evolutionary history of the araneoid fibroin genes.

  8. Carbonization of a stable β-sheet-rich silk protein into a pseudographitic pyroprotein

    PubMed Central

    Cho, Se Youn; Yun, Young Soo; Lee, Sungho; Jang, Dawon; Park, Kyu-Young; Kim, Jae Kyung; Kim, Byung Hoon; Kang, Kisuk; Kaplan, David L.; Jin, Hyoung-Joon

    2015-01-01

    Silk proteins are of great interest to the scientific community owing to their unique mechanical properties and interesting biological functionality. In addition, the silk proteins are not burned out following heating, rather they are transformed into a carbonaceous solid, pyroprotein; several studies have identified potential carbon precursors for state-of-the-art technologies. However, no mechanism for the carbonization of proteins has yet been reported. Here we examine the structural and chemical changes of silk proteins systematically at temperatures above the onset of thermal degradation. We find that the β-sheet structure is transformed into an sp2-hybridized carbon hexagonal structure by simple heating to 350 °C. The pseudographitic crystalline layers grew to form highly ordered graphitic structures following further heating to 2,800 °C. Our results provide a mechanism for the thermal transition of the protein and demonstrate a potential strategy for designing pyroproteins using a clean system with a catalyst-free aqueous wet process for in vivo applications. PMID:25990218

  9. The potential of silk and silk-like proteins as natural mucoadhesive biopolymers for controlled drug delivery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brooks, Amanda

    2015-11-01

    Drug delivery across mucus membranes is a particularly effective route of administration due to the large surface area. However, the unique environment present at the mucosa necessitates altered drug formulations designed to (1) deliver sensitive biologic molecules, (2) promote intimate contact between the mucosa and the drug, and (3) prolong the drug’s local residence time. Thus, the pharmaceutical industry has an interest in drug delivery systems formulated around the use of mucoadhesive polymers. Mucoadhesive polymers, both synthetic and biological, have a history of use in local drug delivery. Prominently featured in the literature are chitosan, alginate, and cellulose derivatives. More recently, silk and silk-like derivatives have been explored for their potential as mucoadhesive polymers. Both silkworms and spiders produce sticky silk-like glue substances, sericin and aggregate silk respectively, that may prove an effective, natural matrix for drug delivery to the mucosa. This mini review will explore the potential of silk and silk-like derivatives as a biocompatible mucoadhesive polymer matrix for local controlled drug delivery.

  10. The Potential of Silk and Silk-Like Proteins as Natural Mucoadhesive Biopolymers for Controlled Drug Delivery

    PubMed Central

    Brooks, Amanda E.

    2015-01-01

    Drug delivery across mucus membranes is a particularly effective route of administration due to the large surface area. However, the unique environment present at the mucosa necessitates altered drug formulations designed to (1) deliver sensitive biologic molecules, (2) promote intimate contact between the mucosa and the drug, and (3) prolong the drug's local residence time. Thus, the pharmaceutical industry has an interest in drug delivery systems formulated around the use of mucoadhesive polymers. Mucoadhesive polymers, both synthetic and biological, have a history of use in local drug delivery. Prominently featured in the literature are chitosan, alginate, and cellulose derivatives. More recently, silk and silk-like derivatives have been explored for their potential as mucoadhesive polymers. Both silkworms and spiders produce sticky silk-like glue substances, sericin and aggregate silk respectively, that may prove an effective, natural matrix for drug delivery to the mucosa. This mini review will explore the potential of silk and silk-like derivatives as a biocompatible mucoadhesive polymer matrix for local controlled drug delivery. PMID:26636069

  11. 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.

  12. Harnessing disorder: onychophorans use highly unstructured proteins, not silks, for prey capture

    PubMed Central

    Haritos, Victoria S.; Niranjane, Ajay; Weisman, Sarah; Trueman, Holly E.; Sriskantha, Alagacone; Sutherland, Tara D.

    2010-01-01

    Onychophora are ancient, carnivorous soft-bodied invertebrates which capture their prey in slime that originates from dedicated glands located on either side of the head. While the biochemical composition of the slime is known, its unusual nature and the mechanism of ensnaring thread formation have remained elusive. We have examined gene expression in the slime gland from an Australian onychophoran, Euperipatoides rowelli, and matched expressed sequence tags to separated proteins from the slime. The analysis revealed three categories of protein present: unique high-molecular-weight proline-rich proteins, and smaller concentrations of lectins and small peptides, the latter two likely to act as protease inhibitors and antimicrobial agents. The predominant proline-rich proteins (200 kDa+) are composed of tandem repeated motifs and distinguished by an unusually high proline and charged residue content. Unlike the highly structured proteins such as silks used for prey capture by spiders and insects, these proteins lack ordered secondary structure over their entire length. We propose that on expulsion of slime from the gland onto prey, evaporative water loss triggers a glass transition change in the protein solution, resulting in adhesive and enmeshing thread formation, assisted by cross-linking of complementary charged and hydrophobic regions of the protein. Euperipatoides rowelli has developed an entirely new method of capturing prey by harnessing disordered proteins rather than structured, silk-like proteins. PMID:20519222

  13. Complexation-triggerable liposome mixed with silk protein and chitosan.

    PubMed

    Hong, Yeon-Ji; Kim, Jin-Chul

    2015-01-01

    Complexation-triggerable liposomes were prepared by modifying the surface of egg phosphatidylcholine (EPC) liposomes with hydrophobicized silk fibroin (HmSF) and hydrophobicized chitosan (HmCh). Maximum complexation, determined by measuring the diameter of complexation, was found when the ratio of HmSF to HmCh was 14:1, so they were immobilized on the surface of liposomes at the same ratio. The degree of fluorescence quenching of calcein in liposomal suspension was as high as 68% when the ratio of surface modifier (HmSF + HmCh) to EPC was 1:15. When the ratio was increased to 1:5, the degree of quenching decreased to 32%, indicating the inefficient formation of liposome. Liposome mixed with the surface modifier was multi-lamellar vesicle on TEM photo. And, the mean diameter was larger than those of liposome mixed with either HmSF or HmCh, possibly due to insoluble complex on the liposomal surface. The liposome exhibited a pH-sensitive release and triggered the release at pH 5.5 and 6.0. It is believed that complexation is responsible for the promoted release at those pH values.

  14. Implantable chemotherapy-loaded silk protein materials for neuroblastoma treatment.

    PubMed

    Coburn, Jeannine; Harris, Jamie; Zakharov, Alexander D; Poirier, Jennifer; Ikegaki, Naohiko; Kajdacsy-Balla, Andre; Pilichowska, Monika; Lyubimov, Alexander V; Shimada, Hiroyuki; Kaplan, David L; Chiu, Bill

    2017-02-01

    Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial childhood solid tumor. Treatment of high risk tumors require intense multicycle chemotherapies, resulting in short- and long-term toxicities. Here, we present treatment of an orthotopic neuroblastoma mouse model, with silk fibroin materials loaded with vincristine, doxorubicin or the combination as a intratumoral, sustained release system. The materials, loaded with vincristine with or without doxorubicin, significantly decreased neuroblastoma tumor growth compared to materials loaded without drug or doxorubicin only as well as intravenous (IV) drug treatment. The intratumoral drug concentration was significantly higher with intratumoral delivery versus IV. Furthermore, intratumor delivery decreased the maximum plasma concentration compared to IV delivery, reducing systemic exposure and possibly reduing long-term side effects of chemotherapy exposure. Histopathologically, tumors with remission periods >25 days before recurrence transformed from a "small-round-blue cell" (SBRC) to predominantly "large cell" neuroblastoma (LCN) histopathology, a more aggressive tumor subtype with unfavorable clinical outcomes. These results show that intratumoral chemotherapy delivery may be a treatment strategy for pediatric neuroblastoma, potentially translatable to other focal tumors types. Furthermore, this treatment modality allows for a clinically relevant mouse model of tumor transformation that may be used for studying the phenotypical tumor recurrence and developing more effective treatment strategies for recurrent tumors.

  15. In vivo evaluation of matrix metalloproteinase responsive silk-elastinlike protein polymers for cancer gene therapy.

    PubMed

    Price, Robert; Poursaid, Azadeh; Cappello, Joseph; Ghandehari, Hamidreza

    2015-09-10

    Silk-elastinlike protein polymers (SELPs) have been effectively used as controlled release matrices for the delivery of viruses for cancer gene therapy in preclinical models. However, the degradability of these polymers needs to be tuned for improved localized intratumoral gene delivery. Using recombinant techniques, systematic modifications in distinct regions of the polymer backbone, namely, within the elastin blocks, silk blocks, and adjacent to silk and elastin blocks, have been made to impart sensitivity to specific matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) known to be overexpressed in the tumor environment. In this report we investigated the structure-function relationship of MMP-responsive SELPs for viral mediated gene therapy of head and neck cancer. These polymers showed significant degradation in vitro in the presence of MMPs. Their degradation rate was a function of the location of the MMP-responsive sequence in the polymer backbone when in hydrogel form. Treatment efficacy of the adenoviral vectors released from the MMP responsive SELP analogs in a xenograft mouse model of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) was shown to be polymer structure dependent. These results demonstrate the tunable nature of MMP-responsive SELPs for localized matrix-mediated gene delivery.

  16. Protein Secondary Structure and Orientation in Silk as Revealed by Raman Spectromicroscopy

    PubMed Central

    Lefèvre, Thierry; Rousseau, Marie-Eve; Pézolet, Michel

    2007-01-01

    Taking advantage of recent advances in polarized Raman microspectroscopy, and based on a rational decomposition of the amide I band, the conformation and orientation of proteins have been determined for cocoon silks of the silkworms Bombyx mori and Samia cynthia ricini and dragline silks of the spiders Nephila clavipes and Nephila edulis. This study distinguished between band components due to β-sheets, β-turns, 31-helices, and unordered structure for the four fibers. For B. mori, the β-sheet content is 50%, which matches the proportion of residues that form the GAGAGS fibroin motifs. For the Nephila dragline and S. c. ricini cocoon, the β-sheet content (36–37% and 45%, respectively) is higher than the proportion of residues that belong to polyalanine blocks (18% and 42%, respectively), showing that adjacent GGA motifs are incorporated into the β-sheets. Nephila spidroins contain fewer β-sheets and more flexible secondary structures than silkworm fibroins. The amorphous polypeptide chains are preferentially aligned parallel to the fiber direction, although their level of orientation is much lower than that of β-sheets. Overall, the results show that the four silks exhibit a common molecular organization, with mixtures of different amounts of β-sheets and flexible structures, which are organized with specific orientation levels. PMID:17277183

  17. Protein secondary structure and orientation in silk as revealed by Raman spectromicroscopy.

    PubMed

    Lefèvre, Thierry; Rousseau, Marie-Eve; Pézolet, Michel

    2007-04-15

    Taking advantage of recent advances in polarized Raman microspectroscopy, and based on a rational decomposition of the amide I band, the conformation and orientation of proteins have been determined for cocoon silks of the silkworms Bombyx mori and Samia cynthia ricini and dragline silks of the spiders Nephila clavipes and Nephila edulis. This study distinguished between band components due to beta-sheets, beta-turns, 3(1)-helices, and unordered structure for the four fibers. For B. mori, the beta-sheet content is 50%, which matches the proportion of residues that form the GAGAGS fibroin motifs. For the Nephila dragline and S. c. ricini cocoon, the beta-sheet content (36-37% and 45%, respectively) is higher than the proportion of residues that belong to polyalanine blocks (18% and 42%, respectively), showing that adjacent GGA motifs are incorporated into the beta-sheets. Nephila spidroins contain fewer beta-sheets and more flexible secondary structures than silkworm fibroins. The amorphous polypeptide chains are preferentially aligned parallel to the fiber direction, although their level of orientation is much lower than that of beta-sheets. Overall, the results show that the four silks exhibit a common molecular organization, with mixtures of different amounts of beta-sheets and flexible structures, which are organized with specific orientation levels.

  18. Synthetic spider silk sustainability verification by techno-economic and life cycle analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edlund, Alan

    Major ampullate spider silk represents a promising biomaterial with diverse commercial potential ranging from textiles to medical devices due to the excellent physical and thermal properties from the protein structure. Recent advancements in synthetic biology have facilitated the development of recombinant spider silk proteins from Escherichia coli (E. coli), alfalfa, and goats. This study specifically investigates the economic feasibility and environmental impact of synthetic spider silk manufacturing. Pilot scale data was used to validate an engineering process model that includes all of the required sub-processing steps for synthetic fiber manufacture: production, harvesting, purification, drying, and spinning. Modeling was constructed modularly to support assessment of alternative protein production methods (alfalfa and goats) as well as alternative down-stream processing technologies. The techno-economic analysis indicates a minimum sale price from pioneer and optimized E. coli plants at 761 kg-1 and 23 kg-1 with greenhouse gas emissions of 572 kg CO2-eq. kg-1 and 55 kg CO2-eq. kg-1, respectively. Spider silk sale price estimates from goat pioneer and optimized results are 730 kg-1 and 54 kg-1, respectively, with pioneer and optimized alfalfa plants are 207 kg-1 and 9.22 kg-1 respectively. Elevated costs and emissions from the pioneer plant can be directly tied to the high material consumption and low protein yield. Decreased production costs associated with the optimized plants include improved protein yield, process optimization, and an Nth plant assumption. Discussion focuses on the commercial potential of spider silk, the production performance requirements for commercialization, and impact of alternative technologies on the sustainability of the system.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

    2016-07-07

    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.

  1. Autoclaving as a chemical-free process to stabilize recombinant silk-elastinlike protein polymer nanofibers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qiu, Weiguo; Cappello, Joseph; Wu, Xiaoyi

    2011-06-01

    We report here that autoclaving is a chemical-free, physical crosslinking strategy capable of stabilizing electrospun recombinant silk-elastinlike protein (SELP) polymer nanofibers. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy showed that the autoclaving of SELP nanofibers induced a conformational conversion of β-turns and unordered structures to ordered β-sheets. Tensile stress-strain analysis of the autoclaved SELP nanofibrous scaffolds in phosphate buffered saline at 37 °C revealed a Young's modulus of 1.02 ± 0.28 MPa, an ultimate tensile strength of 0.34 ± 0.04 MPa, and a strain at failure of 29% ± 3%.

  2. Electroresponsive Aqueous Silk Protein As “Smart” Mechanical Damping Fluid

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Here we demonstrate the effectiveness of an electroresponsive aqueous silk protein polymer as a smart mechanical damping fluid. The aqueous polymer solution is liquid under ambient conditions, but is reversibly converted into a gel once subjected to an electric current, thereby increasing or decreasing in viscosity. This nontoxic, biodegradable, reversible, edible fluid also bonds to device surfaces and is demonstrated to reduce friction and provide striking wear protection. The friction and mechanical damping coefficients are shown to modulate with electric field exposure time and/or intensity. Damping coefficient can be modulated electrically, and then preserved without continued power for longer time scales than conventional “smart” fluid dampers. PMID:24750065

  3. Feeding silk protein hydrolysates to C57BL/KsJ-db/db mice improves blood glucose and lipid profiles.

    PubMed

    Jung, Eun Young; Lee, Hyun-Sun; Lee, Hyun Jung; Kim, Jin-Man; Lee, Kwang-Won; Suh, Hyung Joo

    2010-11-01

    The hypothesis for the research is that hydrolyzed silk protein has an antidiabetic effect by reducing plasma glucose levels. To investigate this potential antidiabetic activity of hydrolyzed silk protein by protease-N (silk protein hydrolysate E5K6) in vivo, male C57BL/KsJ-db/db mice were separated into 3 groups: control group, db/db mice treated with vehicle (distilled water); SP-1 group, db/db mice treated with silk protein hydrolysate E5K6 at 0.1 g/kg body weight; and SP-2 group, db/db mice treated with silk protein hydrolysate E5K6 at 0.2 g/kg body weight. After 4 weeks of treatment, plasma glucose levels were lower in the SP-1 (177.3 ± 20.8 mg/dL) and SP-2 (151.8 ± 9.2 mg/dL) groups as compared to those in the control group (236.0 ± 31.2 mg/dL). Furthermore, blood glycated hemoglobin was significantly reduced in the SP-2 (6.6% ± 0.1%) compared to that in the control mice (7.7% ± 0.1%). The SP-2 group also had significant reductions in plasma concentrations of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and the atherogenic index by 11%, 27%, and 26%, respectively, compared to the control group. Insulin levels on plasma concentrations were significantly increased in the silk protein hydrolysate E5K6 groups (SP-1, 4.2 ± 1.1 ng/mL; SP-2, 4.8 ± 0.4 ng/mL) compared to those in the control group (2.9 ± 0.9 ng/mL). The silk protein hydrolysate E5K6-treated db/db mice (SP-1, 62.8 ± 1.6 arbitrary units [AU]; SP-2, 63.0 ± 4.0 AU) displayed pancreatic islets with significantly enhanced (P < .05) insulin staining as compared to the intensity of staining of those from the control group (55.8 ± 2.5 AU). The results suggest that silk protein hydrolysate E5K6 has insulin-releasing activity through the induction of β-cell activity in the pancreatic islets.

  4. 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

  5. Silk-elastin-like protein biomaterials for the controlled delivery of therapeutics

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Wenwen; Rollett, Alexandra; Kaplan, David L.

    2015-01-01

    Introduction Genetically engineered biomaterials are useful for controlled delivery owing to their rational design, tunable structure-function, biocompatibility, degradability and target specificity. Silk-elastin-like proteins (SELPs), a family of genetically engineered recombinant protein polymers, possess these properties. Additionally, given the benefits of combining semicrystalline silk-blocks and elastomeric elastin-blocks, SELPs possess multi-stimuli responsive properties and tenability, thereby, becoming promising candidates for targeted cancer therapeutics delivery and controlled gene release. Areas covered An overview of SELP biomaterials for drug delivery and gene release is provided. Biosynthetic strategies used for SELP production, fundamental physicochemical properties, and self-assembly mechanisms are discussed. The review focuses on sequence-structure-function relationships, stimuli responsive features, and current and potential drug delivery applications. Expert opinion The tunable material properties allow SELPs to be pursued as promising biomaterials for nano-carriers and injectable drug release systems. Current applications of SELPs have focused on thermally-triggered biomaterial formats for the delivery of therapeutics, based on local hyperthermia in tumors or infections. Other prominent controlled release applications of SELPs as injectable hydrogels for gene release have also been pursued. Further biomedical applications that utilize other stimuli to trigger the reversible material responses of SELPs for targeted delivery, including pH, ionic strength, redox, enzymatic stimuli and electric field, are in progress. Exploiting these additional stimuli responsive features will provide a broader range of functional biomaterials for controlled therapeutics release and tissue regeneration. PMID:25476201

  6. Surface Induced nanofiber growth by self-assembly of a silk-elastin-like protein polymer.

    PubMed

    Hwang, Wonseok; Kim, Bo-Hyun; Dandu, Ramesh; Cappello, Joseph; Ghandehari, Hamidreza; Seog, Joonil

    2009-11-03

    Many synthetic and natural peptides are known to self-assemble to form various nanostructures. During the self-assembling process, environmental conditions such as salt concentration, pH, temperature, and surface characteristics play a critical role by influencing intermolecular interactions, and hence the process of self-assembly. Here we studied the self-assembly of a genetically engineered protein polymer composed of silk-like and elastin-like repeats on a mica surface. Silk-elastin-like protein polymers (SELPs) consist of tandem repeats of Gly-Ala-Gly-Ala-Gly-Ser from Bombyx mori (silkworm) and Gly-Val-Gly-Val-Pro from mammalian elastin. At a very low polymer concentration of 1 mug/mL, SELPs self-assembled into nanofibrous structures on a mica surface. Examination using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and dynamic light scattering techniques showed that SELPs self-assembled into nanofibers in the presence of the mica surface but not in the bulk state. Ionic strength had a significant influence on nanofiber growth, indicating the importance of electrostatic interactions between the polymer and the mica surface. At low ionic strength, the kinetics of nanofiber growth showed that the mica surface effectively removed a lag phase by providing nucleating sites, facilitating nanofiber self-assembly of SELPs. Furthermore, self-assembly on additional substrates such as silicon and a hydrophobic pyrolytic carbon surface revealed that the charged hydrophilic surface provides the optimal surface to facilitate self-assembly of SELPs.

  7. Potential applications of silk sericin, a natural protein from textile industry by-products.

    PubMed

    Aramwit, Pornanong; Siritientong, Tippawan; Srichana, Teerapol

    2012-03-01

    Silk is composed of two major proteins, fibroin (fibrous protein) and sericin (globular, gumming protein). Fibroin has been used in textile manufacturing and for several biomaterial applications, whereas sericin is considered a waste material in the textile industry. Sericin has recently been found to activate the proliferation of several cell-lines and has also shown various biological activities. Sericin can form a gel by itself; however, after mixing with other polymers and cross-linking it can form a film or a scaffold with good characteristics that can be used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Sericin is proven to cause no immunological responses, which has resulted in a more acceptable material for biological applications.

  8. 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.

  9. Fabrication of Highly Uniform Nanoparticles from Recombinant Silk-Elastinlike Protein Polymers for Therapeutic Agent Delivery

    PubMed Central

    Anumolu, Rajasekhar; Gustafson, Joshua A.; Magda, Jules J.; Cappello, Joseph; Ghandehari, Hamidreza; Pease, Leonard F.

    2011-01-01

    Here we generate silk-elastinlike protein (SELP) polymeric nanoparticles and demonstrate precise control over their dimensions using an electrospray differential mobility analyzer (ES-DMA). Electrospray produces droplets encompassing several polymer strands. Evaporation ensues, leading polymer strands to accumulate at the droplet interface forming a hollow nanoparticle. The resulting nanoparticle size distributions which govern particle yield, depend on buffer concentration to the −1/3 power, polymer concentration to the 1/3 power, and ratio of silk to elastin blocks. Three recombinantly tuned ratios of silk to elastin blocks, 8:16, 4:8, and 4:16, respectively named SELP-815K, SELP-47K, and SELP-415K, are employed with the latter ratio resulting in a thinner shell and larger diameter for the nanoparticles than the former. The DMA narrows the size distribution by electrostatically classifying the aerosolized nanoparticles. These highly uniform nanoparticles have variations of 1.2 nm and 1.4 nm for 24.0 nm and 36.0 nm particles, respectively. Transmission electron microscopy reveals the nanoparticles to be faceted, as a buckling instability releases compression energy arising from evaporation after the shell has formed by bending it. A thermodynamic equilibrium exists between compression and bending energies, where the facet length is 1/2 the particle diameter, in agreement with experiments. Rod-like particles also formed from polymer stabilized filaments when the viscous length exceeds the jet radius at higher solution viscosities. The unusual uniformity in composition and dimension indicates the potential of these nanoparticles to deliver bioactive and imaging agents. PMID:21696150

  10. E-spun composite fibers of collagen and dragline silk protein: fiber mechanics, biocompatibility, and application in stem cell differentiation.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Bofan; Li, Wen; Lewis, Randolph V; Segre, Carlo U; Wang, Rong

    2015-01-12

    Biocomposite matrices with high mechanical strength, high stability, and the ability to direct matrix-specific stem cell differentiation are essential for the reconstruction of lesioned tissues in tissue engineering and cell therapeutics. Toward this end, we used the electrospinning technique to fabricate well-aligned composite fibers from collagen and spider dragline silk protein, obtained from the milk of transgenic goats, mimicking the native extracellular matrix (ECM) on a similar scale. Collagen and the dragline silk proteins were found to mix homogeneously at all ratios in the electrospun (E-spun) fibers. As a result, the ultimate tensile strength and elasticity of the fibers increased monotonically with silk percentage, whereas the stretchability was slightly reduced. Strikingly, we found that the incorporation of silk proteins to collagen dramatically increased the matrix stability against excessive fiber swelling and shape deformation in cell culture medium. When human decidua parietalis placental stem cells (hdpPSCs) were seeded on the collagen-silk matrices, the matrices were found to support cell proliferation at a similar rate as that of the pure collagen matrix, but they provided cell adhesion with reduced strengths and induced cell polarization at varied levels. Matrices containing 15 and 30 wt % silk in collagen (CS15, CS30) were found to induce a level of neural differentiation comparable to that of pure collagen. In particular, CS15 matrix induced the highest extent of cell polarization and promoted the development of extended 1D neural filaments strictly in-line with the aligned fibers. Taking the increased mechanical strength and fiber stability into consideration, CS15 and CS30 E-spun fibers offer better alternatives to pure collagen fibers as scaffolds that can be potentially utilized in neural tissue repair and the development of future nanobiodevices.

  11. Self-assembly of silk-elastinlike protein polymers into three-dimensional scaffolds for biomedical applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zeng, Like

    Production of brand new protein-based materials with precise control over the amino acid sequences at single residue level has been made possible by genetic engineering, through which artificial genes can be developed that encode protein-based materials with desired features. As an example, silk-elastinlike protein polymers (SELPs), composed of tandem repeats of amino acid sequence motifs from Bombyx mori (silkworm) silk and mammalian elastin, have been produced in this approach. SELPs have been studied extensively in the past two decades, however, the fundamental mechanism governing the self-assembly process to date still remains largely unresolved. Further, regardless of the unprecedented success when exploited in areas including drug delivery, gene therapy, and tissue augmentation, SELPs scaffolds as a three-dimensional cell culture model system are complicated by the inability of SELPs to provide the embedded tissue cells with appropriate biochemical stimuli essential for cell survival and function. In this dissertation, it is reported that the self-assembly of silk-elastinlike protein polymers (SELPs) into nanofibers in aqueous solutions can be modulated by tuning the curing temperature, the size of the silk blocks, and the charge of the elastin blocks. A core-sheath model was proposed for nanofiber formation, with the silk blocks in the cores and the hydrated elastin blocks in the sheaths. The folding of the silk blocks into stable cores -- affected by the size of the silk blocks and the charge of the elastin blocks -- plays a critical role in the assembly of silk-elastin nanofibers. The assembled nanofibers further form nanofiber clusters on the microscale, and the nanofiber clusters then coalesce into nanofiber micro-assemblies, interconnection of which eventually leads to the formation of three-dimensional scaffolds with distinct nanoscale and microscale features. SELP-Collagen hybrid scaffolds were also fabricated to enable independent control over the

  12. Nanoscale probing of electron-regulated structural transitions in silk proteins by near-field IR imaging and nano-spectroscopy

    PubMed Central

    Qin, Nan; Zhang, Shaoqing; Jiang, Jianjuan; Corder, Stephanie Gilbert; Qian, Zhigang; Zhou, Zhitao; Lee, Woonsoo; Liu, Keyin; Wang, Xiaohan; Li, Xinxin; Shi, Zhifeng; Mao, Ying; Bechtel, Hans A.; Martin, Michael C.; Xia, Xiaoxia; Marelli, Benedetto; Kaplan, David L.; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G.; Liu, Mengkun; Tao, Tiger H.

    2016-01-01

    Silk protein fibres produced by silkworms and spiders are renowned for their unparalleled mechanical strength and extensibility arising from their high-β-sheet crystal contents as natural materials. Investigation of β-sheet-oriented conformational transitions in silk proteins at the nanoscale remains a challenge using conventional imaging techniques given their limitations in chemical sensitivity or limited spatial resolution. Here, we report on electron-regulated nanoscale polymorphic transitions in silk proteins revealed by near-field infrared imaging and nano-spectroscopy at resolutions approaching the molecular level. The ability to locally probe nanoscale protein structural transitions combined with nanometre-precision electron-beam lithography offers us the capability to finely control the structure of silk proteins in two and three dimensions. Our work paves the way for unlocking essential nanoscopic protein structures and critical conditions for electron-induced conformational transitions, offering new rules to design protein-based nanoarchitectures. PMID:27713412

  13. Nanoscale probing of electron-regulated structural transitions in silk proteins by near-field IR imaging and nano-spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qin, Nan; Zhang, Shaoqing; Jiang, Jianjuan; Corder, Stephanie Gilbert; Qian, Zhigang; Zhou, Zhitao; Lee, Woonsoo; Liu, Keyin; Wang, Xiaohan; Li, Xinxin; Shi, Zhifeng; Mao, Ying; Bechtel, Hans A.; Martin, Michael C.; Xia, Xiaoxia; Marelli, Benedetto; Kaplan, David L.; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G.; Liu, Mengkun; Tao, Tiger H.

    2016-10-01

    Silk protein fibres produced by silkworms and spiders are renowned for their unparalleled mechanical strength and extensibility arising from their high-β-sheet crystal contents as natural materials. Investigation of β-sheet-oriented conformational transitions in silk proteins at the nanoscale remains a challenge using conventional imaging techniques given their limitations in chemical sensitivity or limited spatial resolution. Here, we report on electron-regulated nanoscale polymorphic transitions in silk proteins revealed by near-field infrared imaging and nano-spectroscopy at resolutions approaching the molecular level. The ability to locally probe nanoscale protein structural transitions combined with nanometre-precision electron-beam lithography offers us the capability to finely control the structure of silk proteins in two and three dimensions. Our work paves the way for unlocking essential nanoscopic protein structures and critical conditions for electron-induced conformational transitions, offering new rules to design protein-based nanoarchitectures.

  14. Nanoscale probing of electron-regulated structural transitions in silk proteins by near-field IR imaging and nano-spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Qin, Nan; Zhang, Shaoqing; Jiang, Jianjuan; Corder, Stephanie Gilbert; Qian, Zhigang; Zhou, Zhitao; Lee, Woonsoo; Liu, Keyin; Wang, Xiaohan; Li, Xinxin; Shi, Zhifeng; Mao, Ying; Bechtel, Hans A; Martin, Michael C; Xia, Xiaoxia; Marelli, Benedetto; Kaplan, David L; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G; Liu, Mengkun; Tao, Tiger H

    2016-10-07

    Silk protein fibres produced by silkworms and spiders are renowned for their unparalleled mechanical strength and extensibility arising from their high-β-sheet crystal contents as natural materials. Investigation of β-sheet-oriented conformational transitions in silk proteins at the nanoscale remains a challenge using conventional imaging techniques given their limitations in chemical sensitivity or limited spatial resolution. Here, we report on electron-regulated nanoscale polymorphic transitions in silk proteins revealed by near-field infrared imaging and nano-spectroscopy at resolutions approaching the molecular level. The ability to locally probe nanoscale protein structural transitions combined with nanometre-precision electron-beam lithography offers us the capability to finely control the structure of silk proteins in two and three dimensions. Our work paves the way for unlocking essential nanoscopic protein structures and critical conditions for electron-induced conformational transitions, offering new rules to design protein-based nanoarchitectures.

  15. Microsecond folding and domain motions of a spider silk protein structural switch.

    PubMed

    Ries, Julia; Schwarze, Simone; Johnson, Christopher M; Neuweiler, Hannes

    2014-12-10

    Web spiders rapidly assemble protein monomers, so-called spidroins, into extraordinarily tough silk fibers. The process involves the pH-triggered self-association of the spidroin N-terminal domain (NTD), which contains a structural switch connecting spidroins to supermolecules. Single-molecule spectroscopy can detect conformational heterogeneity that is hidden to conventional methods, but motions of the NTD are beyond the resolution limit. Here, we engineered probes for 1 nm conformational changes based on the phenomenon of fluorescence quenching by photoinduced electron transfer into the isolated NTD of a spidroin from the nursery web spider Euprosthenops australis. Correlation analysis of single-molecule fluorescence fluctuations uncovered site-dependent nanosecond-to-microsecond movement of secondary and tertiary structure. Kinetic amplitudes were most pronounced for helices that are part of the association interface and where structural studies show large displacements between monomeric and dimeric conformations. A single tryptophan at the center of the five-helix bundle toggled conformations in ∼100 μs and in a pH-dependent manner. Equilibrium denaturation and temperature-jump relaxation experiments revealed cooperative and ultrafast folding in only 60 μs. We deduced a free-energy surface that exhibits native-state ruggedness with apparently similar barrier heights to folding and native motions. Observed equilibrium dynamics within the domain suggest a conformational selection mechanism in the rapid association of spidroins through their NTDs during silk synthesis by web spiders.

  16. Evolution of repetitive proteins: spider silks from Nephila clavipes (Tetragnathidae) and Araneus bicentenarius (Araneidae).

    PubMed

    Beckwitt, R; Arcidiacono, S; Stote, R

    1998-03-01

    Spider silks are highly repetitive proteins, characterized by regions of polyalanine and glycine-rich repeating units. We have obtained two variants of the Spidroin 1 (NCF-1) silk gene sequence from Nephila clavipes. One sequence (1726 bp) was from a cloned cDNA, and the other (1951 bp) was from PCR of genomic DNA. When these sequences are compared with each other and the previously published Spidroin 1 sequence, there are differences due to sequence rearrangements, as well as single base substitutions. These variations are similar to those that have been reported from other highly repetitive genes, and probably represent the results of unequal cross-overs. We have also obtained 708 bp of sequence from pCR of genomic DNA from Araneus biocentenarius. This sequence shows considerable similarity to a dragline sequence (ADF-3) from A. diadematus, as well as Spidroin 2 (NCF-2) from N. clavipes. Minor but consistent differences in the repeating unit sequence between A. bicentenarius and A. diadematus suggest that concerted evolution or gene conversion processes are acting to maintain similarity among repeat units within a single gene.

  17. Biomimetic production of silk-like recombinant squid sucker ring teeth proteins.

    PubMed

    Ding, Dawei; Guerette, Paul A; Hoon, Shawn; Kong, Kiat Whye; Cornvik, Tobias; Nilsson, Martina; Kumar, Akshita; Lescar, Julien; Miserez, Ali

    2014-09-08

    The sucker ring teeth (SRT) of Humboldt squid exhibit mechanical properties that rival those of robust engineered synthetic polymers. Remarkably, these properties are achieved without a mineral phase or covalent cross-links. Instead, SRT are exclusively made of silk-like proteins called "suckerins", which assemble into nanoconfined β-sheet reinforced supramolecular networks. In this study, three streamlined strategies for full-length recombinant suckerin protein production and purification were developed. Recombinant suckerin exhibited high solubility and colloidal stability in aqueous-based solvents. In addition, the colloidal suspensions exhibited a concentration-dependent conformational switch, from random coil to β-sheet enriched structures. Our results demonstrate that recombinant suckerin can be produced in a facile manner in E. coli and processed from mild aqueous solutions into materials enriched in β-sheets. We suggest that recombinant suckerin-based materials offer potential for a range of biomedical and engineering applications.

  18. Image Contrast Immersion Method for Measuring Refractive Index Applied to Spider Silks

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-09-26

    and C. Viney, “ Molecular order in spider major ampullate silk (dragline): effects of spinning rate and post-spin drawing,” J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 72(7...visibility of the Becke line and the accuracy of the technique. Spider silks have previously been studied using scattering methods, however these approaches... spiders . The differences have been studied by electron microscopy techniques [18], and are shown to be morphological, at least in part. The dispersion of

  19. Importance of Heat and Pressure for Solubilization of Recombinant Spider Silk Proteins in Aqueous Solution.

    PubMed

    Jones, Justin A; Harris, Thomas I; Oliveira, Paula F; Bell, Brianne E; Alhabib, Abdulrahman; Lewis, Randolph V

    2016-11-23

    The production of recombinant spider silk proteins continues to be a key area of interest for a number of research groups. Several key obstacles exist in their production as well as in their formulation into useable products. The original reported method to solubilize recombinant spider silk proteins (rSSp) in an aqueous solution involved using microwaves to quickly generate heat and pressure inside of a sealed vial containing rSSp and water. Fibers produced from this system are remarkable in their mechanical ability and demonstrate the ability to be stretched and recover 100 times. The microwave method dissolves the rSSPs with dissolution time increasing with higher molecular weight constructs, increasing concentration of rSSPs, protein type, and salt concentration. It has proven successful in solvating a number of different rSSPs including native-like sequences (MaSp1, MaSp2, piriform, and aggregate) as well as chimeric sequences (FlAS) in varied concentrations that have been spun into fibers and formed into films, foams, sponges, gels, coatings, macro and micro spheres and adhesives. The system is effective but inherently unpredictable and difficult to control. Provided that the materials that can be generated from this method of dissolution are impressive, an alternative means of applying heat and pressure that is controllable and predictable has been developed. Results indicate that there are combinations of heat and pressure (135 °C and 140 psi) that result in maximal dissolution without degrading the recombinant MaSp2 protein tested, and that heat and pressure are the key elements to the method of dissolution.

  20. Importance of Heat and Pressure for Solubilization of Recombinant Spider Silk Proteins in Aqueous Solution

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Justin A.; Harris, Thomas I.; Oliveira, Paula F.; Bell, Brianne E.; Alhabib, Abdulrahman; Lewis, Randolph V.

    2016-01-01

    The production of recombinant spider silk proteins continues to be a key area of interest for a number of research groups. Several key obstacles exist in their production as well as in their formulation into useable products. The original reported method to solubilize recombinant spider silk proteins (rSSp) in an aqueous solution involved using microwaves to quickly generate heat and pressure inside of a sealed vial containing rSSp and water. Fibers produced from this system are remarkable in their mechanical ability and demonstrate the ability to be stretched and recover 100 times. The microwave method dissolves the rSSPs with dissolution time increasing with higher molecular weight constructs, increasing concentration of rSSPs, protein type, and salt concentration. It has proven successful in solvating a number of different rSSPs including native-like sequences (MaSp1, MaSp2, piriform, and aggregate) as well as chimeric sequences (FlAS) in varied concentrations that have been spun into fibers and formed into films, foams, sponges, gels, coatings, macro and micro spheres and adhesives. The system is effective but inherently unpredictable and difficult to control. Provided that the materials that can be generated from this method of dissolution are impressive, an alternative means of applying heat and pressure that is controllable and predictable has been developed. Results indicate that there are combinations of heat and pressure (135 °C and 140 psi) that result in maximal dissolution without degrading the recombinant MaSp2 protein tested, and that heat and pressure are the key elements to the method of dissolution. PMID:27886066

  1. Ancient Properties of Spider Silks Revealed by the Complete Gene Sequence of the Prey-Wrapping Silk Protein (AcSp1)

    PubMed Central

    Ayoub, Nadia A.; Garb, Jessica E.; Kuelbs, Amanda; Hayashi, Cheryl Y.

    2013-01-01

    Spider silk fibers have impressive mechanical properties and are primarily composed of highly repetitive structural proteins (termed spidroins) encoded by a single gene family. Most characterized spidroin genes are incompletely known because of their extreme size (typically >9 kb) and repetitiveness, limiting understanding of the evolutionary processes that gave rise to their unusual gene architectures. The only complete spidroin genes characterized thus far form the dragline in the Western black widow, Latrodectus hesperus. Here, we describe the first complete gene sequence encoding the aciniform spidroin AcSp1, the primary component of spider prey-wrapping fibers. L. hesperus AcSp1 contains a single enormous (∼19 kb) exon. The AcSp1 repeat sequence is exceptionally conserved between two widow species (∼94% identity) and between widows and distantly related orb-weavers (∼30% identity), consistent with a history of strong purifying selection on its amino acid sequence. Furthermore, the 16 repeats (each 371–375 amino acids long) found in black widow AcSp1 are, on average, >99% identical at the nucleotide level. A combination of stabilizing selection on amino acid sequence, selection on silent sites, and intragenic recombination likely explains the extreme homogenization of AcSp1 repeats. In addition, phylogenetic analyses of spidroin paralogs support a gene duplication event occurring concomitantly with specialization of the aciniform glands and the tubuliform glands, which synthesize egg-case silk. With repeats that are dramatically different in length and amino acid composition from dragline spidroins, our L. hesperus AcSp1 expands the knowledge base for developing silk-based biomimetic technologies. PMID:23155003

  2. AFM study of morphology and mechanical properties of a chimeric spider silk and bone sialoprotein protein for bone regeneration

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to assess a new chimeric protein consisting of a fusion protein of the consensus repeat for Nephila clavipes spider dragline protein and bone sialoprotein (6mer+BSP). The elastic modulus of this protein in film form was assessed through force curves, and film surface roughness was also determined. The results showed a significant difference between the elastic modulus of the chimeric silk protein, 6mer+BSP, and control films consisting of only the silk component (6mer). The behaviour of the 6mer+BSP and 6mer proteins in aqueous solution in the presence of calcium (Ca) ions was also assessed to determine interactions between the inorganic and organic components related to bone interactions, anchoring and biomaterial network formation. The results demonstrated the formation of protein networks in the presence of Ca2+ ions, characteristics that may be important in the context of controlling materials assembly and properties related to bone-formation with this new chimeric silk-BSP protein. PMID:21370930

  3. Silk-fibronectin protein alloy fibres support cell adhesion and viability as a high strength, matrix fibre analogue

    PubMed Central

    Jacobsen, Matthew M.; Li, David; Gyune Rim, Nae; Backman, Daniel; Smith, Michael L.; Wong, Joyce Y.

    2017-01-01

    Silk is a natural polymer with broad utility in biomedical applications because it exhibits general biocompatibility and high tensile material properties. While mechanical integrity is important for most biomaterial applications, proper function and integration also requires biomaterial incorporation into complex surrounding tissues for many physiologically relevant processes such as wound healing. In this study, we spin silk fibroin into a protein alloy fibre with whole fibronectin using wet spinning approaches in order to synergize their respective strength and cell interaction capabilities. Results demonstrate that silk fibroin alone is a poor adhesive surface for fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and vascular smooth muscle cells in the absence of serum. However, significantly improved cell attachment is observed to silk-fibronectin alloy fibres without serum present while not compromising the fibres’ mechanical integrity. Additionally, cell viability is improved up to six fold on alloy fibres when serum is present while migration and spreading generally increase as well. These findings demonstrate the utility of composite protein alloys as inexpensive and effective means to create durable, biologically active biomaterials. PMID:28378749

  4. Silk-fibronectin protein alloy fibres support cell adhesion and viability as a high strength, matrix fibre analogue.

    PubMed

    Jacobsen, Matthew M; Li, David; Gyune Rim, Nae; Backman, Daniel; Smith, Michael L; Wong, Joyce Y

    2017-04-05

    Silk is a natural polymer with broad utility in biomedical applications because it exhibits general biocompatibility and high tensile material properties. While mechanical integrity is important for most biomaterial applications, proper function and integration also requires biomaterial incorporation into complex surrounding tissues for many physiologically relevant processes such as wound healing. In this study, we spin silk fibroin into a protein alloy fibre with whole fibronectin using wet spinning approaches in order to synergize their respective strength and cell interaction capabilities. Results demonstrate that silk fibroin alone is a poor adhesive surface for fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and vascular smooth muscle cells in the absence of serum. However, significantly improved cell attachment is observed to silk-fibronectin alloy fibres without serum present while not compromising the fibres' mechanical integrity. Additionally, cell viability is improved up to six fold on alloy fibres when serum is present while migration and spreading generally increase as well. These findings demonstrate the utility of composite protein alloys as inexpensive and effective means to create durable, biologically active biomaterials.

  5. Non-Mulberry and Mulberry Silk Protein Sericins as Potential Media Supplement for Animal Cell Culture.

    PubMed

    Sahu, Neety; Pal, Shilpa; Sapru, Sunaina; Kundu, Joydip; Talukdar, Sarmistha; Singh, N Ibotambi; Yao, Juming; Kundu, Subhas C

    2016-01-01

    Silk protein sericins, in the recent years, find application in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and as biomaterials. We investigate the potential of sericin, extracted from both mulberry Bombyx mori and different non-mulberry sources, namely, tropical tasar, Antheraea mylitta; muga, Antheraea assama; and eri, Samia ricini, as growth supplement in serum-free culture medium. Sericin supplemented media containing different concentrations of sericins from the different species are examined for attachment, growth, proliferation, and morphology of fibrosarcoma cells. The optimum sericin supplementation seems to vary with the source of sericins. The results indicate that all the sericins promote the growth of L929 cells in serum-free culture media; however, S. ricini sericin seems to promote better growth of cells amongst other non-mulberry sericins.

  6. Non-Mulberry and Mulberry Silk Protein Sericins as Potential Media Supplement for Animal Cell Culture

    PubMed Central

    Sahu, Neety; Pal, Shilpa; Sapru, Sunaina; Kundu, Joydip; Talukdar, Sarmistha; Singh, N. Ibotambi; Yao, Juming

    2016-01-01

    Silk protein sericins, in the recent years, find application in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and as biomaterials. We investigate the potential of sericin, extracted from both mulberry Bombyx mori and different non-mulberry sources, namely, tropical tasar, Antheraea mylitta; muga, Antheraea assama; and eri, Samia ricini, as growth supplement in serum-free culture medium. Sericin supplemented media containing different concentrations of sericins from the different species are examined for attachment, growth, proliferation, and morphology of fibrosarcoma cells. The optimum sericin supplementation seems to vary with the source of sericins. The results indicate that all the sericins promote the growth of L929 cells in serum-free culture media; however, S. ricini sericin seems to promote better growth of cells amongst other non-mulberry sericins. PMID:27517047

  7. Exploring the Properties of Genetically Engineered Silk-Elastin-Like Protein Films.

    PubMed

    Machado, Raul; da Costa, André; Sencadas, Vitor; Pereira, Ana Margarida; Collins, Tony; Rodríguez-Cabello, José Carlos; Lanceros-Méndez, Senentxu; Casal, Margarida

    2015-12-01

    Free standing films of a genetically engineered silk-elastin-like protein (SELP) were prepared using water and formic acid as solvents. Exposure to methanol-saturated air promoted the formation of aggregated β-strands rendering aqueous insolubility and improved the mechanical properties leading to a 10-fold increase in strain-to-failure. The films were optically clear with resistivity values similar to natural rubber and thermally stable up to 180 °C. Addition of glycerol showed to enhance the flexibility of SELP/glycerol films by interacting with SELP molecules through hydrogen bonding, interpenetrating between the polymer chains and granting more conformational freedom. This detailed characterization provides cues for future and unique applications using SELP based biopolymers.

  8. Regenerated silk fibers: Structural studies and solid state NMR techniques for efficient multiple distance determinations in proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liivak, Oskar

    2000-09-01

    Material Science is the science of understanding the relationship between the molecular level structure of a material and its macroscopic properties. Such research requires both the ability to determine molecular structure and the ability to control and modify the molecular structure. The present research into silks, especially the dragline silk from the spider Nephila clavipes , is occurring at a time when these two criteria are beginning to be met for proteins like spider silk. Genetic engineering has evolved to the point where material scientists have full control over the primary sequence of amino acids that comprise proteins. In addition, solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques exist which allow us to probe molecular structure. This work applies solid state NMR to the study of the structure of silk fibers. In particular, we focus on techniques of fiber regeneration from solution. The purpose is not only to develop the techniques by which genetically engineered fibers could be spun into fibers for mass production but also as a tool into fundamental silk research. Results on these regenerated fibers show a correlation between the fraction of the silk's alanine residues which are in the β-sheet conformation and the ultimate tensile strength of the fibers. In addition, in a clever mating of the fiber regeneration technique and the solid state NMR distance measurement experiment, rotational echo double resonance (REDOR), we investigate the supramolecular topology of the alanine β-sheet crystals. Even though the REDOR technique has failings for the complicated ISn spin systems found in the silk samples, a qualitative analysis does indicate that the β-sheet crystals are intermolecular. Finally, we investigate a new class of REDOR-like experiments which are designed to overcome the failings of REDOR in ISn spin systems. Experimental data is shown to validate these ideas. An alternate pulse sequence is also introduced and verified with experimental

  9. Spider Silk-CBD-Cellulose Nanocrystal Composites: Mechanism of Assembly

    PubMed Central

    Meirovitch, Sigal; Shtein, Zvi; Ben-Shalom, Tal; Lapidot, Shaul; Tamburu, Carmen; Hu, Xiao; Kluge, Jonathan A.; Raviv, Uri; Kaplan, David L.; Shoseyov, Oded

    2016-01-01

    The fabrication of cellulose-spider silk bio-nanocomposites comprised of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and recombinant spider silk protein fused to a cellulose binding domain (CBD) is described. Silk-CBD successfully binds cellulose, and unlike recombinant silk alone, silk-CBD self-assembles into microfibrils even in the absence of CNCs. Silk-CBD-CNC composite sponges and films show changes in internal structure and CNC alignment related to the addition of silk-CBD. The silk-CBD sponges exhibit improved thermal and structural characteristics in comparison to control recombinant spider silk sponges. The glass transition temperature (Tg) of the silk-CBD sponge was higher than the control silk sponge and similar to native dragline spider silk fibers. Gel filtration analysis, dynamic light scattering (DLS), small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and cryo-transmission electron microscopy (TEM) indicated that silk-CBD, but not the recombinant silk control, formed a nematic liquid crystalline phase similar to that observed in native spider silk during the silk spinning process. Silk-CBD microfibrils spontaneously formed in solution upon ultrasonication. We suggest a model for silk-CBD assembly that implicates CBD in the central role of driving the dimerization of spider silk monomers, a process essential to the molecular assembly of spider-silk nanofibers and silk-CNC composites. PMID:27649169

  10. Spider Silk-CBD-Cellulose Nanocrystal Composites: Mechanism of Assembly.

    PubMed

    Meirovitch, Sigal; Shtein, Zvi; Ben-Shalom, Tal; Lapidot, Shaul; Tamburu, Carmen; Hu, Xiao; Kluge, Jonathan A; Raviv, Uri; Kaplan, David L; Shoseyov, Oded

    2016-09-18

    The fabrication of cellulose-spider silk bio-nanocomposites comprised of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and recombinant spider silk protein fused to a cellulose binding domain (CBD) is described. Silk-CBD successfully binds cellulose, and unlike recombinant silk alone, silk-CBD self-assembles into microfibrils even in the absence of CNCs. Silk-CBD-CNC composite sponges and films show changes in internal structure and CNC alignment related to the addition of silk-CBD. The silk-CBD sponges exhibit improved thermal and structural characteristics in comparison to control recombinant spider silk sponges. The glass transition temperature (Tg) of the silk-CBD sponge was higher than the control silk sponge and similar to native dragline spider silk fibers. Gel filtration analysis, dynamic light scattering (DLS), small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and cryo-transmission electron microscopy (TEM) indicated that silk-CBD, but not the recombinant silk control, formed a nematic liquid crystalline phase similar to that observed in native spider silk during the silk spinning process. Silk-CBD microfibrils spontaneously formed in solution upon ultrasonication. We suggest a model for silk-CBD assembly that implicates CBD in the central role of driving the dimerization of spider silk monomers, a process essential to the molecular assembly of spider-silk nanofibers and silk-CNC composites.

  11. Molecular cloning, gene expression analysis, and recombinant protein expression of novel silk proteins from larvae of a retreat-maker caddisfly, Stenopsyche marmorata.

    PubMed

    Bai, Xue; Sakaguchi, Mayo; Yamaguchi, Yuko; Ishihara, Shiori; Tsukada, Masuhiro; Hirabayashi, Kimio; Ohkawa, Kousaku; Nomura, Takaomi; Arai, Ryoichi

    2015-08-28

    Retreat-maker larvae of Stenopsyche marmorata, one of the major caddisfly species in Japan, produce silk threads and adhesives to build food capture nets and protective nests in water. Research on these underwater adhesive silk proteins potentially leads to the development of new functional biofiber materials. Recently, we identified four major S. marmorata silk proteins (Smsps), Smsp-1, Smsp-2, Smsp-3, and Smsp-4 from silk glands of S. marmorata larvae. In this study, we cloned full-length cDNAs of Smsp-2, Smsp-3, and Smsp-4 from the cDNA library of the S. marmorata silk glands to reveal the primary sequences of Smsps. Homology search results of the deduced amino acid sequences indicate that Smsp-2 and Smsp-4 are novel proteins. The Smsp-2 sequence [167 amino acids (aa)] has an array of GYD-rich repeat motifs and two (SX)4E motifs. The Smsp-4 sequence (132 aa) contains a number of GW-rich repeat motifs and three (SX)4E motifs. The Smsp-3 sequence (248 aa) exhibits high homology with fibroin light chain of other caddisflies. Gene expression analysis of Smsps by real-time PCR suggested that the gene expression of Smsp-1 and Smsp-3 was relatively stable throughout the year, whereas that of Smsp-2 and Smsp-4 varied seasonally. Furthermore, Smsps recombinant protein expression was successfully performed in Escherichia coli. The study provides new molecular insights into caddisfly aquatic silk and its potential for future applications.

  12. Ubiquitous distribution of salts and proteins in spider glue enhances spider silk adhesion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amarpuri, Gaurav; Chaurasia, Vishal; Jain, Dharamdeep; Blackledge, Todd A.; Dhinojwala, Ali

    2015-03-01

    Modern orb-weaving spiders use micron-sized glue droplets on their viscid silk to retain prey in webs. A combination of low molecular weight salts and proteins makes the glue viscoelastic and humidity responsive in a way not easily achieved by synthetic adhesives. Optically, the glue droplet shows a heterogeneous structure, but the spatial arrangement of its chemical components is poorly understood. Here, we use optical and confocal Raman microscopy to show that salts and proteins are present ubiquitously throughout the droplet. The distribution of adhesive proteins in the peripheral region explains the superior prey capture performance of orb webs as it enables the entire surface area of the glue droplet to act as a site for prey capture. The presence of salts throughout the droplet explains the recent Solid-State NMR results that show salts directly facilitate protein mobility. Understanding the function of individual glue components and the role of the droplet's macro-structure can help in designing better synthetic adhesives for humid environments.

  13. High Throughput Screening of Dynamic Silk-Elastin-Like Protein Biomaterials

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Qin; Xia, Xiaoxia; Huang, Wenwen; Lin, Yinan; Xu, Qiaobing; Kaplan, David L.

    2014-01-01

    The need for dynamic, elastomeric polymeric biomaterials remains high, with few options with tunable control of mechanical properties, and environmental responses. Yet the diversity of these types of protein polymers pursued for biomaterials-related needs remains limited. Robust high-throughput synthesis and characterization methods will address the need to expand options for protein-polymers for a range of applications. To address this need, a combinatorial library approach with high throughput screening is used to select specific examples of dynamic protein silk-elastin-like polypeptides (SELPs) with unique stimuli responsive features, including tensile strength, and adhesion. Using this approach 64 different SELPs with different sequences and molecular weights are selected out of over 2,000 recombinant E. coli colonies. New understanding of sequence-function relationships with this family of proteins is gained through this combinatorial-screening approach and can provide a guide to future library designs. Further, this approach yields new families of SELPs to match specific material functions. PMID:25505375

  14. Conformation transition of Bombyx mori silk protein monitored by time-dependent fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy: effect of organic solvent.

    PubMed

    Chen, Xin; Cai, Huifei; Ling, Shengjie; Shao, Zhengzhong; Huang, Yufang

    2012-06-01

    The conformation transition from random coil and/or helix to β-sheet of silk protein is the most important step in the formation of silk fiber in nature as well as by artificial spinning. Time-dependent Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy was used in this research to monitor such a conformation transition process induced by the organic solvents methanol, ethanol, propanol, isopropanol, and acetone. The kinetics of β-sheet formation of regenerated Bombyx mori silk fibroin in these organic solvents was obtained by the Δabsorbance-time curve from the time-dependent difference infrared spectra. The results showed that the conformation transition rate of silk fibroin was methanol > ethanol > acetone > propanol > isopropanol, which is in accordance with the polarity of these organic solvents. In connection with the mechanical properties and morphologies of regenerated silk fibers using these organic solvents as coagulation bath reported in the literature, we may conclude that the conformation transition rate of silk protein in the organic solvent is very important in wet-spinning to produce high-performance regenerated silk fibers.

  15. Seed-Specific Expression of Spider Silk Protein Multimers Causes Long-Term Stability

    PubMed Central

    Weichert, Nicola; Hauptmann, Valeska; Helmold, Christine; Conrad, Udo

    2016-01-01

    Seeds enable plants to germinate and to grow in situations of limited availability of nutrients. The stable storage of different seed proteins is a remarkable presumption for successful germination and growth. These strategies have been adapted and used in several molecular farming projects. In this study, we explore the benefits of seed-based expression to produce the high molecular weight spider silk protein FLAG using intein-based trans-splicing. Multimers larger than 460 kDa in size are routinely produced, which is above the native size of the FLAG protein. The storage of seeds for 8 weeks and 1 year at an ambient temperature of 15°C does not influence the accumulation level. Even the extended storage time does not influence the typical pattern of multimerized bands. These results show that seeds are the method of choice for stable accumulation of products of complex transgenes and have the capability for long-term storage at moderate conditions, an important feature for the development of suitable downstream processes. PMID:26858734

  16. Spider Silk: Mother Nature's Bio-Superlens

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Monks, James N.; Yan, Bing; Hawkins, Nicholas; Vollrath, Fritz; Wang, Zengbo

    2016-09-01

    This paper demonstrates a possible new microfiber bio near field lens that uses minor ampullate spider silk,spun from the Nephila edulis spider, to create a real time image of a surface using near field optical techniques. The microfiber bio lens is the world's first natural superlens created by exploring biological materials. The resolution of the surface image overcomes the diffraction limit, with the ability to resolve patterns at 100 nm under a standard white light source in reflection mode. This resolution offers further developments in superlens technology and paves the way for new bio optics.

  17. Expression of a Truncated ATHB17 Protein in Maize Increases Ear Weight at Silking

    PubMed Central

    Creelman, Robert A.; Griffith, Cara; Ahrens, Jeffrey E.; Taylor, J. Philip; Murphy, Lesley R.; Manjunath, Siva; Thompson, Rebecca L.; Lingard, Matthew J.; Back, Stephanie L.; Larue, Huachun; Brayton, Bonnie R.; Burek, Amanda J.; Tiwari, Shiv; Adam, Luc; Morrell, James A.; Caldo, Rico A.; Huai, Qing; Kouadio, Jean-Louis K.; Kuehn, Rosemarie; Sant, Anagha M.; Wingbermuehle, William J.; Sala, Rodrigo; Foster, Matt; Kinser, Josh D.; Mohanty, Radha; Jiang, Dongming; Ziegler, Todd E.; Huang, Mingya G.; Kuriakose, Saritha V.; Skottke, Kyle; Repetti, Peter P.; Reuber, T. Lynne; Ruff, Thomas G.; Petracek, Marie E.; Loida, Paul J.

    2014-01-01

    ATHB17 (AT2G01430) is an Arabidopsis gene encoding a member of the α-subclass of the homeodomain leucine zipper class II (HD-Zip II) family of transcription factors. The ATHB17 monomer contains four domains common to all class II HD-Zip proteins: a putative repression domain adjacent to a homeodomain, leucine zipper, and carboxy terminal domain. However, it also possesses a unique N-terminus not present in other members of the family. In this study we demonstrate that the unique 73 amino acid N-terminus is involved in regulation of cellular localization of ATHB17. The ATHB17 protein is shown to function as a transcriptional repressor and an EAR-like motif is identified within the putative repression domain of ATHB17. Transformation of maize with an ATHB17 expression construct leads to the expression of ATHB17Δ113, a truncated protein lacking the first 113 amino acids which encodes a significant portion of the repression domain. Because ATHB17Δ113 lacks the repression domain, the protein cannot directly affect the transcription of its target genes. ATHB17Δ113 can homodimerize, form heterodimers with maize endogenous HD-Zip II proteins, and bind to target DNA sequences; thus, ATHB17Δ113 may interfere with HD-Zip II mediated transcriptional activity via a dominant negative mechanism. We provide evidence that maize HD-Zip II proteins function as transcriptional repressors and that ATHB17Δ113 relieves this HD-Zip II mediated transcriptional repression activity. Expression of ATHB17Δ113 in maize leads to increased ear size at silking and, therefore, may enhance sink potential. We hypothesize that this phenotype could be a result of modulation of endogenous HD-Zip II pathways in maize. PMID:24736658

  18. Expression of a truncated ATHB17 protein in maize increases ear weight at silking.

    PubMed

    Rice, Elena A; Khandelwal, Abha; Creelman, Robert A; Griffith, Cara; Ahrens, Jeffrey E; Taylor, J Philip; Murphy, Lesley R; Manjunath, Siva; Thompson, Rebecca L; Lingard, Matthew J; Back, Stephanie L; Larue, Huachun; Brayton, Bonnie R; Burek, Amanda J; Tiwari, Shiv; Adam, Luc; Morrell, James A; Caldo, Rico A; Huai, Qing; Kouadio, Jean-Louis K; Kuehn, Rosemarie; Sant, Anagha M; Wingbermuehle, William J; Sala, Rodrigo; Foster, Matt; Kinser, Josh D; Mohanty, Radha; Jiang, Dongming; Ziegler, Todd E; Huang, Mingya G; Kuriakose, Saritha V; Skottke, Kyle; Repetti, Peter P; Reuber, T Lynne; Ruff, Thomas G; Petracek, Marie E; Loida, Paul J

    2014-01-01

    ATHB17 (AT2G01430) is an Arabidopsis gene encoding a member of the α-subclass of the homeodomain leucine zipper class II (HD-Zip II) family of transcription factors. The ATHB17 monomer contains four domains common to all class II HD-Zip proteins: a putative repression domain adjacent to a homeodomain, leucine zipper, and carboxy terminal domain. However, it also possesses a unique N-terminus not present in other members of the family. In this study we demonstrate that the unique 73 amino acid N-terminus is involved in regulation of cellular localization of ATHB17. The ATHB17 protein is shown to function as a transcriptional repressor and an EAR-like motif is identified within the putative repression domain of ATHB17. Transformation of maize with an ATHB17 expression construct leads to the expression of ATHB17Δ113, a truncated protein lacking the first 113 amino acids which encodes a significant portion of the repression domain. Because ATHB17Δ113 lacks the repression domain, the protein cannot directly affect the transcription of its target genes. ATHB17Δ113 can homodimerize, form heterodimers with maize endogenous HD-Zip II proteins, and bind to target DNA sequences; thus, ATHB17Δ113 may interfere with HD-Zip II mediated transcriptional activity via a dominant negative mechanism. We provide evidence that maize HD-Zip II proteins function as transcriptional repressors and that ATHB17Δ113 relieves this HD-Zip II mediated transcriptional repression activity. Expression of ATHB17Δ113 in maize leads to increased ear size at silking and, therefore, may enhance sink potential. We hypothesize that this phenotype could be a result of modulation of endogenous HD-Zip II pathways in maize.

  19. Antibiotic free selection for the high level biosynthesis of a silk-elastin-like protein

    PubMed Central

    Barroca, Mário; Rodrigues, Paulo; Sobral, Rómulo; Costa, M. Manuela R.; Chaves, Susana R.; Machado, Raul; Casal, Margarida; Collins, Tony

    2016-01-01

    Silk-elastin-like proteins (SELPs) are a family of genetically engineered recombinant protein polymers exhibiting mechanical and biological properties suited for a wide range of applications in the biomedicine and materials fields. They are being explored as the next generation of biomaterials but low productivities and use of antibiotics during production undermine their economic viability and safety. We have developed an industrially relevant, scalable, fed-batch process for the high level production of a novel SELP in E. coli in which the commonly used antibiotic selection marker of the expression vector is exchanged for a post segregational suicide system, the separate-component-stabilisation system (SCS). SCS significantly augments SELP productivity but also enhances the product safety profile and reduces process costs by eliminating the use of antibiotics. Plasmid content increased following induction but no significant differences in plasmid levels were discerned when using SCS or the antibiotic selection markers under the controlled fed-batch conditions employed. It is suggested that the absence of competing plasmid-free cells improves host cell viability and enables increased productivity with SCS. With the process developed, 12.8 g L−1 purified SELP was obtained, this is the highest SELP productivity reported to date and clearly demonstrates the commercial viability of these promising polymers. PMID:27982135

  20. Morphology and primary crystal structure of a silk-like protein polymer synthesized by genetically engineered Escherichia coli bacteria.

    PubMed

    Anderson, J P; Cappello, J; Martin, D C

    1994-08-01

    The morphology and primary crystal structure of SLPF, a protein polymer produced by genetically engineered Escherichia coli bacteria, were characterized. SLPF is a segmented copolymer consisting of amino acid sequence blocks modeled on the crystalline segments of silk fibroin and the cell attachment domain of human fibronectin. Wide angle x-ray scattering (WAXS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), selected area electron diffraction (SAED), and molecular simulations were used to analyze the primary crystal structure of SLPF. TEM experiments conducted on SLPF droplets cast from formic acid on amorphous carbon film demonstrated that these protein films have a microstructure formed of woven sheaves. The sheaves are composed of well-defined whisker crystallites. The width of the whiskers, 11.8 +/- 2.2 nm, may be correlated to the length of the silk-like segment in SLPF as predicted by molecular simulations. WAXS data, TEM images, SAED, patterns, molecular simulations, and theoretical diffraction patterns all were consistent with the crankshaft model proposed for Silk I by Lotz and Keith.

  1. Biomechanics of Spider Silks

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-03-02

    observed attachment to the sericin coat (sem picture above) and slippage of the silk fibroin fibres. Hence it appears that choosing silk cocoon thin...several thick layers of sericin coating 9,10. Both fibroin and sericin are proteins, but of very different composition and properties 𔃺. The two brins...produced and coated in separate ducts, are pressed together while still inside the animal; the sericin hardens in air and typically on the cocoon to

  2. Hydrophobic drug-triggered self-assembly of nanoparticles from silk-elastin-like protein polymers for drug delivery.

    PubMed

    Xia, Xiao-Xia; Wang, Ming; Lin, Yinan; Xu, Qiaobing; Kaplan, David L

    2014-03-10

    Silk-elastin-like protein polymers (SELPs) combine the mechanical and biological properties of silk and elastin. These properties have led to the development of various SELP-based materials for drug delivery. However, SELPs have rarely been developed into nanoparticles, partially due to the complicated fabrication procedures, nor assessed for potential as an anticancer drug delivery system. We have recently constructed a series of SELPs (SE8Y, S2E8Y, and S4E8Y) with various ratios of silk to elastin blocks and described their capacity to form micellar-like nanoparticles upon thermal triggering. In this study, we demonstrate that doxorubicin, a hydrophobic antitumor drug, can efficiently trigger the self-assembly of SE8Y (SELPs with silk to elastin ratio of 1:8) into uniform micellar-like nanoparticles. The drug can be loaded in the SE8Y nanoparticles with an efficiency around 6.5% (65 ng doxorubicin/μg SE8Y), S2E8Y with 6%, and S4E8Y with 4%, respectively. In vitro studies with HeLa cell lines demonstrate that the protein polymers are not cytotoxic (IC50 > 200 μg/mL), while the doxorubicin-loaded SE8Y nanoparticles showed a 1.8-fold higher cytotoxicity than the free drug. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and flow cytometry indicate significant uptake of the SE8Y nanoparticles by the cells and suggest internalization of the nanoparticles through endocytosis. This study provides an all-aqueous, facile method to prepare nanoscale, drug-loaded SELPs packages with potential for tumor cell treatments.

  3. The promotion of osseointegration of titanium surfaces by coating with silk protein sericin.

    PubMed

    Nayak, Sunita; Dey, Tuli; Naskar, Deboki; Kundu, Subhas C

    2013-04-01

    A promising strategy to influence the osseointegration process around orthopaedic titanium implants is the immobilization of bioactive molecules. This recruits appropriate interaction between the surface and the tissue by directing cells adhesion, proliferation, differentiation and active matrix remodelling. In this study, we aimed to investigate the functionalization of metallic implant titanium with silk protein sericin. Titanium surface was immobilized with non-mulberry Antheraea mylitta sericin using glutaraldehyde as crosslinker. To analyse combinatorial effects the sericin immobilized titanium was further conjugated with integrin binding peptide sequence Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) using ethyl (dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide and N-hydroxysulfosuccinimide as coupling agents. The surface of sericin immobilized titanium was characterized biophysically. Osteoblast-like cells were cultured on sericin and sericin/RGD functionalized titanium and found to be more viable than those on pristine titanium. The enhanced adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation of osteoblast cells were observed. RT-PCR analysis showed that mRNA expressions of bone sialoprotein, osteocalcin and alkaline phosphatase were upregulated in osteoblast cells cultured on sericin and sericin/RGD immobilized titanium substrates. Additionally, no significant amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1β and nitric oxide production were recorded when macrophages cells and osteoblast-macrophages co culture cells were grown on sericin immobilized titanium. The findings demonstrate that the sericin immobilized titanium surfaces are potentially useful bioactive coated materials for titanium-based medical implants.

  4. Silk-elastin-like protein polymer matrix for intraoperative delivery of an oncolytic vaccinia virus

    PubMed Central

    Price, Daniel L.; Li, Pingdong; Chen, Chun-Hao; Wong, Danni; Yu, Zhenkun; Chen, Nanhai G.; Yu, Yong A.; Szalay, Aladar A.; Cappello, Joseph; Fong, Yuman; Wong, Richard J.

    2016-01-01

    Background Oncolytic viral efficacy may be limited by the penetration of the virus into tumors. This may be enhanced by intraoperative application of virus immediately after surgical resection. Methods Oncolytic vaccinia virus GLV-1h68 was delivered in silk-elastin-like protein polymer (SELP) in vitro and in vivo in anaplastic thyroid carcinoma cell line 8505c in nude mice. Results GLV-1h68 in SELP infected and lysed anaplastic thyroid cancer cells in vitro equally as effectively as in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), and at 1 week retains a thousand fold greater infectious plaque-forming units. In surgical resection models of residual tumor, GLV-1h68 in SELP improves tumor control and shows increased viral β-galactosidase expression as compared to PBS. Conclusion The use of SELP matrix for intraoperative oncolytic viral delivery protects infectious viral particles from degradation, facilitates sustained viral delivery and transgene expression, and improves tumor control. Such optimization of methods of oncolytic viral delivery may enhance therapeutic outcomes. PMID:25244076

  5. Silk protein as a new optically transparent adhesion layer for an ultra-smooth sub-10 nm gold layer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Min, Kyungtaek; Umar, Muhammad; Ryu, Shinyoung; Lee, Soonil; Kim, Sunghwan

    2017-03-01

    Ultra-thin and ultra-smooth gold (Au) films are appealing for photonic applications including surface plasmon resonances and transparent contacts. However, poor adhesion at the Au–dielectric interface prohibits the formation of a mechanically stable, ultra-thin, and ultra-smooth Au film. A conventional solution is to use a metallic adhesion layer, such as titanium and chromium, however such layers cause the optical properties of pure Au to deteriorate. Here we report the use of silk protein to enhance the adhesion at the Au–dielectric interface, thus obtaining ultra-smooth sub-10 nm Au films. The Au films that were deposited onto the silk layer exhibited superior surface roughness to those deposited on SiO2, Si, and poly(methyl methacrylate), along with improved adhesion, electrical conductivity, and optical transparency. Additionally, we confirm that a metal–insulator–metal optical resonator can be successfully generated using a silk insulating layer without the use of a metallic adhesion layer.

  6. Hierarchical self-assembly of spider silk-like block copolymers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krishnaji, Sreevidhya; Huang, Wenwen; Cebe, Peggy; Kaplan, David

    2011-03-01

    Block copolymers provide an attractive venue to study well-defined nano-structures that self-assemble to generate functionalized nano- and mesoporous materials. In the present study, a novel family of spider silk-like block copolymers was designed, bioengineered and characterized to study the impact of sequence chemistry, secondary structure and block length on assembled morphology. Genetic variants of native spider dragline silk (major ampullate spidroin I, Nephila clavipes) were used as polymer building blocks. Characterization by FTIR revealed increased ?-sheet content with increasing hydrophobic A blocks; SEM revealed spheres, rod-like structures, bowl-shaped and giant compound micelles. Langmuir Blodgett monolayers were prepared at the air-water interface at different surface pressures and monolayer films analyzed by AFM revealed oblate to prolate structures. Circular micelles, rod-like, densely packed circular structures were observed for HBA6 at increasing surface pressure. Exploiting hierarchical assembly provide a promising approach to rationale designs of protein block copolymer systems, allowing comparison to traditional synthetic systems.

  7. 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...

  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.

  9. Structural Origins of Silk Piezoelectricity

    PubMed Central

    Yucel, Tuna; Cebe, Peggy

    2012-01-01

    Uniaxially oriented, piezoelectric silk films were prepared by a two-step method that involved: (1) air drying aqueous, regenerated silk fibroin solutions into films, and (2) drawing the silk films to a desired draw ratio. The utility of two different drawing techniques, zone drawing and water immersion drawing were investigated for processing the silk for piezoelectric studies. Silk films zone drawn to a ratio of λ= 2.7 displayed relatively high dynamic shear piezoelectric coefficients of d14 = −1.5 pC/N, corresponding to over two orders of magnitude increase in d14 due to film drawing. A strong correlation was observed between the increase in the silk II, β-sheet content with increasing draw ratio measured by FTIR spectroscopy (Cβ∝ e2.5 λ), the concomitant increasing degree of orientation of β-sheet crystals detected via WAXD (FWHM = 0.22° for λ= 2.7), and the improvement in silk piezoelectricity (d14∝ e2.4 λ). Water immersion drawing led to a predominantly silk I structure with a low degree of orientation (FWHM = 75°) and a much weaker piezoelectric response compared to zone drawing. Similarly, increasing the β-sheet crystallinity without inducing crystal alignment, e.g. by methanol treatment, did not result in a significant enhancement of silk piezoelectricity. Overall, a combination of a high degree of silk II, β-sheet crystallinity and crystalline orientation are prerequisites for a strong piezoelectric effect in silk. Further understanding of the structural origins of silk piezoelectricity will provide important options for future biotechnological and biomedical applications of this protein. PMID:23335872

  10. Structural Insights into Water-Based Spider Silk Protein-Nanoclay Composites with Excellent Gas and Water Vapor Barrier Properties.

    PubMed

    Doblhofer, Elena; Schmid, Jasmin; Rieß, Martin; Daab, Matthias; Suntinger, Magdalena; Habel, Christoph; Bargel, Hendrik; Hugenschmidt, Christoph; Rosenfeldt, Sabine; Breu, Josef; Scheibel, Thomas

    2016-09-28

    Nature reveals a great variety of inorganic-organic composite materials exhibiting good mechanical properties, high thermal and chemical stability, and good barrier properties. One class of natural bio-nanocomposites, e.g. found in mussel shells, comprises protein matrices with layered inorganic fillers. Inspired by such natural bio-nanocomposites, the cationic recombinant spider silk protein eADF4(κ16) was processed together with the synthetic layered silicate sodium hectorite in an all-aqueous setup. Drop-casting of this bio-nanocomposite resulted in a thermally and chemically stable film reflecting a one-dimensional crystal. Surprisingly, this bio-nanocomposite coating was, though produced in an all-aqueous process, completely water insoluble. Analyzing the structural details showed a low inner free volume due to the well-oriented self-assembly/alignment of the spider silk proteins on the nanoclay surface, yielding high oxygen and water vapor barrier properties. The here demonstrated properties in combination with good biocompatibility qualify this new bio-nanocomposite to be used in packaging applications.

  11. Spider wrapping silk fibre architecture arising from its modular soluble protein precursor

    PubMed Central

    Tremblay, Marie-Laurence; Xu, Lingling; Lefèvre, Thierry; Sarker, Muzaddid; Orrell, Kathleen E.; Leclerc, Jérémie; Meng, Qing; Pézolet, Michel; Auger, Michèle; Liu, Xiang-Qin; Rainey, Jan K.

    2015-01-01

    Spiders store spidroins in their silk glands as high concentration aqueous solutions, spinning these dopes into fibres with outstanding mechanical properties. Aciniform (or wrapping) silk is the toughest spider silk and is devoid of the short amino acid sequence motifs characteristic of the other spidroins. Using solution-state NMR spectroscopy, we demonstrate that the 200 amino acid Argiope trifasciata AcSp1 repeat unit contrasts with previously characterized spidroins, adopting a globular 5-helix bundle flanked by intrinsically disordered N- and C-terminal tails. Split-intein-mediated segmental NMR-active isotope-enrichment allowed unambiguous demonstration of modular and malleable “beads-on-a-string” concatemeric behaviour. Concatemers form fibres upon manual drawing with silk-like morphology and mechanical properties, alongside secondary structuring and orientation consistent with native AcSp1 fibres. AcSp1 structural stability varies locally, with the fifth helix denaturing most readily. The structural transition of aciniform spidroin from a mostly α-helical dope to a mixed α-helix/β-sheet-containing fibre can be directly related to spidroin architecture and stability. PMID:26112753

  12. 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

    2015-11-09

    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.

  13. Silk Polymer Designs for Improved Expression and Processing

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-10-28

    formed from regenerated silk fibroin using freeze- drying, salt leaching and gas foaming techniques with porosities up to 99% and pore sizes...materials. The formation of this beta sheet silk structure (termed silk II) was induced by nitrogen gas , likely due to dehydration effects, as is...silks in new ways to integrate inorganic components directly with the protein material, the hydrophobic nature of silk excludes the additional chimeric

  14. Structure and function of the major ampullate spinning duct of the golden orb weaver, Nephila edulis.

    PubMed

    Davies, G J G; Knight, D P; Vollrath, F

    2013-10-01

    Silks are fibres produced by spiders, some insects and even a crustacean, and are formed from protein solution by a pulltrusion process that is not well understood. Here we describe three aspects of the functional anatomy of the spinning apparatus in a spider: (i) changes in the diameter of the duct of the silk gland along its length for individuals at different stages of development, (ii) the correlation between the morphology of the duct and size and (iii) changes in the thickness of the wall of the duct. We conclude that in the distal part of the duct both the lumen's geometry and change in diameter with distance remains remarkably constant as the duct increases in length from moult to moult as the spider grows. This suggests constancy in the region where the nascent silk filament is drawn down within the lumen of the duct, which is likely to be fundamental for forming strong and tough fibres.

  15. The role of 3D structure and protein conformation on the innate and adaptive immune responses to silk-based biomaterials.

    PubMed

    Bhattacharjee, Maumita; Schultz-Thater, Elke; Trella, Emanuele; Miot, Sylvie; Das, Sanskrita; Loparic, Marko; Ray, Alok R; Martin, Ivan; Spagnoli, Giulio C; Ghosh, Sourabh

    2013-11-01

    We have investigated monocyte and T cell responsiveness to silk based biomaterials of different physico-chemical characteristics. Here we report that untransformed CD14+ human monocytes respond to overnight exposure to silk fibroin-based biomaterials in tridimensional form by IL-1β and IL-6, but not IL-10 gene expression and protein production. In contrast, fibroin based materials in bidimensional form are unable to stimulate monocyte responsiveness. The elicitation of these effects critically requires contact between biomaterials and responding cells, is not sustained and becomes undetectable in longer term cultures. We also observed that NF-κβ and p38 MAP kinase play key roles in monocyte activation by silk-based biomaterials. On the other hand, fibroin based materials, irrespective of their physico-chemical characteristics appeared to be unable to induce the activation of peripheral blood T cells from healthy donors, as evaluated by the expression of activation markers and IFN-γ gene.

  16. Physical and biological regulation of neuron regenerative growth and network formation on recombinant dragline silks

    SciTech Connect

    An, Bo; Tang-Schomer, Min D.; Huang, Wenwen; He, Jiuyang; Jones, Justin A.; Lewis, Randolph V.; Kaplan, David L.

    2015-02-11

    In this paper, 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. Finally, this dual regulation mode of MaSp1 could provide an alternative strategy for generating functional silk materials for neural tissue engineering.

  17. Physical and biological regulation of neuron regenerative growth and network formation on recombinant dragline silks

    DOE PAGES

    An, Bo; Tang-Schomer, Min D.; Huang, Wenwen; ...

    2015-02-11

    In this paper, 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 biologicalmore » regulation of neuron growth. These findings indicate that MaSp1 could regulate neuron growth through its physical and biological features. Finally, this dual regulation mode of MaSp1 could provide an alternative strategy for generating functional silk materials for neural tissue engineering.« less

  18. Carotenoid silk coloration is controlled by a carotenoid-binding protein, a product of the Yellow blood gene

    PubMed Central

    Sakudoh, Takashi; Sezutsu, Hideki; Nakashima, Takeharu; Kobayashi, Isao; Fujimoto, Hirofumi; Uchino, Keiro; Banno, Yutaka; Iwano, Hidetoshi; Maekawa, Hideaki; Tamura, Toshiki; Kataoka, Hiroshi; Tsuchida, Kozo

    2007-01-01

    Mechanisms for the uptake and transport of carotenoids, essential nutrients for humans, are not well understood in any animal system. The Y (Yellow blood) gene, a critical cocoon color determinant in the silkworm Bombyx mori, controls the uptake of carotenoids into the intestinal mucosa and the silk gland. Here we provide evidence that the Y gene corresponds to the intracellular carotenoid-binding protein (CBP) gene. In the Y recessive strain, the absence of an exon, likely due to an incorrect mRNA splicing caused by a transposon-associated genomic deletion, generates a nonfunctional CBP mRNA, resulting in colorless hemolymph and white cocoons. Enhancement of carotenoid uptake and coloration of the white cocoon was achieved by germ-line transformation with the CBP gene. This study demonstrates the existence of a genetically facilitated intracellular process beyond passive diffusion for carotenoid uptake in the animal phyla, and paves the way for modulating silk color and lipid content through genetic engineering. PMID:17496138

  19. Biomimetic magnetic silk scaffolds.

    PubMed

    Samal, Sangram K; Dash, Mamoni; Shelyakova, Tatiana; Declercq, Heidi A; Uhlarz, Marc; Bañobre-López, Manuel; Dubruel, Peter; Cornelissen, Maria; Herrmannsdörfer, Thomas; Rivas, Jose; Padeletti, Giuseppina; De Smedt, Stefaan; Braeckmans, Kevin; Kaplan, David L; Dediu, V Alek

    2015-03-25

    Magnetic silk fibroin protein (SFP) scaffolds integrating magnetic materials and featuring magnetic gradients were prepared for potential utility in magnetic-field assisted tissue engineering. Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) were introduced into SFP scaffolds via dip-coating methods, resulting in magnetic SFP scaffolds with different strengths of magnetization. Magnetic SFP scaffolds showed excellent hyperthermia properties achieving temperature increases up to 8 °C in about 100 s. The scaffolds were not toxic to osteogenic cells and improved cell adhesion and proliferation. These findings suggest that tailored magnetized silk-based biomaterials can be engineered with interesting features for biomaterials and tissue-engineering applications.

  20. Spider Silk: Mother Nature's Bio-Superlens.

    PubMed

    Monks, James N; Yan, Bing; Hawkins, Nicholas; Vollrath, Fritz; Wang, Zengbo

    2016-09-14

    It was recently discovered that transparent microspheres and cylinders can function as a super-resolution lens (i.e., superlens) to focus light beyond the diffraction limit. A number of high-resolution applications based on these lenses have been successfully demonstrated and span nanoscopy, imaging, and spectroscopy. Fabrication of these superlenses, however, is often complex and requires sophisticated engineering processes. Clearly an easier model candidate, such as a naturally occurring superlens, is highly desirable. Here, we report for the first time a biological superlens provided by nature: the minor ampullate spider silk spun from the Nephila spider. This natural biosuperlens can distinctly resolve 100 nm features under a conventional white-light microscope with peak wavelength at 600 nm, attaining a resolution of λ/6 that is well beyond the classical limit. Thus, our work opens a new door to develop biology-based optical systems that may provide a new solution to integrating optics in biological systems.

  1. Bombyx mori silk protein films microprocessing with a nanosecond ultraviolet laser and a femtosecond laser workstation: theory and experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lazare, S.; Sionkowska, A.; Zaborowicz, M.; Planecka, A.; Lopez, J.; Dijoux, M.; Louména, C.; Hernandez, M.-C.

    2012-01-01

    Laser microprocessing of several biopolymers from renewable resources is studied. Three proteinic materials were either extracted from the extracellular matrix like Silk Fibroin/Sericin and collagen, or coming from a commercial source like gelatin. All can find future applications in biomedical experimentation, in particular for cell scaffolding. Films of ˜hundred of microns thick were made by aqueous solution drying and laser irradiation. Attention is paid to the properties making them processable with two laser sources: the ultraviolet and nanosecond (ns) KrF (248 nm) excimer and the infrared and femtosecond (fs) Yb:KGW laser. The UV radiation is absorbed in a one-photon resonant process to yield ablation and the surface foaming characteristics of a laser-induced pressure wave. To the contrary, resonant absorption of the IR photons of the fs laser is not possible and does not take place. However, the high field of the intense I>˜1012 W/cm2 femtosecond laser pulse ionizes the film by the multiphoton absorption followed by the electron impact mechanism, yielding a dense plasma capable to further absorb the incident radiation of the end of the pulse. The theoretical model of this absorption is described in detail, and used to discuss the presented experimental effects (cutting, ablation and foaming) of the fs laser. The ultraviolet laser was used to perform simultaneous multiple spots experiments in which energetic foaming yields melt ejection and filament spinning. Airborne nanosize filaments "horizontally suspended by both ends" (0.25 μm diameter and 10 μm length) of silk biopolymer were observed upon irradiation with large fluences.

  2. 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

  3. Structure, composition and mechanical properties of the silk fibres of the egg case of the Joro spider, Nephila clavata (Araneae, Nephilidae).

    PubMed

    Jiang, Ping; Guo, Cong; Lv, Taiyong; Xiao, Yonghong; Liao, Xinjun; Zhou, Bing

    2011-12-01

    The silk egg case and orb web of spiders are elaborate structures that are assembled from a number of components. We analysed the structure, the amino acid and fibre compositions, and the tensile properties of the silk fibres of the egg case of Nephila clavata. SEM shows that the outer and inner covers of the egg case consist of thick, medium and thin silk fibres. The silk fibres of the outer cover of the egg case are probably produced by the major and minor ampullate glands. The silk fibres of the inner cover of the egg case from cylindrical glands appears to be distinct from the silk fibres of the major ampullate glands based on their micro-morphology, mole percent amino acid composition and types, and tensile behaviour and properties. Collectively, our investigations show that N. clavata uses silk fibres from relatively few glands in varying combinations to achieve different physical and chemical properties (e.g., color, diameter, morphology and amino acid composition) and functional and mechanical properties in the different layers of the egg case.

  4. Effects of the amino acid sequence on thermal conduction through β-sheet crystals of natural silk protein.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Lin; Bai, Zhitong; Ban, Heng; Liu, Ling

    2015-11-21

    Recent experiments have discovered very different thermal conductivities between the spider silk and the silkworm silk. Decoding the molecular mechanisms underpinning the distinct thermal properties may guide the rational design of synthetic silk materials and other biomaterials for multifunctionality and tunable properties. However, such an understanding is lacking, mainly due to the complex structure and phonon physics associated with the silk materials. Here, using non-equilibrium molecular dynamics, we demonstrate that the amino acid sequence plays a key role in the thermal conduction process through β-sheets, essential building blocks of natural silks and a variety of other biomaterials. Three representative β-sheet types, i.e. poly-A, poly-(GA), and poly-G, are shown to have distinct structural features and phonon dynamics leading to different thermal conductivities. A fundamental understanding of the sequence effects may stimulate the design and engineering of polymers and biopolymers for desired thermal properties.

  5. 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

  6. State of water, molecular structure, and cytotoxicity of silk hydrogels.

    PubMed

    Numata, Keiji; Katashima, Takuya; Sakai, Takamasa

    2011-06-13

    A novel technique was developed to regulate the bulk water content of silk hydrogels by adjusting the concentrations of silk proteins, which is helpful to investigate the effects of the state of water in polymeric hydrogel on its biological functions, such as cytotoxicity. Gelation of the silk hydrogel was induced with ethanol and its gelation behavior was analyzed by rheometry. The silk hydrogels prepared at various silk concentrations were characterized with respect to their water content, molecular and network structures, state of water, mechanical properties, and cytotoxicity to human mesenchymal stem cells. The network structure of silk hydrogel was heterogeneous with β-sheet and fibrillar structures. The influence of the state of water in the silk hydrogel on the cytotoxicity was recognized by means of differential scanning calorimetry and cell proliferation assay, which revealed that the bound water will support cell-adhesion proteins in the cellular matrix to interact with the surface of the silk hydrogels.

  7. Antihyperlipidemic and body fat-lowering effects of silk proteins with different fibroin/sericin compositions in mice fed with high fat diet.

    PubMed

    Seo, Chung-Won; Um, In Chul; Rico, Catherine W; Kang, Mi Young

    2011-04-27

    The effect of silk protein with different fibroin/sericin compositions on body weight and lipid metabolism in high fat-fed mice was investigated. The animals were given experimental diets for 6 weeks: normal control (NC), high fat (HF) and high fat diet supplemented with F100 (pure fibroin, HF-F100), F81 (81:19 fibroin/sericin, w/w, HF-F81) or F50 (50:50 fibroin/sericin, w/w, HF-F50). The silk protein-fed mice showed markedly reduced body weight and enhanced lipid profile relative to the HF group. In general, the amount of body fat, triglyceride and total plasma cholesterol levels, atherogenic index and free fatty acid level tended to decrease, while the HDL-cholesterol level increased, with increased amount of sericin in the diet. This hypolipidemic effect was partly due to increased fecal lipid excretion, inhibition of lipogenesis and regulation of adipokine production. These findings illustrate that silk protein, particularly sericin, may be beneficial in the prevention of high fat diet-induced hyperlipidemia and obesity.

  8. Characterization of a family of cysteine rich proteins and development of a MaSp1 derived miniature fibroin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chuang, Tyler Casey

    Spider silk displays a unique balance of high tensile strength and extensibility, making it one of the toughest materials on the planet. Dragline silk, also known as the lifeline of the spider, represents one of the best studied fiber types and many labs are attempting to produce synthetic dragline silk fibers for commercial applications. In these studies, we develop a minifibroin for expression studies in bacteria. Using recombinant DNA methodology and protein expression studies, we develop a natural minifibroin that contains the highly conserved N- and C-terminal domains, along with several internal block repeats of MaSp1. We also characterize a family of small cysteine-rich proteins (CRPs) and demonstrate that these factors are present within the spinning dope of the major ampullate gland using MS analysis. Biochemical studies and characterization of one of the family members, CRP1, demonstrate that this factor can self-polymerize into higher molecular weight complexes under oxidizing conditions, but can be converted into a monomeric species under reducing conditions. Self-polymerization of CRP1 is also shown to be independent of pH and salt concentration, two important chemical cues that help fibroin aggregation. Overall, our data demonstrate that the polymerization state of CRP1 is dependent upon redox state, suggesting that the redox environment during fiber extrusion may help regulate the oligomerization of CRP molecules during dragline silk production.

  9. Anti-EGFR-iRGD recombinant protein conjugated silk fibroin nanoparticles for enhanced tumor targeting and antitumor efficiency

    PubMed Central

    Bian, Xinyu; Wu, Puyuan; Sha, Huizi; Qian, Hanqing; Wang, Qing; Cheng, Lei; Yang, Yang; Yang, Mi; Liu, Baorui

    2016-01-01

    In this study, we report a novel kind of targeting with paclitaxel (PTX)-loaded silk fibroin nanoparticles conjugated with iRGD–EGFR nanobody recombinant protein (anti-EGFR-iRGD). The new nanoparticles (called A-PTX-SF-NPs) were prepared using the carbodiimide-mediated coupling procedure and their characteristics were evaluated. The cellular cytotoxicity and cellular uptake of A-PTX-SF-NPs were also investigated. The results in vivo suggested that NPs conjugated with the recombinant protein exhibited more targeting and anti-neoplastic property in cells with high EGFR expression. In the in vivo antitumor efficacy assay, the A-PTX-SF-NPs group showed slower tumor growth and smaller tumor volumes than PTX-SF-NPs in a HeLa xenograft mouse model. A real-time near-infrared fluorescence imaging study showed that A-PTX-SF-NPs could target the tumor more effectively. These results suggest that the anticancer activity and tumor targeting of A-PTX-SF-NPs were superior to those of PTX-SF-NPs and may have the potential to be used for targeted delivery for tumor therapies. PMID:27313461

  10. Rotational-echo double-resonance in complex biopolymers: a study of Nephila clavipes dragline silk.

    PubMed

    Michal, C A; Jelinski, L W

    1998-08-01

    Rotational-Echo Double-Resonance (REDOR) NMR on strategically 13C and 15N labeled samples is used to study the conformation of the LGXQ (X = S, G, or N) motif in the major ampullate gland dragline silk from the spider Nephila clavipes. A method is described for calculating REDOR dephasing curves suitable for background subtractions, using probability distributions of nitrogen atoms surrounding a given carbon site, which are developed from coordinates in the Brookhaven Protein Data Bank. The validity of the method is established by comparison to dephasings observed from natural abundance 13C peaks for G and A. Straightforward fitting of universal REDOR dephasing curves to the background corrected peaks of interest provides results which are not self-consistent, and a more sophisticated analysis is developed which better accounts for 15N labels which have scrambled from the intended positions. While there is likely some heterogeneity in the structures formed by the LGXQ sequences, the data indicate that they all form compact turn-like structures.

  11. Spider Silk Fibers Spun from Soluble Recombinant Silk Produced in Mammalian Cells

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2002-01-01

    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.

  12. An optimized sericin-1 expression system for mass-producing recombinant proteins in the middle silk glands of transgenic silkworms.

    PubMed

    Wang, Feng; Xu, Hanfu; Yuan, Lin; Ma, Sanyuan; Wang, Yuancheng; Duan, Xiaoli; Duan, Jianping; Xiang, Zhonghuai; Xia, Qingyou

    2013-10-01

    The middle silk gland (MSG) of silkworm is thought to be a potential host for mass-producing valuable recombinant proteins. Transgenic MSG expression systems based on the usage of promoter of sericin1 gene (sericin-1 expression system) have been established to produce various recombinant proteins in MSG. However, further modifying the activity of the sericin-1 expression system to yield higher amounts of recombinant proteins is still necessary. In this study, we provide an alternative modification strategy to construct an efficient sericin-1 expression system by using the hr3 enhancer (hr3 CQ) from a Chongqing strain of the Bombyx mori nuclear polyhedrosis virus (BmNPV) and the 3'UTRs of the fibroin heavy chain (Fib-HPA), the fibroin light chain (Fib-LPA), and Sericin1 (Ser1PA) genes. We first analyzed the effects of these DNA elements on expression of luciferase, and found that the combination of hr3 CQ and Ser1PA was most effective to increase the activity of luciferase. Then, hr3 CQ and Ser1PA were used to modify the sericin1 expression system. Transgenic silkworms bearing these modified sericin1 expression vectors were generated by a piggyBac transposon mediated genetic transformation method. Our results showed that mRNA level of DsRed reporter gene in transgenic silkworms containing hr3 CQ and Ser1PA significantly increased by 9 fold to approximately 83 % of that of endogenous sericin1. As the results of that, the production of recombinant RFP increased by 16 fold to 9.5 % (w/w) of cocoon shell weight. We conclude that this modified sericin-1 expression system is efficient and will contribute to the MSG as host to mass produce valuable recombinant proteins.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Förster Resonance Energy Transfer-Paired Hydrogel Forming Silk-Elastin-Like Recombinamers by Recombinant Conjugation of Fluorescent Proteins.

    PubMed

    Ibáñez-Fonseca, Arturo; Alonso, Matilde; Arias, Francisco Javier; Rodríguez-Cabello, José Carlos

    2017-02-15

    In the last decades, recombinant structural proteins have become very promising in addressing different issues such as the lack of traceability of biomedical devices or the design of more sensitive biosensors. Among them, we find elastin-like recombinamers (ELRs), which can be designed to self-assemble into diverse structures, such as hydrogels. Furthermore, they might be combined with other protein polymers, such as silk, to give silk-elastin-like recombinamers (SELRs), holding the properties of both proteins. In this work, due to their recombinant nature, we have fused two different fluorescent proteins (FPs), i.e., the green Aequorea coerulescens enhanced green fluorescent protein and the near-infrared eqFP650, to a SELR able to form irreversible hydrogels through physical cross-linking. These recombinamers showed an emission of fluorescence similar to the single FPs, and they were capable of forming hydrogels with different stiffness (G' = 60-4000 Pa) by varying the concentration of the SELR-FPs. Moreover, the absorption spectrum of SELR-eqFP650 showed a peak greatly overlapping the emission spectrum of the SELR-Aequorea coerulescens enhanced green fluorescent protein. Hence, this enables Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) upon the interaction between two SELR molecules, each one containing a different FP, due to the stacking of silk domains at any temperature and to the aggregation of elastin-like blocks above the transition temperature. This effect was studied by different methods, and a FRET efficiency of 0.06-0.2 was observed, depending on the technique used for its calculation. Therefore, innovative biological applications arise from the combination of SELRs with FPs, such as enhancing the traceability of hydrogels based on SELRs intended for tissue engineering, the development of biosensors, and the prediction of FRET efficiencies of novel FRET pairs.

  16. 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)

  17. Insoluble and flexible silk films containing glycerol.

    PubMed

    Lu, Shenzhou; Wang, Xiaoqin; Lu, Qiang; Zhang, Xiaohui; Kluge, Jonathan A; Uppal, Neha; Omenetto, Fiorenzo; Kaplan, David L

    2010-01-11

    We directly prepared insoluble silk films by blending with glycerol and avoiding the use of organic solvents. The ability to blend a plasticizer like glycerol with a hydrophobic protein like silk and achieve stable material systems above a critical threshold of glycerol is an important new finding with importance for green chemistry approaches to new and more flexible silk-based biomaterials. The aqueous solubility, biocompatibility, and well-documented use of glycerol as a plasticizer with other biopolymers prompted its inclusion in silk fibroin solutions to assess impact on silk film behavior. Processing was performed in water rather than organic solvents to enhance the potential biocompatibility of these biomaterials. The films exhibited modified morphologies that could be controlled on the basis of the blend composition and also exhibited altered mechanical properties, such as improved elongation at break, when compared with pure silk fibroin films. Mechanistically, glycerol appears to replace water in silk fibroin chain hydration, resulting in the initial stabilization of helical structures in the films, as opposed to random coil or beta-sheet structures. The use of glycerol in combination with silk fibroin in materials processing expands the functional features attainable with this fibrous protein, and in particular, in the formation of more flexible films with potential utility in a range of biomaterial and device applications.

  18. Functionalised Silk Fibres

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-07-30

    method. We note that high levels of non-specific binding to silkworm silk have been reported in other laboratories (Lammel et al., 2011...are commonly used to induce ß-sheet formation in reconstituted silkworm silk and 16 result in water insensitive material. FTIR analysis...model for artificial honeybee silk. In contrast, hornet silk (Vespoidea) can be solubilised in lithium bromide (akin to silkworm silk). Therefore, the

  19. 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

  20. Adaptation of caddisfly larval silks to aquatic habitats by phosphorylation of h-fibroin serines.

    PubMed

    Stewart, Russell J; Wang, Ching Shuen

    2010-04-12

    Aquatic caddisflies diverged from a silk-spinning ancestor shared with terrestrial moths and butterflies. Caddisfly larva spin adhesive silk underwater to construct protective shelters with adventitiously gathered materials. A repeating (SX)(n) motif conserved in the H-fibroin of several caddisfly species is densely phosphorylated. In total, more than half of the serines in caddisfly silk may be phosphorylated. Major molecular adaptations allowing underwater spinning of an ancestral dry silk appear to have been phosphorylation of serines and the accumulation of basic residues in the silk proteins. The amphoteric nature of the silk proteins could contribute to silk fiber assembly through electrostatic association of phosphorylated blocks with arginine-rich blocks. The presence of Ca(2+) in the caddisfly larval silk proteins suggest phosphorylated serines could contribute to silk fiber periodic substructure through Ca(2+) crossbridging.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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

  2. 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

    2017-01-05

    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

  3. Silkmapin of Hyriopsis cumingii, a novel silk-like shell matrix protein involved in nacre formation.

    PubMed

    Liu, Xiaojun; Dong, Shaojian; Jin, Can; Bai, Zhiyi; Wang, Guiling; Li, Jiale

    2015-01-25

    Understanding the role of matrix proteins in nacre formation and biomineralization in mollusks is important for the pearl industry. In this study, the gene encoding the novel Hyriopsis cumingii shell matrix protein silkmapin was characterized. The gene encodes a protein of 30.89kDa in which Gly accounts for 34.41% of the amino acid content, and the C-terminal region binds Ca(2+). Secondary structure prediction indicated a predominantly β-fold and a structure typical of filamentous proteins. Real-time quantitative PCR and in situ hybridization showed that silkmapin was expressed in epithelial cells at the edge and pallial of mantle tissue, indicated that silkmapin play roles in the shell nacreous and prismatic layer formation. Further real-time PCR results indicated an involvement in pearl formation via nucleation of calcium carbonate prior to formation of the nacre.

  4. Cloning and Structure of Different Types of Spider Silk

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1988-12-01

    necessary and identify by blockc number) Amino acid sequence from several spider silk proteins have been determined. These include: Nephila dragline (GYGPG...identified from a Nephila silk gland library using an 18 mer probe based on the dragline protein sequence. These have been plague purified and sequencing...YEAR 21: In the past year we have sequenced several more peptide fragments from different spider silks. These include: Nephila cocoon( SAFO), Araneus

  5. LONG-TERM STUDY OF VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUND RECOVERY FROM AMPULATED, DRY, FORTIFIED SOILS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Our objective was to evaluate the stability and extractability of volatile organic compound (VOCs) when fortified on dry soils and stored in sealed ampules. Two desiccator-dried soils were fortified with eight neat VOCs, benzene,toluene,ethylbenzene,o-xylene,1,1,1-trichloroethane...

  6. Effect of pH on the structure of the recombinant C-terminal domain of Nephila clavipes dragline silk protein.

    PubMed

    Gauthier, Martin; Leclerc, Jérémie; Lefèvre, Thierry; Gagné, Stéphane M; Auger, Michèle

    2014-12-08

    Spider silk proteins undergo a complex series of molecular events before being converted into an outstanding hierarchically organized fiber. Recent literature has underlined the crucial role of the C-terminal domain in silk protein stability and fiber formation. However, the effect of pH remains to be clarified. We have thus developed an efficient purification protocol to obtain stable native-like recombinant MaSp1 C-terminal domain of Nephila clavipes (NCCTD). Its structure was investigated as a function of pH using circular dichroism, fluorescence and solution NMR spectroscopy. The results show that the NCCTD structure is very sensitive to pH and suggest that a molten globule state occurs at pH 5.0 and below. Electronic microscopy images also indicate fiber formation at low pH and coarser globular particles at more basic pH. The results are consistent with a spinning process model where the NCCTD acts as an aggregation nucleus favoring the β-aggregation of the hydrophobic polyalanine repeats upon spinning.

  7. 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.

  8. The effect of sterilization on silk fibroin biomaterial properties

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    The effects of common sterilization techniques on the physical and biological properties of lyophilized silk fibroin sponges is described. Sterile silk fibroin sponges were cast using a pre-sterilized silk fibroin solution under aseptic conditions or post-sterilized via autoclaving, gamma 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, gamma 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

  9. Bioactivity of porous biphasic calcium phosphate enhanced by recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2/silk fibroin microsphere.

    PubMed

    Chen, Liang; Gu, Yong; Feng, Yu; Zhu, Xue-Song; Wang, Chun-Zeng; Liu, Hai-Long; Niu, Hai-Yun; Zhang, Chi; Yang, Hui-Lin

    2014-07-01

    To prepare a bioactive bone substitute, which integrates biphasic calcium phosphate (BCP) and rhBMP-2/silk fibroin (SF) microsphere, and to evaluate its characteristics. Hydroxyapatite and β-tricalcium phosphate were integrated with a ratio of 60–40%. RhBMP-2/SF (0.5 μg/1 mg) microsphere was prepared, and its rhBMP-2-release kinetics was assed. After joining pore-forming agent (Sodium chloride, NaCl), porous BCP/rhBMP-2/SF were manufactured, and its characteristics and bioactivity in vitro were evaluated. Mean diameter of rhBMP-2/SF microsphere was 398.7 ± 99.86 nm, with a loading rate of 4.53 ± 0.08%. RhBMP-2 was released in a dual-phase pattern, of which fast-release (nearly half of protein released) focused on the initial 3 days, and slow-release sustained more than 28 days. With the increase in concentration of NaCl, greater was porosity and pore size, but smaller mechanical strength of BCP/rhBMP-2/SF. Material with 150% (w/v) NaCl had an optimal performance, with a porosity of 78.83%, pore size of 293.25 ± 42.77μm and mechanical strength of 31.03 MPa. Proliferation of human placenta-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hPMSCs) on leaching extract medium was similar to the normal medium (P = 0.89), which was better than that on control group (P = 0.03). Activity of alkaline phosphatase on BCP/rhBMP-2/SF surface was higher than on pure BCP at each time point except at 1 day (P < 0.05). RhBMP-2 has a burst release on early times and a sustaining release on later times. BCP/rhBMP-2/SF with 150% (w/v) pore-forming agent has excellent porosity, pore size and mechanical strength. The biomaterial induces proliferation and differentiation hPMSCs effectively.

  10. Cloning and Structure of Different Types of Spider Silk

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1989-12-01

    of peptides derived from Nephila dragline silk we used DNA probes to identify several clones from a silk gland cDNA library. The largest of these...the same protein from Areneus aemmoides. PROGRESS: We have sequenced over 2 kb of two separate clones for the Nephila dragline silk protein. One of the...similar to that seen in Nephila . We have also generated a odes cDNA library from the spider abdomen to have a library for the other silk Jo, j I or type

  11. Proteomic profiling of the photo-oxidation of silk fibroin: implications for historic tin-weighted silk.

    PubMed

    Solazzo, Caroline; Dyer, Jolon M; Deb-Choudhury, Santanu; Clerens, Stefan; Wyeth, Paul

    2012-01-01

    The stability of silk proteins to ultraviolet light is an issue of significant concern in both the appearance retention of silk-derived products and the preservation of historic silk textiles. Until now, evaluation of silk degradation has only been performed at the holistic, rather than molecular level. This article describes the first proteomic profiling of silk photo-oxidation, characterizing protein primary level modification leading to coloration changes, and evaluating the effects of tin weighting on photodegradation. Heavy-chain fibroin, the main proteinaceous component of the silk thread, is a repetitive, highly crystalline protein with a content rich in tyrosine. Photoproducts of tyrosine were characterized and the levels of oxidative modification at the protein primary structural level correlated with changes in coloration and tensile strength. The effect of tin as a weighting agent used on historical fabrics was examined. Tin-weighted fabrics were evaluated following two treatments (pink and dynamite) and proteomic analysis revealed a significant increase in oxidatively modified amino acid residues within the pink-treated silk. These findings offer new insight into the molecular-level oxidation of silk proteins under UV exposure, and the effects of silk treatments in either exacerbating or ameliorating this degradation.

  12. The influence of specific binding of collagen-silk chimeras to silk biomaterials on hMSC behavior.

    PubMed

    An, Bo; DesRochers, Teresa M; Qin, Guokui; Xia, Xiaoxia; Thiagarajan, Geetha; Brodsky, Barbara; Kaplan, David L

    2013-01-01

    Collagen-like proteins in the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes adopt a triple-helix structure with a thermal stability similar to that of animal collagens, can be expressed in high yield in Escherichia coli and can be easily modified through molecular biology techniques. However, potential applications for such recombinant collagens are limited by their lack of higher order structure to achieve the physical properties needed for most biomaterials. To overcome this problem, the S. pyogenes collagen domain was fused to a repetitive Bombyx mori silk consensus sequence, as a strategy to direct specific non-covalent binding onto solid silk materials whose superior stability, mechanical and material properties have been previously established. This approach resulted in the successful binding of these new collagen-silk chimeric proteins to silk films and porous scaffolds, and the binding affinity could be controlled by varying the number of repeats in the silk sequence. To explore the potential of collagen-silk chimera for regulating biological activity, integrin (Int) and fibronectin (Fn) binding sequences from mammalian collagens were introduced into the bacterial collagen domain. The attachment of bioactive collagen-silk chimeras to solid silk biomaterials promoted hMSC spreading and proliferation substantially in comparison to the controls. The ability to combine the biomaterial features of silk with the biological activities of collagen allowed more rapid cell interactions with silk-based biomaterials, improved regulation of stem cell growth and differentiation, as well as the formation of artificial extracellular matrices useful for tissue engineering applications.

  13. Mechanical Properties of Robust Ultrathin Silk Fibroin Films

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-01-01

    extracted from the cocoons prior to sericin removal in order to avoid contamination of the fibroin protein. Silk fibers were prepared as previously...the glue-like sericin proteins. The extracted silk fibroin was dissolved in 9.3 M LiBr solution at 60 °C for 4 h, yielding a 20 wt % solution. The

  14. Molecular studies of a novel dragline silk from a nursery web spider, Euprosthenops sp. (Pisauridae).

    PubMed

    Pouchkina-Stantcheva, Natalia N; McQueen-Mason, Simon J

    2004-08-01

    Various spider species produce dragline silks with different mechanical properties. The primary structure of silk proteins is thought to contribute to the elasticity and strength of the fibres. Previously published work has demonstrated that the dragline silk of Euprosthenops sp. is stiffer then comparable silk of Nephila edulis, Araneus diadematus and Latrodectus mactans. Our studies of Euprosthenops dragline silk at the molecular level have revealed that nursery web spider fibroin has the highest polyalanine content among previously characterised silks and this is likely to contribute to the superior qualities of pisaurid dragline.

  15. Cloning and Structure of Different Types of Spider Silk

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1991-11-10

    December 1, 1988 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES: Clone, sequence and express dragline silk protein from Nephila Clavipes and compare the sequence to clones of the...studies was to obtain sufficient quantities of a single pure type of silk. Spiders were obtained from Florida( Nephila clavipes) or collected locally...and on each different batch of silk. The compositions were similar in every case to those published for that species( Nephila ) or for a closely

  16. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  18. Comparative Study of Silk-Silk Alloy Materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xue, Ye; Jao, Dave; Hu, Wenbing; Wolf, Nathan; Rocks, Eva-Marie; Hu, Xiao

    Silk fibroin materials can be used for various kinds of biomedical applications. We report a comparative study of silk-silk blend materials using thermal analysis and infrared spectroscopy. Four groups of silk-silk blend films: Mori-Tussah, Mori-Muga, Mori-Eri and Mori-Thai, were fabricated from aqueous solutions and blended at different weight ratios, respectively. These silk-silk blend systems exploit the beneficial material properties of both silks. DSC and temperature-modulated DSC were used to measure the transition temperatures and heat capacity of these water-based silk-silk blend films. Fourier transform infrared spectrometer was used to characterize secondary structures of silk-silk blends. This study demonstrates that Mori silk are fully miscible with Tussah, Muga, Eri and Thai silk at different weight ratios without phase separation. Glass transition temperatures, degradation temperatures and the contents of alpha-helix and random coils of those silk-silk blend films can be controlled by changing the contents of different silks in the blend system. The features of Mori silk combined with the attributes of Tussah, Muga, Eri and Thai silk offer a useful suite of materials for a variety of applications in the future.

  19. Structure and function of the silk production pathway in the spider Nephila edulis.

    PubMed

    Vollrath, F; Knight, D P

    1999-01-01

    Our observations on the major ampullate gland of the spider Nephila edulis indicate that the exceptionally tough and strong core and coat composite structure of the dragline thread is formed by the co-drawing of two feedstocks through a single die. The cuticle that lines the gland's duct has the structure of an advanced hollow fibre dialysis membrane and is thought to facilitate a rapid removal of water and change in ionic composition involved in the spinning process. A structure previously termed the 'valve' is thought to advance the broken thread and act as a pump to restart spinning after the accidental internal rupture of a thread. Together, these observations indicate that the spider silk production pathway is highly optimised for the production of silk threads and shows considerable biomimetic potential.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Transgenic Silk Moths to Produce Spider Silk

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2008-01-24

    control number. PLEASE DO NOT RETURN YOUR FORM TO THE ABOVE ADDRESS. 1. REPORT DATE ( DD -MM-YYYY) 2. REPORT TYPE 3. DATES COVERED (From - To) 24-01-08...produce Nephila clavipes dragline-like silk. In order to do this, a chimeric gene called Spidrofibroin ( SpF ) have been constructed. SpF combined the...repetitive domains of spider dragline silk with the N- and C- terminal domains of the Bombyx mori silk gene, Fibroin-H (Fib-H). Various SpF genes have been

  4. Sequence conservation in the C-terminal region of spider silk proteins (Spidroin) from Nephila clavipes (Tetragnathidae) and Araneus bicentenarius (Araneidae).

    PubMed

    Beckwitt, R; Arcidiacono, S

    1994-03-04

    The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has been used to amplify the portion of the Spidroin 1 gene that codes for the C-terminal part of the silk protein of the spider Nephila clavipes. Along with some substitution mutations of minor consequence, the PCR-derived sequence reveals an additional base missing from the previously published Nephila Spidroin 1 sequence. Comparison of the PCR-derived sequence with the equivalent region of Spidroin 2 indicates that the insertion of this single base results in greatly increased similarity in the resulting amino acid sequences of Spidroin 1 and Spidroin 2 (75% over 97 amino acids). The same PCR primers also amplified a fragment of the same length from Araneus bicentenarius. This sequence is also very similar to Spidroin 1 of Nephila (71% over 238 bases excluding the PCR primers, which translates into 76% over 79 amino acids).

  5. 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

  6. Microfibrillar Structure of Silks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Putthanarat, Sirina; Eby, Ronald K.; Adams, W. W.; Liu, G. F.

    1998-03-01

    We have previously observed the dragline silk of Nephila clavipes and the silk of Bombyx mori exhibit a range of morphological feature including microfibers (S. Putthanarat; R.K. Eby; W.W. Adams; G.F. Liu J.M.S.-Pure Appl. Chem. 1996, A33(7), 899) and a layered structure. In successive layers the microfibers appeared to be oriented at different small angles to the fiber axis. Further work with the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) on the silk of B. mori has confirmed these observations and shown other features. One of the latter is a series of raised "steps" spaced somewhat regularly along the fiber. Investigation of peeled three-molted B. mori and Antheraea yamamai (Japanese Tussah) and other silks has shown features very similar to all those in the silk of B. mori. AFM images, characterization, and analyses will be shown for all the silks and their features

  7. Exploring natural silk protein sericin for regenerative medicine: an injectable, photoluminescent, cell-adhesive 3D hydrogel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Zheng; Zhang, Yeshun; Zhang, Jinxiang; Huang, Lei; Liu, Jia; Li, Yongkui; Zhang, Guozheng; Kundu, Subhas C.; Wang, Lin

    2014-11-01

    Sericin, a major component of silk, has a long history of being discarded as a waste during silk processing. The value of sericin for tissue engineering is underestimated and its potential application in regenerative medicine has just begun to be explored. Here we report the successful fabrication and characterization of a covalently-crosslinked 3D pure sericin hydrogel for delivery of cells and drugs. This hydrogel is injectable, permitting its implantation through minimally invasive approaches. Notably, this hydrogel is found to exhibit photoluminescence, enabling bioimaging and in vivo tracking. Moreover, this hydrogel system possesses excellent cell-adhesive capability, effectively promoting cell attachment, proliferation and long-term survival of various types of cells. Further, the sericin hydrogel releases bioactive reagents in a sustained manner. Additionally, this hydrogel demonstrates good elasticity, high porosity, and pH-dependent degradation dynamics, which are advantageous for this sericin hydrogel to serve as a delivery vehicle for cells and therapeutic drugs. With all these unique features, it is expected that this sericin hydrogel will have wide utility in the areas of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

  8. Exploring natural silk protein sericin for regenerative medicine: an injectable, photoluminescent, cell-adhesive 3D hydrogel.

    PubMed

    Wang, Zheng; Zhang, Yeshun; Zhang, Jinxiang; Huang, Lei; Liu, Jia; Li, Yongkui; Zhang, Guozheng; Kundu, Subhas C; Wang, Lin

    2014-11-20

    Sericin, a major component of silk, has a long history of being discarded as a waste during silk processing. The value of sericin for tissue engineering is underestimated and its potential application in regenerative medicine has just begun to be explored. Here we report the successful fabrication and characterization of a covalently-crosslinked 3D pure sericin hydrogel for delivery of cells and drugs. This hydrogel is injectable, permitting its implantation through minimally invasive approaches. Notably, this hydrogel is found to exhibit photoluminescence, enabling bioimaging and in vivo tracking. Moreover, this hydrogel system possesses excellent cell-adhesive capability, effectively promoting cell attachment, proliferation and long-term survival of various types of cells. Further, the sericin hydrogel releases bioactive reagents in a sustained manner. Additionally, this hydrogel demonstrates good elasticity, high porosity, and pH-dependent degradation dynamics, which are advantageous for this sericin hydrogel to serve as a delivery vehicle for cells and therapeutic drugs. With all these unique features, it is expected that this sericin hydrogel will have wide utility in the areas of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

  9. Encapsulation of Volatile Compounds in Silk Microparticles.

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

    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.

  10. Electrodeposited silk coatings for bone implants

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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

  11. Water permeability of spider dragline silk.

    PubMed

    Li, Xiang; Eles, Philip T; Michal, Carl A

    2009-05-11

    The water permeability of spider dragline silk was studied by measuring changes in amide deuteration of D(2)O-soaked silk with solid-state NMR. (13)C-D rotational-echo double-resonance (REDOR) NMR experiments showed that chemical exchange of amide hydrogen occurs in a large fraction of amino acids, including over 50% of alanine residues, which are known to exist predominantly in beta-sheet crystallites. This suggests that a substantial fraction of the crystalline regions are permeable to water, at least on the time scale of hours, implying that they are more dynamic, and therefore susceptible to chemical exchange with water, than previously thought. Wideline deuterium NMR spectra of dried D(2)O-soaked silk showed a combination of quadrupolar broadened and motionally averaged isotropic components whose intensities change on the time scale of hours. These results are interpreted in terms of chemical exchange between deuterium on the protein backbone, residual water within the silk, and water vapor in the ambient atmosphere. A simple compartmental model fits the results well and yields rate constants for the exchange processes. The model requires the inclusion of a compartment that does not undergo exchange. This compartment, likely related to the crystalline region, is interesting because it is accessible to water in wet silk, but impervious to any remaining free water when the silk is dried.

  12. Antibiotic Spider Silk: Site-Specific Functionalization of Recombinant Spider Silk Using "Click" Chemistry.

    PubMed

    Harvey, David; Bardelang, Philip; Goodacre, Sara L; Cockayne, Alan; Thomas, Neil R

    2017-03-01

    In a new, versatile approach to fun-ction-alizing recombinant spider silk, L-azidohomoalanine is introduced residue-specifically in the minispidroin protein 4RepCT through expression in an E. coli methionine auxotroph. Both fluorophores and the antibiotic levofloxacin are attached to this bio-orthogonal amino acid using copper-catalyzed click chemistry, either before or after the silk fibers are self-assembled.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Vortex-Induced Injectable Silk Fibroin Hydrogels

    PubMed Central

    Yucel, Tuna; Cebe, Peggy; Kaplan, David L.

    2009-01-01

    Abstract A novel, to our knowledge, technique was developed to control the rate of β-sheet formation and resulting hydrogelation kinetics of aqueous, native silk solutions. Circular dichroism spectroscopy indicated that vortexing aqueous solutions of silkworm silk lead to a transition from an overall protein structure that is initially rich in random coil to one that is rich in β-sheet content. Dynamic oscillatory rheology experiments collected under the same assembly conditions as the circular dichroism experiments indicated that the increase in β-sheet content due to intramolecular conformational changes and intermolecular self-assembly of the silk fibroin was directly correlated with the subsequent changes in viscoelastic properties due to hydrogelation. Vortexing low-viscosity silk solutions lead to orders-of-magnitude increase in the complex shear modulus, G∗, and formation of rigid hydrogels (G∗ ≈ 70 kPa for 5.2 wt % protein concentration). Vortex-induced, β-sheet-rich silk hydrogels consisted of permanent, physical, intermolecular crosslinks. The hydrogelation kinetics could be controlled easily (from minutes to hours) by changing the vortex time, assembly temperature and/or protein concentration, providing a useful timeframe for cell encapsulation. The stiffness of preformed hydrogels recovered quickly, immediately after injection through a needle, enabling the potential use of these systems for injectable cell delivery scaffolds. PMID:19804736

  16. An experimental confirmation of thermal transitions in native and regenerated spider silks.

    PubMed

    Torres, Fernando G; Troncoso, Omar P; Torres, Carlos; Cabrejos, Wilson

    2013-04-01

    Biological structures such as spider silks are formed by proteins. The physical properties of such proteins are determined by environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity. In this paper, we confirm the thermal transitions that take place in spider silks using differential scanning calorimetry and study how the interaction of spider silk proteins with water affects the onset temperatures for these thermal processes. Native fibres and regenerated films of dragline silk and egg sac silk from Argiope argentata spiders were used to study thermal transitions of protein based structures. For the first time, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) tests were carried out with spider silk samples of relatively large mass (10mg). Previous attempts of DSC tests applied to spider silk samples failed to detect thermal transitions in a conclusive way. The tests reported here, however, show thermal transitions on both natural and regenerated samples that are in agreement with results from dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) tests reported in the literature. The water content on spider silks seems to lower the temperatures at which such thermal transitions take place. The results also confirm that the amorphous regions of native and regenerated spider silk and silk worm silk give rise to similar thermal transitions.

  17. 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,...

  18. 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

  19. 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

    2016-04-22

    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.

  20. Functionalized Silk Materials

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-06-10

    A genetic combination of spider dragline silk sequence (Nephila clavipes) and the silaffin derived R5 peptide of the diatom (Cylindrotheca... sequences identified by phage display into silk, new materials which incorporate mineral binding functional of the peptide while retaining the useful...strong morphological and spatial control are attractive in electronics, biosensors, microfluidic devices, and DNA microarray technology. The novelty

  1. 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'…

  2. Development of new smart materials and spinning systems inspired by natural silks and their applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheng, Jie; Lee, Sang-Hoon

    2015-12-01

    Silks produced by spiders and silkworms are charming natural biological materials with highly optimized hierarchical structures and outstanding physicomechanical properties. The superior performance of silks relies on the integration of a unique protein sequence, a distinctive spinning process, and complex hierarchical structures. Silks have been prepared to form a variety of morphologies and are widely used in diverse applications, for example, in the textile industry, as drug delivery vehicles, and as tissue engineering scaffolds. This review presents an overview of the organization of natural silks, in which chemical and physical functions are optimized, as well as a range of new materials inspired by the desire to mimic natural silk structure and synthesis.

  3. Tissue Regeneration: A Silk Road

    PubMed Central

    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

  4. Tissue Regeneration: A Silk Road.

    PubMed

    Jao, Dave; Mou, Xiaoyang; Hu, Xiao

    2016-08-05

    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.

  5. Spider silks from plants - a challenge to create native-sized spidroins.

    PubMed

    Hauptmann, Valeska; Weichert, Nicola; Rakhimova, Marziya; Conrad, Udo

    2013-10-01

    Silk threads from spiders exhibit extraordinary mechanical properties, such as superior toughness and elasticity. Spider silks consist of several different large repetitive proteins that act as the basic materials responsible for these outstanding features. The production of spider silk protein variants in plants opens up new horizons in the production and functional investigation that enable the use of spider silks in innovative material development, nanotechnology and biomedicine in the future. This review summarizes and discusses production of spider silk protein variants in plants, especially with regards to plant expression systems, purification strategies, and characteristics of spider silk variants. Furthermore, the challenge of producing native-sized recombinant spidroins in planta is outlined, presenting three different strategies for achieving these high repetitive proteins with the help of non-repetitive C-terminal domains, crosslinking transglutaminase, and self-linking inteins. The potential of these fascinating proteins in medicine is also highlighted.

  6. The Silk-protein Sericin Induces Rapid Melanization of Cultured Primary Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells by Activating the NF-κB Pathway.

    PubMed

    Eidet, J R; Reppe, S; Pasovic, L; Olstad, O K; Lyberg, T; Khan, A Z; Fostad, I G; Chen, D F; Utheim, T P

    2016-03-04

    Restoration of the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells to prevent further loss of vision in patients with age-related macular degeneration represents a promising novel treatment modality. Development of RPE transplants, however, requires up to 3 months of cell differentiation. We explored whether the silk protein sericin can induce maturation of primary human retinal pigment epithelial (hRPE) cells. Microarray analysis demonstrated that sericin up-regulated RPE-associated transcripts (RPE65 and CRALBP). Upstream analysis identified the NF-κB pathway as one of the top sericin-induced regulators. ELISA confirmed that sericin stimulates the main NF-κB pathway. Increased levels of RPE-associated proteins (RPE65 and the pigment melanin) in the sericin-supplemented cultures were confirmed by western blot, spectrophotometry and transmission electron microscopy. Sericin also increased cell density and reduced cell death following serum starvation in culture. Inclusion of NF-κB agonists and antagonists in the culture medium showed that activation of the NF-κB pathway appears to be necessary, but not sufficient, for sericin-induced RPE pigmentation. We conclude that sericin promotes pigmentation of cultured primary hRPE cells by activating the main NF-κB pathway. Sericin's potential role in culture protocols for rapid differentiation of hRPE cells derived from embryonic or induced pluripotent stem cells should be investigated.

  7. The Silk-protein Sericin Induces Rapid Melanization of Cultured Primary Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells by Activating the NF-κB Pathway

    PubMed Central

    Eidet, J. R.; Reppe, S.; Pasovic, L.; Olstad, O. K.; Lyberg, T.; Khan, A. Z.; Fostad, I. G.; Chen, D. F.; Utheim, T. P.

    2016-01-01

    Restoration of the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells to prevent further loss of vision in patients with age-related macular degeneration represents a promising novel treatment modality. Development of RPE transplants, however, requires up to 3 months of cell differentiation. We explored whether the silk protein sericin can induce maturation of primary human retinal pigment epithelial (hRPE) cells. Microarray analysis demonstrated that sericin up-regulated RPE-associated transcripts (RPE65 and CRALBP). Upstream analysis identified the NF-κB pathway as one of the top sericin-induced regulators. ELISA confirmed that sericin stimulates the main NF-κB pathway. Increased levels of RPE-associated proteins (RPE65 and the pigment melanin) in the sericin-supplemented cultures were confirmed by western blot, spectrophotometry and transmission electron microscopy. Sericin also increased cell density and reduced cell death following serum starvation in culture. Inclusion of NF-κB agonists and antagonists in the culture medium showed that activation of the NF-κB pathway appears to be necessary, but not sufficient, for sericin-induced RPE pigmentation. We conclude that sericin promotes pigmentation of cultured primary hRPE cells by activating the main NF-κB pathway. Sericin’s potential role in culture protocols for rapid differentiation of hRPE cells derived from embryonic or induced pluripotent stem cells should be investigated. PMID:26940175

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Nonionic and zwitterionic forms of glycylglycylarginine as a part of spider silk protein: Spectroscopic and theoretical study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arı, Hatice; Özpozan, Talat

    2016-01-01

    Glycylglycylarginine as a part of GGX motif of spider silk spidroin in nonionic (non-GGR) and zwitterionic (zwt-GGR) forms have been examined from theoretical and spectroscopic aspects. The most stable conformational isomers of non-GGR and zwt-GGR were obtained through relaxed scan using the DFT/B3LYP with 6-31G(d) basis set. Nonionic and zwitterionic forms of 310-helix structures of GGR have also been calculated and compared with the most stable conformers obtained as a result of conformer analysis of isolated three peptide structures. This comparison should give an idea about the stability contribution of intermolecular interactions between the 310-helix structured peptide chains. O3LYP and B3PW91 hybrid functionals beside B3LYP have also been used for further calculations of geometry optimization, vibrational analysis, Natural Bond Orbital (NBO) analysis, HOMO-LUMO analysis and hydrogen bonding analysis. Normal Mode Analysis was carried through Potential Energy Distribution (PED) calculations by means of VEDA4 program package. IR and Raman spectra of GGR have also been used to relate the spectroscopic data obtained to electronic and structural features.

  11. Biomineralization regulation by nano-sized features in silk fibroin proteins: synthesis of water-dispersible nano-hydroxyapatite.

    PubMed

    Huang, Xiaowei; Liu, Xi; Liu, Shanshan; Zhang, Aili; Lu, Qiang; Kaplan, David L; Zhu, Hesun

    2014-11-01

    In the present study, silk fibroin (SF) was used as a template to prepare nano-hydroxyapatite (nano-HA) via a biomineralization process. We observed that the content of SF affected both the morphology and water dispersibility of nano-HA particles. Scanning electron microscope (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), zetasizer, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were used to examine nano-HA particle features including the surface morphology, aggregation performance, and crystallization. Rod-like nano-HA particles with desired water dispersibility were achieved when the ratio of SF/HA (calculated) was above 7:3. SEM, TEM, and zeta potential results revealed that nano-HA particles were enclosed by the SF which formed a negative charge layer preventing the aggregation of HA nanoparticles in aqueous solution. Moreover, the nano-HA particles were able to re-disperse in water without precipitation for two weeks at room temperature, 60°C, and 90°C. Our work suggested a facile and effective approach of designing water-dispersible nano-HA particles which may have wide potential application in tissue engineering especially bone regeneration.

  12. Thermal and Structural Properties of Silk Biomaterials Plasticized by Glycerol.

    PubMed

    Brown, Joseph E; Davidowski, Stephen K; Xu, Dian; Cebe, Peggy; Onofrei, David; Holland, Gregory P; Kaplan, David L

    2016-12-12

    The molecular interactions of silk materials plasticized using glycerol were studied, as these materials provide options for biodegradable and flexible protein-based systems. Plasticizer interactions with silk were analyzed by thermal, spectroscopic, and solid-state NMR analyses. Spectroscopic analysis implied that glycerol was hydrogen bonded to the peptide matrix, but may be displaced with polar solvents. Solid-state NMR indicated that glycerol induced β-sheet formation in the dried silk materials, but not to the extent of methanol treatment. Fast scanning calorimetry suggested that β-sheet crystal formation in silk-glycerol films appeared to be less organized than in the methanol treated silk films. We propose that glycerol may be simultaneously inducing and interfering with β-sheet formation in silk materials, causing some improper folding that results in less-organized silk II structures even after the glycerol is removed. This difference, along with trace residual glycerol, allows glycerol extracted silk materials to retain more flexibility than methanol processed versions.

  13. Clay-Enriched Silk Biomaterials for Bone Formation

    PubMed Central

    Mieszawska, Aneta J.; Llamas, Jabier Gallego; Vaiana, Christopher A.; Kadakia, Madhavi P.; Naik, Rajesh R.; Kaplan, David L.

    2011-01-01

    The formation of silk protein/clay composite biomaterials for bone tissue formation is described. Silk fibroin serves as an organic scaffolding material offering mechanical stability suitable for bone specific uses. Clay montmorillonite (Cloisite ® Na+) and sodium silicate are sources of osteoinductive silica-rich inorganic species, analogous to bioactive bioglass-like bone repair biomaterial systems. Different clay particle-silk composite biomaterial films were compared to silk films doped with sodium silicate as controls for support of human bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) in osteogenic culture. The cells adhered and proliferated on the silk/clay composites over two weeks. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR analysis revealed increased transcript levels for alkaline phosphatase (ALP), bone sialoprotein (BSP), and collagen type 1 (Col I) osteogenic markers in the cells cultured on the silk/clay films in comparison to the controls. Early evidence for bone formation based on collagen deposition at the cell-biomaterial interface was also found, with more collagen observed for the silk films with higher contents of clay particles. The data suggest that the silk/clay composite systems may be useful for further study toward bone regenerative needs. PMID:21549864

  14. Stabilization and release of enzymes from silk films.

    PubMed

    Lu, Qiang; Wang, Xiaoqin; Hu, Xiao; Cebe, Peggy; Omenetto, Fiorenzo; Kaplan, David L

    2010-04-08

    A significant challenge remains to protect protein drugs from inactivation during production, storage, and use. In the present study, the stabilization and release of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) in silk films was investigated. Water-insoluble silk films were prepared under mild aqueous conditions, maintaining the activity of the entrapped enzyme. Depending on film processing and post-processing conditions, HRP retained more than 90% of the initial activity at 4 degrees C, room temperature and 37 degrees C over two months. The stability of protein drugs in silk films is attributed to intermolecular interactions between the silk and the enzymes, based on Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The unique structural feature of silk molecules, periodic hydrophobic-hydrophilic domains, enabled strong interactions with proteins. The entrapped protein was present in two states, untrapped active and trapped inactive forms. The ratio between the two forms varied according to processing conditions. Proteolytic degradation and dissolution of the silk films resulted in the release of the bound enzyme which was otherwise not released by diffusion; enzyme recovered full activity upon release. There was a linear relationship between silk degradation/dissolution and the release of entrapped enzyme. Modifying the secondary structure of the silk matrix and the interactions with the non-crystalline domains resulted in control of the film degradation or dissolution rate, and therefore the release rate of the entrapped enzyme. Based on the above results, silk materials are an intriguing carrier for proteins in terms of both retention of activity and controllable release kinetics from the films.

  15. 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

  16. Silk: A Potential Medium for Tissue Engineering

    PubMed Central

    Sobajo, Cassandra; Behzad, Farhad; Yuan, Xue-Feng; Bayat, Ardeshir

    2008-01-01

    Objective: Human skin is a complex bilayered organ that serves as a protective barrier against the environment. The loss of integrity of skin by traumatic experiences such as burns and ulcers may result in considerable disability or ultimately death. Therefore, in skin injuries, adequate dermal substitutes are among primary care targets, aimed at replacing the structural and functional properties of native skin. To date, there are very few single application tissue-engineered dermal constructs fulfilling this criterion. Silk produced by the domestic silkworm, Bombyx mori, has a long history of use in medicine. It has recently been increasingly investigated as a promising biomaterial for dermal constructs. Silk contains 2 fibrous proteins, sericin and fibroin. Each one exhibits unique mechanical and biological properties. Methods: Comprehensive review of randomized-controlled trials investigating current dermal constructs and the structures and properties of silk-based constructs on wound healing. Results: This review revealed that silk-fibroin is regarded as the most promising biomaterial, providing options for the construction of tissue-engineered skin. Conclusion: The research available indicates that silk fibroin is a suitable biomaterial scaffold for the provision of adequate dermal constructs. PMID:18997857

  17. Structural characterization of nanofiber silk produced by embiopterans (webspinners)†

    PubMed Central

    Addison, J. Bennett; Popp, Thomas M. Osborn; Weber, Warner S.; Edgerly, Janice S.; Holland, Gregory P.; Yarger, Jeffery L.

    2014-01-01

    Embiopterans produce silken galleries and sheets using exceptionally fine silk fibers in which they live and breed. In this study, we use electron microscopy (EM), Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR) techniques to elucidate the molecular level protein structure of webspinner (embiid) silks. Silks from two species Antipaluria urichi and Aposthonia ceylonica are studied in this work. Electron microscopy images show that the fibers are about 90–100 nm in diameter, making webspinner silks among the finest of all known animal silks. Structural studies reveal that the silk protein core is dominated by β-sheet structures, and that the protein core is coated with a hydrophobic alkane-rich surface coating. FTIR spectra of native embiid silk shows characteristic alkane CH2 stretchings near 2800–2900 cm−1, which decrease approximately 50% after washing the silk with 2 : 1 CHCl3 : MeOH. Furthermore, 13C ssNMR data shows a significant CH2 resonance that is strongly affected by the presence of water, supporting the idea that the silk fibers are coated with a hydrocarbon-rich layer. Such a layer is likely used to protect the colonies from rain. FTIR data also suggests that embiid silks are dominated by β-sheet secondary structures similar to spider and silkworm silk fibers. NMR data confirms the presence of β-sheet nanostructures dominated by serine-rich repetitive regions. A deconvolution of the serine Cβ NMR resonance reveals that approximately 70% of all seryl residues exist in a β-sheet structure. This is consistent with WAXD results that suggest webspinner silks are 70% crystalline, which is the highest crystalline fraction reported for any animal silks. The work presented here provides a molecular level structural picture of silk fibers produced by webspinners. PMID:25383190

  18. 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.

  19. Atomistic model of the spider silk nanostructure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keten, Sinan; Buehler, Markus J.

    2010-04-01

    Spider silk is an ultrastrong and extensible self-assembling biopolymer that outperforms the mechanical characteristics of many synthetic materials including steel. Here we report atomic-level structures that represent aggregates of MaSp1 proteins from the N. Clavipes silk sequence based on a bottom-up computational approach using replica exchange molecular dynamics. We discover that poly-alanine regions predominantly form distinct and orderly beta-sheet crystal domains while disorderly structures are formed by poly-glycine repeats, resembling 31-helices. These could be the molecular source of the large semicrystalline fraction observed in silks, and also form the basis of the so-called "prestretched" molecular configuration. Our structures are validated against experimental data based on dihedral angle pair calculations presented in Ramachandran plots, alpha-carbon atomic distances, as well as secondary structure content.

  20. Greatly Increased Toughness of Infiltrated Spider Silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-04-01

    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.

  1. Segmented nanofibers of spider dragline silk: Atomic force microscopy and single-molecule force spectroscopy

    PubMed Central

    Oroudjev, E.; Soares, J.; Arcidiacono, S.; Thompson, J. B.; Fossey, S. A.; Hansma, H. G.

    2002-01-01

    Despite its remarkable materials properties, the structure of spider dragline silk has remained unsolved. Results from two probe microscopy techniques provide new insights into the structure of spider dragline silk. A soluble synthetic protein from dragline silk spontaneously forms nanofibers, as observed by atomic force microscopy. These nanofibers have a segmented substructure. The segment length and amino acid sequence are consistent with a slab-like shape for individual silk protein molecules. The height and width of nanofiber segments suggest a stacking pattern of slab-like molecules in each nanofiber segment. This stacking pattern produces nano-crystals in an amorphous matrix, as observed previously by NMR and x-ray diffraction of spider dragline silk. The possible importance of nanofiber formation to native silk production is discussed. Force spectra for single molecules of the silk protein demonstrate that this protein unfolds through a number of rupture events, indicating a modular substructure within single silk protein molecules. A minimal unfolding module size is estimated to be around 14 nm, which corresponds to the extended length of a single repeated module, 38 amino acids long. The structure of this spider silk protein is distinctly different from the structures of other proteins that have been analyzed by single-molecule force spectroscopy, and the force spectra show correspondingly novel features. PMID:11959907

  2. A three-dimensional multiporous fibrous scaffold fabricated with regenerated spider silk protein/poly(l-lactic acid) for tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Yu, Qiaozhen; Sun, Chengjun

    2015-02-01

    An axially aligned three-dimensional (3-D) fibrous scaffold was fabricated with regenerated spider silk protein (RSSP)/poly (l-lactic acid) (PLLA) through electrospinning and post treatment. The morphology, mechanical and degradation properties of the scaffold were controlled through the weight ratio of RSSP to PLLA, the thickness of the scaffold and the treatment time. The scaffold with a weight ratio of 2:3 (RSSP:PLLA) had a nanoleaves-on-nanofibers hierarchical nanostructure; the length and thickness of the nanoleaves were about 400 and 30 nm, respectively. The holes of the scaffolds ranged from hundreds of nanometers to several microns. The scaffold showed an ideal mechanical property that it was stiff when dry, but became soft once hydrated in the culture medium. Its degradation rate was very slow in the first 2 months, and then accelerated in the following 2 months. The pH values of the degradation mediums of all the samples remained in the range of 7.40-7.12 during degradation for 6 months. It had good biocompatibility with PC 12 cells. The aligned hierarchical nanostructure could guide the directions of the axon extension. This scaffold has a potential application in Tissue Engineering and controlled release. This study provides a method to produce synthetic or natural biodegradable polymer scaffold with tailored morphology, mechanical, and degradation properties.

  3. Effect of sequence features on assembly of spider silk block copolymers.

    PubMed

    Tokareva, Olena S; Lin, Shangchao; Jacobsen, Matthew M; Huang, Wenwen; Rizzo, Daniel; Li, David; Simon, Marc; Staii, Cristian; Cebe, Peggy; Wong, Joyce Y; Buehler, Markus J; Kaplan, David L

    2014-06-01

    Bioengineered spider silk block copolymers were studied to understand the effect of protein chain length and sequence chemistry on the formation of secondary structure and materials assembly. Using a combination of in vitro protein design and assembly studies, we demonstrate that silk block copolymers possessing multiple repetitive units self-assemble into lamellar microstructures. Additionally, the study provides insights into the assembly behavior of spider silk block copolymers in concentrated salt solutions.

  4. Enzymatic mineralization of silk scaffolds.

    PubMed

    Samal, Sangram K; Dash, Mamoni; Declercq, Heidi A; Gheysens, Tom; Dendooven, Jolien; Van Der Voort, Pascal; Cornelissen, Ria; Dubruel, Peter; Kaplan, David L

    2014-07-01

    The present study focuses on the alkaline phosphatase (ALP) mediated formation of apatitic minerals on porous silk fibroin protein (SFP) scaffolds. Porous SFP scaffolds impregnated with different concentrations of ALP are homogeneously mineralized under physiological conditions. The mineral structure is apatite while the structures differ as a function of the ALP concentration. Cellular adhesion, proliferation, and colonization of osteogenic MC3T3 cells improve on the mineralized SFP scaffolds. These findings suggest a simple process to generate mineralized scaffolds that can be used to enhanced bone tissue engineering-related utility.

  5. An Australian webspinner species makes the finest known insect silk fibers

    SciTech Connect

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

    2009-01-15

    Aposthonia gurneyi, an Australian webspinner species, is a primitive insect that constructs and lives in a silken tunnel which screens it from the attentions of predators. The insect spins silk threads from many tiny spines on its forelegs to weave a filmy sheet. We found that the webspinner silk fibers have a mean diameter of only 65 nm, an order of magnitude smaller than any previously reported insect silk. The purpose of such fine silk may be to reduce the metabolic cost of building the extensive tunnels. At the molecular level, the A. gurneyi silk has a predominantly beta-sheet protein structure. The most abundant clone in a cDNA library produced from the webspinner silk glands encoded a protein with extensive glycine-serine repeat regions. The GSGSGS repeat motif of the A. gurneyi silk protein is similar to the well-known GAGAGS repeat motif found in the heavy fibroin of silkworm silk, which also has beta-sheet structure. As the webspinner silk gene is unrelated to the silk gene of the phylogenetically distant silkworm, this is a striking example of convergent evolution.

  6. Accelerated biodegradation of silk sutures through matrix metalloproteinase activation by incorporating 4-hexylresorcinol

    PubMed Central

    Jo, You-Young; Kweon, HaeYong; Kim, Dae-Won; Kim, Min-Keun; Kim, Seong-Gon; Kim, Jwa-Young; Chae, Weon-Sik; Hong, Sam-Pyo; Park, Young-Hwan; Lee, Si Young; Choi, Je-Yong

    2017-01-01

    Silk suture material is primarily composed of silk fibroin and regarded as a non-resorbable material. It is slowly degraded by proteolysis when it is implanted into the body. 4-Hexylresorcinol (4HR) is a well-known antiseptic. In this study, the biodegradability of 4HR-incorporated silk sutures were compared to that of untreated silk sutures and polyglactin 910 sutures, a commercially available resorbable suture. 4HR-incorporated silk sutures exhibited anti-microbial properties. Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) can digest a wide spectrum of proteins. 4HR increased MMP-2, -3, and -9 expression in RAW264.7 cells. MMP-2, -3, and -9 were able to digest not only silk fibroin but also silk sutures. Consequently, 59.5% of the 4HR-incorporated silk suture material remained at 11 weeks after grafting, which was similar to that of polyglactin 910 degradation (56.4% remained). The residual amount of bare silk suture material at 11 weeks after grafting was 91.5%. The expression levels of MMP-2, -3 and -9 were high in the 4HR-incorporated silk suture-implanted site 12 weeks after implantation. In conclusion, 4HR-treated silk sutures exhibited anti-microbial properties and a similar level of bio-degradation to polyglactin 910 sutures and induced higher expression of MMP-2, -3, and -9 in macrophages. PMID:28205580

  7. Structure and properties of regenerated Antheraea pernyi silk fibroin in aqueous solution.

    PubMed

    Tao, Wei; Li, Mingzhong; Zhao, Chunxia

    2007-04-10

    Antheraea pernyi silk fibroin fibers were dissolved by aqueous lithium thiocyanate to obtain regenerated A. pernyi silk fibroin solution. By means of circular dichroism, (13)C NMR and Raman spectroscopy, the molecular conformation of regenerated A. pernyi silk fibroin in aqueous solution was investigated. The relationship of environmental factors and sol-gel transformation behavior of regenerated A. pernyi silk fibroin was also studied. The molecular conformations of regenerated A. pernyi silk fibroin mainly were alpha-helix and random coil in solution. There also existed a little beta-sheet conformation. It was obviously different with Bombyx mori silk fibroin, whose molecular conformation in solution was only random coil but no alpha-helix existence. With the increase of temperature and solution concentration and with the decrease of solution pH value, the gelation velocity of regenerated A. pernyi silk fibroin solution increased. Especially, it showed that A. pernyi silk fibroin was more sensitive to temperature than B. mori silk fibroin during the sol-gel transformation. The velocity increased obviously when the temperature was above 30 degrees C. During the sol-gel transformation, the molecular conformation of regenerated A. pernyi silk fibroin changed from random coil to beta-sheet structure. The results of these studies provided important insight into the preparation of new biomaterials by silk fibroin protein.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Juvenile hormone stimulated tyrosine kinase-mediated protein phosphorylation in the CNS of the silk worm, Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Arif, A; Shanavas, A; Murthy, Ch R K; Dutta-Gupta, Aparna

    2002-07-01

    In vitro studies with the larval CNS of the silkworm, Bombyx mori revealed the phosphorylation of a 48-kDa protein, which was not dependent on cyclic nucleotides. Studies also revealed modest phosphorylation of this protein by a calcium-dependent but calmodulin-independent mechanism. However, phosphorylation of this protein was greatly enhanced in the presence of juvenile hormone (JH) I by a calcium-independent mechanism. This stimulatory effect of JH was seen in both homogenates as well as in intact CNS of Bombyx. Immunoblotting studies revealed the cross-reaction of this 48-kDa protein with phosphotyrosine monoclonal antibody and the phosphorylation of this protein was inhibited by genistein. This study suggests that the 48-kDa protein is a substrate for tyrosine kinase. The phosphorylation of this protein was also observed in other larval tissues such as salivary gland, fat body, and epidermis of Bombyx.

  12. Recombinant spider silk genetically functionalized with affinity domains.

    PubMed

    Jansson, Ronnie; Thatikonda, Naresh; Lindberg, Diana; Rising, Anna; Johansson, Jan; Nygren, Per-Åke; Hedhammar, My

    2014-05-12

    Functionalization of biocompatible materials for presentation of active protein domains is an area of growing interest. Herein, we describe a strategy for functionalization of recombinant spider silk via gene fusion to affinity domains of broad biotechnological use. Four affinity domains of different origin and structure; the IgG-binding domains Z and C2, the albumin-binding domain ABD, and the biotin-binding domain M4, were all successfully produced as soluble silk fusion proteins under nondenaturing purification conditions. Silk films and fibers produced from the fusion proteins were demonstrated to be chemically and thermally stable. Still, the bioactive domains are concluded to be folded and accessible, since their respective targets could be selectively captured from complex samples, including rabbit serum and human plasma. Interestingly, materials produced from mixtures of two different silk fusion proteins displayed combined binding properties, suggesting that tailor-made materials with desired stoichiometry and surface distributions of several binding domains can be produced. Further, use of the IgG binding ability as a general mean for presentation of desired biomolecules could be demonstrated for a human vascular endothelial growth factor (hVEGF) model system, via a first capture of anti-VEGF IgG to silk containing the Z-domain, followed by incubation with hVEGF. Taken together, this study demonstrates the potential of recombinant silk, genetically functionalized with affinity domains, for construction of biomaterials capable of presentation of almost any desired biomolecule.

  13. Piriform spider silk sequences reveal unique repetitive elements.

    PubMed

    Perry, David J; Bittencourt, Daniela; Siltberg-Liberles, Jessica; Rech, Elibio L; Lewis, Randolph V

    2010-11-08

    Orb-weaving spider silk fibers are assembled from very large, highly repetitive proteins. The repeated segments contain, in turn, short, simple, and repetitive amino acid motifs that account for the physical and mechanical properties of the assembled fiber. Of the six orb-weaver silk fibroins, the piriform silk that makes the attachment discs, which lashes the joints of the web and attaches dragline silk to surfaces, has not been previously characterized. Piriform silk protein cDNAs were isolated from phage libraries of three species: A. trifasciata , N. clavipes , and N. cruentata . The deduced amino acid sequences from these genes revealed two new repetitive motifs: an alternating proline motif, where every other amino acid is proline, and a glutamine-rich motif of 6-8 amino acids. Similar to other spider silk proteins, the repeated segments are large (>200 amino acids) and highly homogenized within a species. There is also substantial sequence similarity across the genes from the three species, with particular conservation of the repetitive motifs. Northern blot analysis revealed that the mRNA is larger than 11 kb and is expressed exclusively in the piriform glands of the spider. Phylogenetic analysis of the C-terminal regions of the new proteins with published spidroins robustly shows that the piriform sequences form an ortholog group.

  14. GC/MS-based metabolomic studies reveal key roles of glycine in regulating silk synthesis in silkworm, Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Chen, Quanmei; Liu, Xinyu; Zhao, Ping; Sun, Yanhui; Zhao, Xinjie; Xiong, Ying; Xu, Guowang; Xia, Qingyou

    2015-02-01

    Metabolic profiling of silkworm, especially the factors that affect silk synthesis at the metabolic level, is little known. Herein, metabolomic method based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was applied to identify key metabolic changes in silk synthesis deficient silkworms. Forty-six differential metabolites were identified in Nd group with the defect of silk synthesis. Significant changes in the levels of glycine and uric acid (up-regulation), carbohydrates and free fatty acids (down-regulation) were observed. The further metabolomics of silk synthesis deficient silkworms by decreasing silk proteins synthesis using knocking out fibroin heavy chain gene or extirpating silk glands operation showed that the changes of the metabolites were almost consistent with those of the Nd group. Furthermore, the increased silk yields by supplying more glycine or its related metabolite confirmed that glycine is a key metabolite to regulate silk synthesis. These findings provide important insights into the regulation between metabolic profiling and silk synthesis.

  15. 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

  16. Increasing silk fibre strength through heterogeneity of bundled fibrils.

    PubMed

    Cranford, Steven W

    2013-05-06

    Can naturally arising disorder in biological materials be beneficial? Materials scientists are continuously attempting to replicate the exemplary performance of materials such as spider silk, with detailed techniques and assembly procedures. At the same time, a spider does not precisely machine silk-imaging indicates that its fibrils are heterogeneous and irregular in cross section. While past investigations either focused on the building material (e.g. the molecular scale protein sequence and behaviour) or on the ultimate structural component (e.g. silk threads and spider webs), the bundled structure of fibrils that compose spider threads has been frequently overlooked. Herein, I exploit a molecular dynamics-based coarse-grain model to construct a fully three-dimensional fibril bundle, with a length on the order of micrometres. I probe the mechanical behaviour of bundled silk fibrils with variable density of heterogenic protrusions or globules, ranging from ideally homogeneous to a saturated distribution. Subject to stretching, the model indicates that cooperativity is enhanced by contact through low-force deformation and shear 'locking' between globules, increasing shear stress transfer by up to 200 per cent. In effect, introduction of a random and disordered structure can serve to improve mechanical performance. Moreover, addition of globules allows a tuning of free volume, and thus the wettability of silk (with implications for supercontraction). These findings support the ability of silk to maintain near-molecular-level strength at the scale of silk threads, and the mechanism could be easily adopted as a strategy for synthetic fibres.

  17. Cross-linking in the silks of bees, ants and hornets.

    PubMed

    Campbell, Peter M; Trueman, Holly E; Zhang, Qiang; Kojima, Katsura; Kameda, Tsunenori; Sutherland, Tara D

    2014-05-01

    Silk production is integral to the construction of nests or cocoons for many Aculeata, stinging Hymenopterans such as ants, bees and wasps. Here we report the sequences of new aculeate silk proteins and compare cross-linking among nine native silks from three bee species (Apis mellifera, Bombus terrestris and Megachile rotundata), three ant species (Myrmecia forficata, Oecophylla smaragdina and Harpegnathos saltator) and three hornets (Vespa analis, Vespa simillima and Vespa mandarinia). The well studied silks of spiders and silkworms are comprised of large proteins that are cross-linked and stabilized predominantly by intra and intermolecular beta sheet structure. In contrast, the aculeate silks are comprised of relatively small proteins that contain central coiled coil domains and comparatively reduced amounts of beta sheet structure. The hornet silks, which have the most beta sheet structure and the greatest amount of amino acid sequence outside the coiled-coil domains, dissolve in concentrated LiBr solution and appear to be stabilized predominantly by beta sheet structure like the classic silks. In contrast, the ant and bee silks, which have less beta sheet and less sequence outside the coiled-coil domains, could not be dissolved in LiBr and appear to be predominantly stabilized by covalent cross-linking. The iso-peptide cross-linker, ε-(γ-glutamyl)-lysine that is produced by transglutaminase enzymes, was demonstrated to be present in all silks by mass spectrometry, but at greater levels in silks of ants and bees. The bee silks and ant cocoons, but not the Oecophylla nest silks, appeared to be further stabilized by tanning reactions.

  18. Water-driven actuation of Ornithoctonus huwena spider silk fibers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Shuyuan; Zhu, Jia; Li, Xinming; Guo, Yang; Fang, Yaopeng; Cheng, Huanyu; Zhu, Hongwei

    2017-01-01

    Spider silk possesses remarkable mechanical properties and can lift weight effectively. Certain kinds of spider silk have unique response to liquid, especially water, because of their hydrophilic proteins, β-sheet characters, and surface structure. The Ornithoctonus huwena (O. huwena) spider is a unique species because it can be bred artificially and it spins silk whose diameter is in nanometer scale. In this work, we report the "shrink-stretch" behavior of the O. huwena spider silk fibers and show how they can be actuated by water to lift weight over long distance, at a fast speed, and with high efficiency. We further rationalize this behavior by analyzing the mechanical energy of the system. The lifting process is energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, allowing applications in actuators, biomimetic muscles, or hoisting devices.

  19. Silk Fibroin as Edible Coating for Perishable Food Preservation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marelli, B.; Brenckle, M. A.; Kaplan, D. L.; Omenetto, F. G.

    2016-05-01

    The regeneration of structural biopolymers into micelles or nanoparticles suspended in water has enabled the design of new materials with unique and compelling properties that can serve at the interface between the biotic and the abiotic worlds. In this study, we leveraged silk fibroin quintessential properties (i.e. polymorphism, conformability and hydrophobicity) to design a water-based protein suspension that self-assembles on the surface of food upon dip coating. The water-based post-processing control of the protein polymorphism enables the modulation of the diffusion of gases through the silk fibroin thin membranes (e.g. O2 and CO2 diffusion, water vapour permeability), which is a key parameter to manage food freshness. In particular, an increased beta-sheet content corresponds to a reduction in oxygen diffusion through silk fibroin thin films. By using the dip coating of strawberries and bananas as proof of principle, we have shown that the formation of micrometre-thin silk fibroin membranes around the fruits helps the management of postharvest physiology of the fruits. Thus, silk fibroin coatings enhance fruits’ shelf life at room conditions by reducing cell respiration rate and water evaporation. The water-based processing and edible nature of silk fibroin makes this approach a promising alternative for food preservation with a naturally derived material.

  20. Silk Fibroin as Edible Coating for Perishable Food Preservation.

    PubMed

    Marelli, B; Brenckle, M A; Kaplan, D L; Omenetto, F G

    2016-05-06

    The regeneration of structural biopolymers into micelles or nanoparticles suspended in water has enabled the design of new materials with unique and compelling properties that can serve at the interface between the biotic and the abiotic worlds. In this study, we leveraged silk fibroin quintessential properties (i.e. polymorphism, conformability and hydrophobicity) to design a water-based protein suspension that self-assembles on the surface of food upon dip coating. The water-based post-processing control of the protein polymorphism enables the modulation of the diffusion of gases through the silk fibroin thin membranes (e.g. O2 and CO2 diffusion, water vapour permeability), which is a key parameter to manage food freshness. In particular, an increased beta-sheet content corresponds to a reduction in oxygen diffusion through silk fibroin thin films. By using the dip coating of strawberries and bananas as proof of principle, we have shown that the formation of micrometre-thin silk fibroin membranes around the fruits helps the management of postharvest physiology of the fruits. Thus, silk fibroin coatings enhance fruits' shelf life at room conditions by reducing cell respiration rate and water evaporation. The water-based processing and edible nature of silk fibroin makes this approach a promising alternative for food preservation with a naturally derived material.

  1. Silk Fibroin as Edible Coating for Perishable Food Preservation

    PubMed Central

    Marelli, B.; Brenckle, M. A.; Kaplan, D. L.; Omenetto, F. G.

    2016-01-01

    The regeneration of structural biopolymers into micelles or nanoparticles suspended in water has enabled the design of new materials with unique and compelling properties that can serve at the interface between the biotic and the abiotic worlds. In this study, we leveraged silk fibroin quintessential properties (i.e. polymorphism, conformability and hydrophobicity) to design a water-based protein suspension that self-assembles on the surface of food upon dip coating. The water-based post-processing control of the protein polymorphism enables the modulation of the diffusion of gases through the silk fibroin thin membranes (e.g. O2 and CO2 diffusion, water vapour permeability), which is a key parameter to manage food freshness. In particular, an increased beta-sheet content corresponds to a reduction in oxygen diffusion through silk fibroin thin films. By using the dip coating of strawberries and bananas as proof of principle, we have shown that the formation of micrometre-thin silk fibroin membranes around the fruits helps the management of postharvest physiology of the fruits. Thus, silk fibroin coatings enhance fruits’ shelf life at room conditions by reducing cell respiration rate and water evaporation. The water-based processing and edible nature of silk fibroin makes this approach a promising alternative for food preservation with a naturally derived material. PMID:27151492

  2. Transcriptomic Analysis of the Anterior Silk Gland in the Domestic Silkworm (Bombyx mori) – Insight into the Mechanism of Silk Formation and Spinning

    PubMed Central

    Chang, Huaipu; Cheng, Tingcai; Wu, Yuqian; Hu, Wenbo; Long, Renwen; Liu, Chun; Zhao, Ping; Xia, Qingyou

    2015-01-01

    Silk proteins are synthesized in the middle and posterior silk glands of silkworms, then transit into the anterior of the silk gland, where the silk fibers are produced, stored and processed. The mechanism of formation and spinning of the silk fibers has not been fully elucidated, and transcriptome analyses specific to the anterior silk gland have not been reported. In the present study, we explored gene expression profiles in five regions of silk gland samples using the RNA-Seq method. As a result, there were 959,979,570 raw reads obtained, of which 583,068,172 reads were mapped to the silkworm genome. A total of 7419 genes were found to be expressed in terms of reads per kilobase of exon model per million mapped reads ≥ 5 in at least one sample. The gene numbers and expression levels of the expressed genes differed between these regions. The differentially expressed genes were analyzed, and 282 genes were detected as up-regulated in the anterior silk gland, compared with the other parts. Functions of these genes were addressed using the gene ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes databases, and seven key pathways were enriched. It suggested that the ion transportation, energy metabolism, protease inhibitors and cuticle proteins played essential roles in the process of silk formation and spinning in the anterior silk gland. In addition, 210 genes were found differently expressed between males and females, which should help to elucidate the mechanism of the quality difference in silk fibers from male and female silkworms. PMID:26418001

  3. 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.

  4. A highly divergent gene cluster in honey bees encodes a novel silk family.

    PubMed

    Sutherland, Tara D; Campbell, Peter M; Weisman, Sarah; Trueman, Holly E; Sriskantha, Alagacone; Wanjura, Wolfgang J; Haritos, Victoria S

    2006-11-01

    The pupal cocoon of the domesticated silk moth Bombyx mori is the best known and most extensively studied insect silk. It is not widely known that Apis mellifera larvae also produce silk. We have used a combination of genomic and proteomic techniques to identify four honey bee fiber genes (AmelFibroin1-4) and two silk-associated genes (AmelSA1 and 2). The four fiber genes are small, comprise a single exon each, and are clustered on a short genomic region where the open reading frames are GC-rich amid low GC intergenic regions. The genes encode similar proteins that are highly helical and predicted to form unusually tight coiled coils. Despite the similarity in size, structure, and composition of the encoded proteins, the genes have low primary sequence identity. We propose that the four fiber genes have arisen from gene duplication events but have subsequently diverged significantly. The silk-associated genes encode proteins likely to act as a glue (AmelSA1) and involved in silk processing (AmelSA2). Although the silks of honey bees and silkmoths both originate in larval labial glands, the silk proteins are completely different in their primary, secondary, and tertiary structures as well as the genomic arrangement of the genes encoding them. This implies independent evolutionary origins for these functionally related proteins.

  5. Modulation of vincristine and doxorubicin binding and release from silk films.

    PubMed

    Coburn, Jeannine M; Na, Elim; Kaplan, David L

    2015-12-28

    Sustained release drug delivery systems remain a major clinical need for small molecule therapeutics in oncology. Here, mechanisms of small molecule interactions with silk protein films were studied with cationic oncology drugs, vincristine and doxorubicin, with a focus on hydrophobicity (non-ionic surfactant) and charge (pH and ionic strength). Interactions were primarily driven by charge interactions between the positively charged drugs and the negatively charged groups within the silk films. Exploiting chemical modifications of silk further modulated the drug interactions in a controlled fashion. Increasing anionic side groups via carboxylate- and sulfonate-modifications of tyrosine side chains in the silk protein using diazonium coupling chemistry, increased drug binding and altered drug release. The effects of silk film protein crystallinity, beta sheet content, on drug binding and release were also explored. Lower crystallinity supported more rapid drug binding when compared to higher crystalline silk films. The drug release kinetics were governed by the protonation state of vincristine and doxorubicin and were tunable based on silk crystallinity and chemistry. These studies depict an approach to characterize small molecule-silk protein interactions and methods to tune drug binding and release kinetics from this protein delivery matrix.

  6. Invited review the coiled coil silk of bees, ants, and hornets.

    PubMed

    Sutherland, Tara D; Weisman, Sarah; Walker, Andrew A; Mudie, Stephen T

    2012-06-01

    In this article, we review current knowledge about the silk produced by the larvae of bees, ants, and hornets [Apoidea and Vespoidea: Hymenoptera]. Different species use the silk either alone or in composites for a variety of purposes including mechanical reinforcement, thermal regulation, or humidification. The characteristic molecular structure of this silk is α-helical proteins assembled into tetrameric coiled coils. Gene sequences from seven species are available, and each species possesses a copy of each of four related silk genes that encode proteins predicted to form coiled coils. The proteins are ordered at multiple length scales within the labial gland of the final larval instar before spinning. The insects control the morphology of the silk during spinning to produce either fibers or sheets. The silk proteins are small and non repetitive and have been produced artificially at high levels by fermentation in E. coli. The artificial silk proteins can be fabricated into materials with structural and mechanical properties similar to those of native silks.

  7. Glass Particulate Contamination from Medications Aspirated from Glass Ampules: Comparison of Filtered Versus Non-Filtered Needles

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1994-09-01

    with giant cells found in the spleen and lungs. A second experiment 3 (Brewer & Dunning, 1947) was conducted where 1,089 mice were injected...crystals, or starch. They conducted experiments where rabbits received I I.V. normal saline via the ear vein. Each rabbit received a different volume...conducted a similar experiment examining the incidence of drug contamination with particles from the external surface of glass ampules. Methylene blue

  8. 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

  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. Transdermal Delivery Devices: Fabrication, Mechanics and Drug Release from Silk**

    PubMed Central

    Raja, Waseem K.; MacCorkle, Scott; Diwan, Izzuddin M.; Abdurrob, Abdurrahman; Lu, Jessica; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G.; Kaplan, David L.

    2013-01-01

    Microneedles are a relatively simple, minimally invasive and painless approach to deliver drugs across the skin. However, there remain limitations with this approach because of the materials most commonly utilized for such systems. Silk protein, with tunable and biocompatibility properties, is a useful biomaterial to overcome the current limitations with microneedles. Silk devices preserve drug activity, offer superior mechanical properties and biocompatibility, can be tuned for biodegradability, and can be processed under aqueous, benign conditions. In the present work, we report the fabrication of dense microneedle arrays from silk with different drug release kinetics. The mechanical properties of the microneedle patches are tuned by post-fabrication treatments or by loading the needles with silk microparticles to increase capacity and mechanical strength. Drug release is further enhanced by the encapsulation of the drugs in the silk matrix and coating with a thin dissolvable drug layer. The microneedles are used on human cadaver skin and drugs were delivered successfully. The various attributes demonstrated suggest that silk-based microneedle devices can provide significant benefit as a platform material for transdermal drug delivery. PMID:23653252

  11. Formation of different gold nanostructures by silk nanofibrils.

    PubMed

    Fang, Guangqiang; Yang, Yuhong; Yao, Jinrong; Shao, Zhengzhong; Chen, Xin

    2016-07-01

    Metal nanostructures that have unique size- and shape-dependent electronic, optical and chemical properties gain more and more attention in modern science and technology. In this article, we show the possibility that we are able to obtain different gold nanostructures simply with the help of silk nanofibrils. We demonstrate that only by varying the pH of the reaction solution, we get gold nanoparticles, nano-icosahedrons, nanocubes, and even microplates. Particularly, we develop a practical method for the preparation of gold microplates in acid condition in the presence of silk nanofibrils, which is impossible by using other forms of silk protein. We attribute the role of silk nanofibrils in the formation of gold nanostructure to their reduction ability from several specific amino acid residues, and the suitable structural anisotropic features to sustain the crystal growth after the reduction process. Although the main purpose of this article is to demonstrate that silk nanofibrils are able to mediate the formation of different gold nanostructure, we show the potential applications of these resulting gold nanostructures, such as surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and photothermal transformation effect, as same as those produced by other methods. In conclusion, we present in this communication a facile and green synthesis route to prepare various gold nanostructures with silk nanofibrils by simply varying pH in the reaction system, which has remarkable advantages in future biomedical applications.

  12. Ingrowth of human mesenchymal stem cells into porous silk particle reinforced silk composite scaffolds: An in vitro study.

    PubMed

    Rockwood, Danielle N; Gil, Eun Seok; Park, Sang-Hyug; Kluge, Jonathan A; Grayson, Warren; Bhumiratana, Sarindr; Rajkhowa, Rangam; Wang, Xungai; Kim, Sung Jun; Vunjak-Novakovic, Gordana; Kaplan, David L

    2011-01-01

    Silk fibroin protein is biodegradable and biocompatible, exhibiting excellent mechanical properties for various biomedical applications. However, porous three-dimensional (3-D) silk fibroin scaffolds, or silk sponges, usually fall short in matching the initial mechanical requirements for bone tissue engineering. In the present study, silk sponge matrices were reinforced with silk microparticles to generate protein-protein composite scaffolds with desirable mechanical properties for in vitro osteogenic tissue formation. It was found that increasing the silk microparticle loading led to a substantial increase in the scaffold compressive modulus from 0.3 MPa (non-reinforced) to 1.9 MPa for 1:2 (matrix:particle) reinforcement loading by dry mass. Biochemical, gene expression, and histological assays were employed to study the possible effects of increasing composite scaffold stiffness, due to microparticle reinforcement, on in vitro osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). Increasing silk microparticle loading increased the osteogenic capability of hMSCs in the presence of bone morphogenic protein-2 (BMP-2) and other osteogenic factors in static culture for up to 6 weeks. The calcium adsorption increased dramatically with increasing loading, as observed from biochemical assays, histological staining, and microcomputer tomography (μCT) analysis. Specifically, calcium content in the scaffolds increased by 0.57, 0.71, and 1.27 mg (per μg of DNA) from 3 to 6 weeks for matrix to particle dry mass loading ratios of 1:0, 1:1, and 1:2, respectively. In addition, μCT imaging revealed that at 6 weeks, bone volume fraction increased from 0.78% for non-reinforced to 7.1% and 6.7% for 1:1 and 1:2 loading, respectively. Our results support the hypothesis that scaffold stiffness may strongly influence the 3-D in vitro differentiation capabilities of hMSCs, providing a means to improve osteogenic outcomes.

  13. The effects of corn silk on glycaemic metabolism

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Corn silk contains proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, Ca, K, Mg and Na salts, fixed and volatile oils, steroids such as sitosterol and stigmasterol, alkaloids, saponins, tannins, and flavonoids. Base on folk remedies, corn silk has been used as an oral antidiabetic agent in China for decades. However, the hypoglycemic activity of it has not yet been understood in terms of modern pharmacological concepts. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of corn silk on glycaemic metabolism. Methods Alloxan and adrenalin induced hyperglycemic mice were used in the study. The effects of corn silk on blood glucose, glycohemoglobin (HbA1c), insulin secretion, damaged pancreatic β-cells, hepatic glycogen and gluconeogenesis in hyperglycemic mice were studied respectively. Results After the mice were orally administered with corn silk extract, the blood glucose and the HbA1c were significantly decreased in alloxan-induced hyperglycemic mice (p < 0.05, p < 0.01, respectively), while the level of insulin secretionn was markedly elevated in alloxa-induced hyperglycemic mice (p < 0.05). The alloxan-damaged pancreatic β-cells of the mice were partly recovered gradually after the mice were administered with corn silk extract 15 days later. Also, the body weight of the alloxan-induced hyperglycemic mice was increased gradually. However, ascension of blood glucose induced by adrenalin and gluconeogenesis induced by L-alanine were not inhibited by corn silk extract treatment (p > 0.05). Although corn silk extract increased the level of hepatic glycogen in the alloxan-induced hyperglycemic mice, there was no significant difference between them and that of the control group(p > 0.05). Conclusion Corn silk extract markedly reduced hyperglycemia in alloxan-induced diabetic mice. The action of corn silk extract on glycaemic metabolism is not via increasing glycogen and inhibiting gluconeogenesis but through increasing insulin level as well as recovering the injured

  14. Molecular mechanics of silk nanostructures under varied mechanical loading.

    PubMed

    Bratzel, Graham; Buehler, Markus J

    2012-06-01

    Spider dragline silk is a self-assembling tunable protein composite fiber that rivals many engineering fibers in tensile strength, extensibility, and toughness, making it one of the most versatile biocompatible materials and most inviting for synthetic mimicry. While experimental studies have shown that the peptide sequence and molecular structure of silk have a direct influence on the stiffness, toughness, and failure strength of silk, few molecular-level analyses of the nanostructure of silk assemblies, in particular, under variations of genetic sequences have been reported. In this study, atomistic-level structures of wildtype as well as modified MaSp1 protein from the Nephila clavipes spider dragline silk sequences, obtained using an in silico approach based on replica exchange molecular dynamics and explicit water molecular dynamics, are subjected to simulated nanomechanical testing using different force-control loading conditions including stretch, pull-out, and peel. The authors have explored the effects of the poly-alanine length of the N. clavipes MaSp1 peptide sequence and identify differences in nanomechanical loading conditions on the behavior of a unit cell of 15 strands with 840-990 total residues used to represent a cross-linking β-sheet crystal node in the network within a fibril of the dragline silk thread. The specific loading condition used, representing concepts derived from the protein network connectivity at larger scales, have a significant effect on the mechanical behavior. Our analysis incorporates stretching, pull-out, and peel testing to connect biochemical features to mechanical behavior. The method used in this study could find broad applications in de novo design of silk-like tunable materials for an array of applications.

  15. Effects of alkyl polyglycoside (APG) on Bombyx mori silk degumming and the mechanical properties of silk fibroin fibre.

    PubMed

    Wang, Fei; Zhang, Yu-Qing

    2017-05-01

    Alkyl polyglycoside (APG), a nonionic surfactant, is often considered to be a green surfactant and is synthesized using glucose and long chain fatty alcohols. It is used as a degumming agent of Bombyx mori silk fibre in this study for the first time. We studied APG systematically in comparison to the traditional degumming methods, such as aqueous solutions of sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) and neutral soap (NS). After repeatedly boiling silk fibres in an aqueous solution of 0.25% APG three times for 30min and using a bath ratio of 1:90-120 (g/mL), sericin was completely removed from the fibre. SDS-PAGE showed that the degumming in APG did not induce an evident breakage of the silk fibroin peptide chains, including the light chain and P25 protein. The tensile properties, thermal analysis, and scanning electron microscopic (SEM) observation of the degummed fibroin fibre all show that APG is a degumming agent similar to NS and far superior to Na2CO3. These results indicate that APG is an environment-friendly silk degumming/refining agent in the silk textile industry and in the manufacture of silk floss quilts.

  16. Preparation of hexagonal GeO₂ particles with particle size and crystallinity controlled by peptides, silk and silk-peptide chimeras.

    PubMed

    Boix, Estefania; Puddu, Valeria; Perry, Carole C

    2014-11-28

    We demonstrate the use of silk based proteins to control the particle/crystallite size during GeO2 formation, using a bio-mimetic approach at circumneutral pH and ambient temperature. Multicrystalline GeO2 was prepared from germanium tetraethoxide (TEOG) in the presence of different silk-based proteins: Bombyx mori silk (native silk) and two chimeric proteins prepared by linking a germania binding peptide (Ge28: HATGTHGLSLSH) with Bombyx mori silk via chemical coupling at different peptide loadings (silk-Ge28 10% and silk-Ge28 50%). The mineralisation activity of the silk-based proteins was compared with that of peptide Ge28 as a control system. GeO2 mineralisation was investigated in water and in citric acid/bis-tris propane buffer at pH 6. Morphology, particle size, crystallinity, water and organic content of the materials obtained were analysed to study the effect of added biomolecules and mineralisation environment on material properties. In the presence of silk additives well-defined cube-shape hybrid materials composed of hexagonal germania and up to ca. 5 wt% organic content were obtained. The cubic particles ranged from 0.4 to 1.4 μm in size and were composed of crystalline domains in the range 35-106 nm depending on the additive used and synthesis conditions. The organic material incorporated in the mineral did not appear to affect the unit cell dimensions. The silk and chimeric proteins in water promote material formation and crystal growth, possibly via an effective ion-channelling mechanism, however further studies are needed to assert to what extent the presence of the silk impacts on nucleation and growth stages. The germania binding peptide alone did not have any significant effect on reaction rate, yield or the material's properties compared to the blank. Interestingly, the peptide content in the silk chimeras tested did not affect mineralisation. The presence of buffer inhibited mineral condensation rate and yield. The use of silk

  17. 21 CFR 184.1262 - Corn silk and corn silk extract.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 3 2013-04-01 2013-04-01 false Corn silk and corn silk extract. 184.1262 Section... SAFE Listing of Specific Substances 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....

  18. 21 CFR 184.1262 - Corn silk and corn silk extract.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 3 2011-04-01 2011-04-01 false Corn silk and corn silk extract. 184.1262 Section... SAFE Listing of Specific Substances 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....

  19. 21 CFR 184.1262 - Corn silk and corn silk extract.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 3 2012-04-01 2012-04-01 false Corn silk and corn silk extract. 184.1262 Section... SAFE Listing of Specific Substances 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....

  20. 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...

  1. 21 CFR 184.1262 - Corn silk and corn silk extract.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 3 2010-04-01 2009-04-01 true Corn silk and corn silk extract. 184.1262 Section... SAFE Listing of Specific Substances 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....

  2. 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

  3. Silk-based blood stabilization for diagnostics

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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

  4. 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.

  5. Synthetic Spider Silk Production on a Laboratory Scale

    PubMed Central

    Hsia, Yang; Gnesa, Eric; Pacheco, Ryan; Kohler, Kristin; Jeffery, Felicia; Vierra, Craig

    2012-01-01

    As society progresses and resources become scarcer, it is becoming increasingly important to cultivate new technologies that engineer next generation biomaterials with high performance properties. The development of these new structural materials must be rapid, cost-efficient and involve processing methodologies and products that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. Spiders spin a multitude of different fiber types with diverse mechanical properties, offering a rich source of next generation engineering materials for biomimicry that rival the best manmade and natural materials. Since the collection of large quantities of natural spider silk is impractical, synthetic silk production has the ability to provide scientists with access to an unlimited supply of threads. Therefore, if the spinning process can be streamlined and perfected, artificial spider fibers have the potential use for a broad range of applications ranging from body armor, surgical sutures, ropes and cables, tires, strings for musical instruments, and composites for aviation and aerospace technology. In order to advance the synthetic silk production process and to yield fibers that display low variance in their material properties from spin to spin, we developed a wet-spinning protocol that integrates expression of recombinant spider silk proteins in bacteria, purification and concentration of the proteins, followed by fiber extrusion and a mechanical post-spin treatment. This is the first visual representation that reveals a step-by-step process to spin and analyze artificial silk fibers on a laboratory scale. It also provides details to minimize the introduction of variability among fibers spun from the same spinning dope. Collectively, these methods will propel the process of artificial silk production, leading to higher quality fibers that surpass natural spider silks. PMID:22847722

  6. Synthetic spider silk production on a laboratory scale.

    PubMed

    Hsia, Yang; Gnesa, Eric; Pacheco, Ryan; Kohler, Kristin; Jeffery, Felicia; Vierra, Craig

    2012-07-18

    As society progresses and resources become scarcer, it is becoming increasingly important to cultivate new technologies that engineer next generation biomaterials with high performance properties. The development of these new structural materials must be rapid, cost-efficient and involve processing methodologies and products that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. Spiders spin a multitude of different fiber types with diverse mechanical properties, offering a rich source of next generation engineering materials for biomimicry that rival the best manmade and natural materials. Since the collection of large quantities of natural spider silk is impractical, synthetic silk production has the ability to provide scientists with access to an unlimited supply of threads. Therefore, if the spinning process can be streamlined and perfected, artificial spider fibers have the potential use for a broad range of applications ranging from body armor, surgical sutures, ropes and cables, tires, strings for musical instruments, and composites for aviation and aerospace technology. In order to advance the synthetic silk production process and to yield fibers that display low variance in their material properties from spin to spin, we developed a wet-spinning protocol that integrates expression of recombinant spider silk proteins in bacteria, purification and concentration of the proteins, followed by fiber extrusion and a mechanical post-spin treatment. This is the first visual representation that reveals a step-by-step process to spin and analyze artificial silk fibers on a laboratory scale. It also provides details to minimize the introduction of variability among fibers spun from the same spinning dope. Collectively, these methods will propel the process of artificial silk production, leading to higher quality fibers that surpass natural spider silks.

  7. Silk Fibroin under Osmotic Stress

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sohn, Sungkyun; Strey, Helmut H.; Gido, Samuel P.

    2003-03-01

    The osmotic stress method was applied to study the thermodynamics of supramolecular self-assembly phenomena in crystallizable segments of Bombyx mori silkworm silk fibroin. Controlling compositions and phases of silk fibroin solution, the method provided a means for the direct investigation of microscopic and thermodynamic details of these intermolecular interactions in aqueous media. It is apparent that as osmotic pressure increases, silk fibroin molecules get pressurized to align together to form a water-soluble crystalline mesophase (Silk-I), and then gradually become anti-parallel b-sheet structure (Silk-II) at higher osmotic pressure. This behavior becomes more sensitive as the salt concentration decreases. A partial ternary phase diagram of Water-Silk fibroin-LiBr was constructed based on the results. This phase diagram can be utilized to help design a new route for wet spinning of re-generated silk fibroin. Precise control of compositions and corresponding crystalline structure of a silk fibroin solution may enable us to simulate the natural Bombyx mori silkworm spinning process.

  8. Formation of silk fibroin nanoparticles in water-miscible organic solvent and their characterization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Yu-Qing; Shen, Wei-De; Xiang, Ru-Li; Zhuge, Lan-Jian; Gao, Wei-Jian; Wang, Wen-Bao

    2007-10-01

    When Silk fibre derived from Bombyx mori, a native biopolymer, was dissolved in highly concentrated neutral salts such as CaCl2, the regenerated liquid silk, a gradually degraded peptide mixture of silk fibroin, could be obtained. The silk fibroin nanoparticles were prepared rapidly from the liquid silk by using water-miscible protonic and polar aprotonic organic solvents. The nanoparticles are insoluble but well dispersed and stable in aqueous solution and are globular particles with a range of 35-125 nm in diameter by means of TEM, SEM, AFM and laser sizer. Over one half of the ɛ-amino groups exist around the protein nanoparticles by using a trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS) method. Raman spectra shows the tyrosine residues on the surface of the globules are more exposed than those on native silk fibers. The crystalline polymorph and conformation transition of the silk nanoparticles from random-coil and α-helix form (Silk I) into anti-parallel β-sheet form (Silk II) are investigated in detail by using infrared, fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy, DSC, 13C CP-MAS NMR and electron diffraction. X-ray diffraction of the silk nanoparticles shows that the nanoparticles crystallinity is about four fifths of the native fiber. Our results indicate that the degraded peptide chains of the regenerated silk is gathered homogeneously or heterogeneously to form a looser globular structure in aqueous solution. When introduced into excessive organic solvent, the looser globules of the liquid silk are rapidly dispersed and simultaneously dehydrated internally and externally, resulting in the further chain-chain contact, arrangement of those hydrophobic domains inside the globules and final formation of crystalline silk nanoparticles with β-sheet configuration. The morphology and size of the nanoparticles are relative to the kinds, properties and even molecular structures of organic solvents, and more significantly to the looser globular substructure of the degraded silk

  9. A highly tunable and fully biocompatible silk nanoplasmonic optical sensor.

    PubMed

    Lee, Myungjae; Jeon, Heonsu; Kim, Sunghwan

    2015-05-13

    Novel concepts for manipulating plasmonic resonances and the biocompatibility of plasmonic devices offer great potential in versatile applications involving real-time and in vivo monitoring of analytes with high sensitivity in biomedical and biological research. Here we report a biocompatible and highly tunable plasmonic bio/chemical sensor consisting of a natural silk protein and a gold nanostructure. Our silk plasmonic absorber sensor (SPAS) takes advantage of the strong local field enhancement in the metal-insulator-metal resonator in which silk protein is used as an insulating spacer and substrate. The silk insulating spacer has hydrogel properties and therefore exhibits a controllable swelling when exposed to water-alcohol mixtures. We experimentally and numerically show that drastic spectral shifts in reflectance minima arise from the changing physical volume and refractive index of the silk spacer during swelling. Furthermore, we apply this SPAS device as a glucose sensor with a very high sensitivity of 1200 nm/RIU (refractive index units) and high relative intensity change.

  10. NMR Studies of Molecular Orientation and Dynamics in Spider silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michal, Carl; Eles, Philip

    2004-05-01

    Spider dragline silk has a unique combination of strength and extensibility that has been difficult to achieve in synthetic polymer fibres and has inspired industrial efforts to produce genetically engineered analogues. In light of these efforts elsewhere, we describe solid-state NMR experiments that elucidate the molecular structure and dynamics of this remarkable material. These experiments include the use of a 2-D exchange NMR experiment known as DECODER in which the sample is reoriented through a discrete angle during the mixing time. This experiment allows a reconstruction of the orientation distribution of the protein backbone. Our data is well described by a two-component distribution where the protein backbones of both components are preferentially aligned along the silk fibre. This experiment is also sensitive to molecular motion on a wide range of time-scales, and is employed to study changes in the silk as a function of fibre extension and hydration. Hydrated silk undergoes a remarkable phenomena known as supercontraction where fibres shrink by up to 50% in length while swelling in diameter. DECODER NMR of fully and partially supercontracted silk reveals that supercontraction occurs through a process of local phase transitions where water disrupts inter- and intra-chain hydrogen bonds.

  11. 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

  12. Nonlinear material behaviour of spider silk yields robust webs.

    PubMed

    Cranford, Steven W; Tarakanova, Anna; Pugno, Nicola M; Buehler, Markus J

    2012-02-01

    Natural materials are renowned for exquisite designs that optimize function, as illustrated by the elasticity of blood vessels, the toughness of bone and the protection offered by nacre. Particularly intriguing are spider silks, with studies having explored properties ranging from their protein sequence to the geometry of a web. This material system, highly adapted to meet a spider's many needs, has superior mechanical properties. In spite of much research into the molecular design underpinning the outstanding performance of silk fibres, and into the mechanical characteristics of web-like structures, it remains unknown how the mechanical characteristics of spider silk contribute to the integrity and performance of a spider web. Here we report web deformation experiments and simulations that identify the nonlinear response of silk threads to stress--involving softening at a yield point and substantial stiffening at large strain until failure--as being crucial to localize load-induced deformation and resulting in mechanically robust spider webs. Control simulations confirmed that a nonlinear stress response results in superior resistance to structural defects in the web compared to linear elastic or elastic-plastic (softening) material behaviour. We also show that under distributed loads, such as those exerted by wind, the stiff behaviour of silk under small deformation, before the yield point, is essential in maintaining the web's structural integrity. The superior performance of silk in webs is therefore not due merely to its exceptional ultimate strength and strain, but arises from the nonlinear response of silk threads to strain and their geometrical arrangement in a web.

  13. Persistence and variation in microstructural design during the evolution of spider silk

    PubMed Central

    Madurga, R.; Blackledge, T. A.; Perea, B.; Plaza, G. R.; Riekel, C.; Burghammer, M.; Elices, M.; Guinea, G.; Pérez-Rigueiro, J.

    2015-01-01

    The extraordinary mechanical performance of spider dragline silk is explained by its highly ordered microstructure and results from the sequences of its constituent proteins. This optimized microstructural organization simultaneously achieves high tensile strength and strain at breaking by taking advantage of weak molecular interactions. However, elucidating how the original design evolved over the 400 million year history of spider silk, and identifying the basic relationships between microstructural details and performance have proven difficult tasks. Here we show that the analysis of maximum supercontracted single spider silk fibers using X ray diffraction shows a complex picture of silk evolution where some key microstructural features are conserved phylogenetically while others show substantial variation even among closely related species. This new understanding helps elucidate which microstructural features need to be copied in order to produce the next generation of biomimetic silk fibers. PMID:26438975

  14. Persistence and variation in microstructural design during the evolution of spider silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Madurga, R.; Blackledge, T. A.; Perea, B.; Plaza, G. R.; Riekel, C.; Burghammer, M.; Elices, M.; Guinea, G.; Pérez-Rigueiro, J.

    2015-10-01

    The extraordinary mechanical performance of spider dragline silk is explained by its highly ordered microstructure and results from the sequences of its constituent proteins. This optimized microstructural organization simultaneously achieves high tensile strength and strain at breaking by taking advantage of weak molecular interactions. However, elucidating how the original design evolved over the 400 million year history of spider silk, and identifying the basic relationships between microstructural details and performance have proven difficult tasks. Here we show that the analysis of maximum supercontracted single spider silk fibers using X ray diffraction shows a complex picture of silk evolution where some key microstructural features are conserved phylogenetically while others show substantial variation even among closely related species. This new understanding helps elucidate which microstructural features need to be copied in order to produce the next generation of biomimetic silk fibers.

  15. Physical characterization of functionalized spider silk: electronic and sensing properties

    PubMed Central

    Steven, Eden; Park, Jin Gyu; Paravastu, Anant; Lopes, Elsa Branco; Brooks, James S; Englander, Ongi; Siegrist, Theo; Kaner, Papatya; Alamo, Rufina G

    2011-01-01

    This work explores functional, fundamental and applied aspects of naturally harvested spider silk fibers. Natural silk is a protein polymer where different amino acids control the physical properties of fibroin bundles, producing, for example, combinations of β-sheet (crystalline) and amorphous (helical) structural regions. This complexity presents opportunities for functional modification to obtain new types of material properties. Electrical conductivity is the starting point of this investigation, where the insulating nature of neat silk under ambient conditions is described first. Modification of the conductivity by humidity, exposure to polar solvents, iodine doping, pyrolization and deposition of a thin metallic film are explored next. The conductivity increases exponentially with relative humidity and/or solvent, whereas only an incremental increase occurs after iodine doping. In contrast, iodine doping, optimal at 70 °C, has a strong effect on the morphology of silk bundles (increasing their size), on the process of pyrolization (suppressing mass loss rates) and on the resulting carbonized fiber structure (that becomes more robust against bending and strain). The effects of iodine doping and other functional parameters (vacuum and thin film coating) motivated an investigation with magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance (MAS-NMR) to monitor doping-induced changes in the amino acid-protein backbone signature. MAS-NMR revealed a moderate effect of iodine on the helical and β-sheet structures, and a lesser effect of gold sputtering. The effects of iodine doping were further probed by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, revealing a partial transformation of β-sheet-to-amorphous constituency. A model is proposed, based on the findings from the MAS-NMR and FTIR, which involves iodine-induced changes in the silk fibroin bundle environment that can account for the altered physical properties. Finally, proof-of-concept applications of

  16. All-water-based electron-beam lithography using silk as a resist

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Sunghwan; Marelli, Benedetto; Brenckle, Mark A.; Mitropoulos, Alexander N.; Gil, Eun-Seok; Tsioris, Konstantinos; Tao, Hu; Kaplan, David L.; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G.

    2014-04-01

    Traditional nanofabrication techniques often require complex lithographic steps and the use of toxic chemicals. To move from the laboratory scale to large scales, nanofabrication should be carried out using alternative procedures that are simple, inexpensive and use non-toxic solvents. Recent efforts have focused on nanoimprinting and the use of organic resists (such as quantum dot-polymer hybrids, DNA and poly(ethylene glycol)), which still require, for the most part, noxious chemicals for processing. Significant advances have been achieved using `green' resists that can be developed with water, but so far these approaches have suffered from low electron sensitivity, line edge roughness and scalability constraints. Here, we present the use of silk as a natural and biofunctional resist for electron-beam lithography. The process is entirely water-based, starting with the silk aqueous solution and ending with simple development of the exposed silk film in water. Because of its polymorphic crystalline structure, silk can be used either as a positive or negative resist through interactions with an electron beam. Moreover, silk can be easily modified, thereby enabling a variety of `functional resists', including biologically active versions. As a proof of principle of the viability of all-water-based silk electron-beam lithography (EBL), we fabricate nanoscale photonic lattices using both neat silk and silk doped with quantum dots, green fluorescent proteins (GFPs) or horseradish peroxidase (HRP).

  17. Natural Occurring Silks and Their Analogues as Materials for Nerve Conduits.

    PubMed

    Radtke, Christine

    2016-10-20

    Spider silk and its synthetic derivatives have a light weight in combination with good strength and elasticity. Their high cytocompatibility and low immunogenicity make them well suited for biomaterial products such as nerve conduits. Silk proteins slowly degrade enzymatically in vivo, thus allowing for an initial therapeutic effect such as in nerve scaffolding to facilitate endogenous repair processes, and then are removed. Silks are biopolymers naturally produced by many species of arthropods including spiders, caterpillars and mites. The silk fibers are secreted by the labial gland of the larvae of some orders of Holometabola (insects with pupa) or the spinnerets of spiders. The majority of studies using silks for biomedical applications use materials from silkworms or spiders, mostly of the genus Nephila clavipes. Silk is one of the most promising biomaterials with effects not only in nerve regeneration, but in a number of regenerative applications. The development of silks for human biomedical applications is of high scientific and clinical interest. Biomaterials in use for biomedical applications have to meet a number of requirements such as biocompatibility and elicitation of no more than a minor inflammatory response, biodegradability in a reasonable time and specific structural properties. Here we present the current status in the field of silk-based conduit development for nerve repair and discuss current advances with regard to potential clinical transfer of an implantable nerve conduit for enhancement of nerve regeneration.

  18. Natural Occurring Silks and Their Analogues as Materials for Nerve Conduits

    PubMed Central

    Radtke, Christine

    2016-01-01

    Spider silk and its synthetic derivatives have a light weight in combination with good strength and elasticity. Their high cytocompatibility and low immunogenicity make them well suited for biomaterial products such as nerve conduits. Silk proteins slowly degrade enzymatically in vivo, thus allowing for an initial therapeutic effect such as in nerve scaffolding to facilitate endogenous repair processes, and then are removed. Silks are biopolymers naturally produced by many species of arthropods including spiders, caterpillars and mites. The silk fibers are secreted by the labial gland of the larvae of some orders of Holometabola (insects with pupa) or the spinnerets of spiders. The majority of studies using silks for biomedical applications use materials from silkworms or spiders, mostly of the genus Nephila clavipes. Silk is one of the most promising biomaterials with effects not only in nerve regeneration, but in a number of regenerative applications. The development of silks for human biomedical applications is of high scientific and clinical interest. Biomaterials in use for biomedical applications have to meet a number of requirements such as biocompatibility and elicitation of no more than a minor inflammatory response, biodegradability in a reasonable time and specific structural properties. Here we present the current status in the field of silk-based conduit development for nerve repair and discuss current advances with regard to potential clinical transfer of an implantable nerve conduit for enhancement of nerve regeneration. PMID:27775616

  19. Amorphous Silk Nanofiber Solutions for Fabricating Silk-Based Functional Materials.

    PubMed

    Dong, Xiaodan; Zhao, Qun; Xiao, Liying; Lu, Qiang; Kaplan, David L

    2016-09-12

    As a functional material, silk has been widely used in tissue engineering, drug release, and tissue regeneration. Increasing subtle control of silk hierarchical structures and thus specific functional performance is required for these applications but remains a challenge. Here, we report a novel silk nanofiber solution achieved through tuning solvent systems used to generate the material. Unlike the β-sheet rich silk nanofibers reported previously, these new silk nanofibers are mainly composed of amorphous structures and maintain a solution state in aqueous environments. The amorphous silk nanofibers are stable enough for storage and also metastable, making them easy to use in the further fabrication of materials through various processes. Silk scaffolds, hydrogels, and films were prepared from these silk nanofiber solutions. These silk materials from amorphous nanofiber solutions show different properties and tunable performance features. Therefore, these amorphous silk nanofibers are suitable units or building blocks for designing silk-based materials.

  20. Sporicidal/bactericidal textiles via the chlorination of silk.

    PubMed

    Dickerson, Matthew B; Lyon, Wanda; Gruner, William E; Mirau, Peter A; Slocik, Joseph M; Naik, Rajesh R

    2012-03-01

    Bacterial spores, such as those of the Bacillus genus, are extremely resilient, being able to germinate into metabolically active cells after withstanding harsh environmental conditions or aggressive chemical treatments. The toughness of the bacterial spore in combination with the use of spores, such as those of Bacillus anthracis, as a biological warfare agent necessitates the development of new antimicrobial textiles. In this work, a route to the production of fabrics that kill bacterial spores and cells within minutes of exposure is described. Utilizing this facile process, unmodified silk cloth is reacted with a diluted bleach solution, rinsed with water, and dried. The chlorination of silk was explored under basic (pH 11) and slightly acidic (pH 5) conditions. Chloramine-silk textiles prepared in acidified bleach solutions were found to have superior breaking strength and higher oxidative Cl contents than those prepared under caustic conditions. Silk cloth chlorinated for ≥1 h at pH 5 was determined to induce >99.99996% reduction in the colony forming units of Escherichia coli, as well as Bacillus thuringiensis Al Hakam (B. anthracis simulant) spores and cells within 10 min of contact. The processing conditions presented for silk fabric in this study are highly expeditionary, allowing for the on-site production of protein-based antimicrobial materials from a variety of agriculturally produced feed-stocks.

  1. Neural responses to electrical stimulation on patterned silk films.

    PubMed

    Hronik-Tupaj, Marie; Raja, Waseem Khan; Tang-Schomer, Min; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G; Kaplan, David L

    2013-09-01

    Peripheral nerve injury is a critical issue for patients with trauma. Following injury, incomplete axon regeneration or misguided axon innervation into tissue will result in loss of sensory and motor functions. The objective of this study was to examine axon outgrowth and axon alignment in response to surface patterning and electrical stimulation. To accomplish our objective, metal electrodes with dimensions of 1.5 mm × 4 cm, were sputter coated onto micropatterned silk protein films, with surface grooves 3.5 μm wide × 500 nm deep. P19 neurons were seeded on the patterned electronic silk films and stimulated at 120 mV, 1 kHz, for 45 min each day for 7 days. Responses were compared with neurons on flat electronic silk films, patterned silk films without stimulation, and flat silk films without stimulation. Significant alignment was found on the patterned film groups compared with the flat film groups. Axon outgrowth was greater (p < 0.05) on electronic films on days 5 and 7 compared with the unstimulated groups. In conclusion, electrical stimulation, at 120 mV, 1 kHz, for 45 min daily, in addition to surface patterning, of 3.5 μm wide × 500 nm deep grooves, offered control of nerve axon outgrowth and alignment.

  2. Silk materials--a road to sustainable high technology.

    PubMed

    Tao, Hu; Kaplan, David L; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G

    2012-06-05

    This review addresses the use of silk protein as a sustainable material in optics and photonics, electronics and optoelectronic applications. These options represent additional developments for this technology platform that compound the broad utility and impact of this material for medical needs that have been recently described in the literature. The favorable properties of the material certainly make a favorable case for the use of silk, yet serve as a broad inspiration to further develop biological foundries for both the synthesis and processing of Nature's materials for technological applications.

  3. 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.

  4. Evaluation of the Spectral Response of Functionalized Silk Inverse Opals as Colorimetric Immunosensors.

    PubMed

    Burke, Kelly A; Brenckle, Mark A; Kaplan, David L; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G

    2016-06-29

    Regenerated silk fibroin is a high molecular weight protein obtained by purifying the cocoons of the domesticated silkworm, Bombyx mori. This report exploits the aqueous processing and tunable β sheet secondary structure of regenerated silk to produce nanostructures (i.e., inverse opals) that can be used as colorimetric immunosensors. Such sensors would enable direct detection of antigens by changes in reflectance spectra induced by binding events within the nanostructure. Silk inverse opals were prepared by solution casting and annealing in a humidified atmosphere to render the silk insoluble. Next, antigen sensing capabilities were imparted to silk through a three step synthesis: coupling of avidin to silk surfaces, coupling of biotin to antibodies, and lastly antibody attachment to silk through avidin-biotin interactions. Varying the antibody enables detection of different antigens, as demonstrated using different protein antigens: antibodies, red fluorescent protein, and the beta subunit of cholera toxin. Antigen binding to sensors induces a red shift in the opal reflectance spectra, while sensors not exposed to antigen showed either no shift or a slight blue shift. This work constitutes a first step for the design of biopolymer-based optical systems that could directly detect antigens using commercially available reagents and environmentally friendly chemistries.

  5. Processing, Properties and Morphology of Optical Limiting Silk Membranes

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-07-11

    films of regenerated B. Mori silk doped with GFP Cocoons were degummed to remove the glue-like sericin proteins. Degumming was accomplished by boiling...just before spinning and rinsed with deionized water. The membrane was removed from the gland and the sericin was washed from the surface of the

  6. Different Types of Peptide Detected by Mass Spectrometry among Fresh Silk and Archaeological Silk Remains for Distinguishing Modern Contamination

    PubMed Central

    Li, Li; Gong, Yuxuan; Yin, Hao; Gong, Decai

    2015-01-01

    Archaeological silk provides abundant information for studying ancient technologies and cultures. However, due to the spontaneous degradation and the damages from burial conditions, most ancient silk fibers which suffered the damages for thousands of years were turned into invisible molecular residues. For the obtained rare samples, extra care needs to be taken to accurately identify the genuine archaeological silk remains from modern contaminations. Although mass spectrometry (MS) is a powerful tool for identifying and analyzing the ancient protein residues, the traditional approach could not directly determine the dating and contamination of each sample. In this paper, a series of samples with a broad range of ages were tested by MS to find an effective and innovative approach to determine whether modern contamination exists, in order to verify the authenticity and reliability of the ancient samples. The new findings highlighted that the detected peptide types of the fibroin light chain can indicate the degradation levels of silk samples and help to distinguish contamination from ancient silk remains. PMID:26186676

  7. 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

  8. Sonication-induced gelation of silk fibroin for cell encapsulation.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiaoqin; Kluge, Jonathan A; Leisk, Gary G; Kaplan, David L

    2008-03-01

    Purified native silk fibroin forms beta-sheet-rich, physically cross-linked, hydrogels from aqueous solution, in a process influenced by environmental parameters. Previously we reported gelation times of days to weeks for aqueous native silk protein solutions, with high ionic strength and temperature and low pH responsible for increasing gelation kinetics. Here we report a novel method to accelerate the process and control silk fibroin gelation through ultrasonication. Depending on the sonication parameters, including power output and time, along with silk fibroin concentration, gelation could be controlled from minutes to hours, allowing the post-sonication addition of cells prior to final gel setting. Mechanistically, ultrasonication initiated the formation of beta-sheets by alteration in hydrophobic hydration, thus accelerating the formation of physical cross-links responsible for gel stabilization. K(+) at physiological concentrations and low pH promoted gelation, which was not observed in the presence of Ca(2+). The hydrogels were assessed for mechanical properties and proteolytic degradation; reported values matched or exceeded other cell-encapsulating gel material systems. Human bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) were successfully incorporated into these silk fibroin hydrogels after sonication, followed by rapid gelation and sustained cell function. Sonicated silk fibroin solutions at 4%, 8%, and 12% (w/v), followed by mixing in hMSCs, gelled within 0.5-2 h. The cells grew and proliferated in the 4% gels over 21 days, while survival was lower in the gels with higher protein content. Thus, sonication provides a useful new tool with which to initiate rapid sol-gel transitions, such as for cell encapsulation.

  9. A new route for silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Omenetto, Fiorenzo G.; Kaplan, David L.

    2008-11-01

    Famous for its use in clothing since early times, silk is now finding a new application as a useful biocompatible material in photonic devices. Thin films, diffraction gratings and organic photonic crystals are just a few of the exciting possibilities.

  10. Cell culture's spider silk road.

    PubMed

    Perkel, Jeffrey

    2014-06-01

    A number of synthetic and natural materials have been tried in cell culture and tissue engineering applications in recent years. Now Jeffrey Perkel takes a look at one new culture component that might surprise you-spider silk.

  11. Structure to function: Spider silk and human collagen

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rabotyagova, Olena S.

    Nature has the ability to assemble a variety of simple molecules into complex functional structures with diverse properties. Collagens, silks and muscles fibers are some examples of fibrous proteins with self-assembling properties. One of the great challenges facing Science is to mimic these designs in Nature to find a way to construct molecules that are capable of organizing into functional supra-structures by self-assembly. In order to do so, a construction kit consisting of molecular building blocks along with a complete understanding on how to form functional materials is required. In this current research, the focus is on spider silk and collagen as fibrous protein-based biopolymers that can shed light on how to generate nanostructures through the complex process of self-assembly. Spider silk in fiber form offers a unique combination of high elasticity, toughness, and mechanical strength, along with biological compatibility and biodegrability. Spider silk is an example of a natural block copolymer, in which hydrophobic and hydrophilic blocks are linked together generating polymers that organize into functional materials with extraordinary properties. Since silks resemble synthetic block copolymer systems, we adopted the principles of block copolymer design from the synthetic polymer literature to build block copolymers based on spider silk sequences. Moreover, we consider spider silk to be an important model with which to study the relationships between structure and properties in our system. Thus, the first part of this work was dedicated to a novel family of spider silk block copolymers, where we generated a new family of functional spider silk-like block copolymers through recombinant DNA technology. To provide fundamental insight into relationships between peptide primary sequence, block composition, and block length and observed morphological and structural features, we used these bioengineered spider silk block copolymers to study secondary structure

  12. Construction, cloning, and expression of synthetic genes encoding spider dragline silk.

    PubMed

    Prince, J T; McGrath, K P; DiGirolamo, C M; Kaplan, D L

    1995-08-29

    Synthetic genes encoding recombinant spider silk proteins have been constructed, cloned, and expressed. Protein sequences were derived from Nephila clavipes dragline silk proteins and reverse-translated to the corresponding DNA sequences. Codon selection was chosen to maximize expression levels in Escherichia coli. DNA "monomer" sequences were multimerized to encode high molecular weight synthetic spider silks using a "head-to-tail" construction strategy. Multimers were cloned into a prokaryotic expression vector and the encoded silk proteins were expressed in E. coli upon induction with IPTG. Four multimer, ranging in size from 14.7 to 41.3 kDa, were chosen for detailed analysis. These proteins were isolated by immobilized metal affinity chromatography and purified using reverse-phase HPLC. The composition and identity of the purified proteins were confirmed by amino acid composition analysis, N-terminal sequencing, laser desorption mass spectroscopy, and Western analysis using antibodies reactive to native spider dragline silk. Circular dichroism measurements indicate that the synthetic spider silks have substantial beta-sheet structure.

  13. A silk platform that enables electrophysiology and targeted drug delivery in brain astroglial cells

    PubMed Central

    Benfenati, Valentina; Toffanin, Stefano; Capelli, Raffaella; Camassa, Laura M. A.; Ferroni, Stefano; Kaplan, David L.; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G.; Muccini, Michele; Zamboni, Roberto

    2010-01-01

    Astroglial cell survival and ion channel activity are relevant molecular targets for the mechanistic study of neural cell interactions with biomaterials and/or electronic interfaces. Astrogliosis is the most typical reaction to in-vivo brain implants and needs to be avoided by developing biomaterials that preserve astroglial cell physiological function. This cellular phenomenon is characterized by a proliferative state and altered expression of astroglial potassium (K+) channels. Silk is a natural polymer with potential for new biomedical applications due to its ability to support in vitro growth and differentiation of many cell types. We report on silk interactions with cultured neocortical astroglial cells. Astrocytes survival is similar when plated on silk-coated glass and on poly-D-lysine (PDL), a well-known polyionic substrate used to promote astroglial cell adhesion to glass surfaces. Comparative analyses of whole-cell and single-cell patch-clamp experiments reveal that silk- and PDL-coated cells display depolarized resting membrane potentials (∼ -40 mV), very high input resistance, and low specific conductance, with values similar to those of undifferentiated glial cells. Analysis of K+ channel conductance reveals that silk-astrocytes express large outwardly delayed rectifying K+ current (KDR). The magnitude of KDR in PDL- and silk-coated astrocytes is similar, indicating that silk does not alter the resting K+ current. We also demonstrate that guanosine-(GUO) embedded silk enables the direct modulation of astroglial K+ conductance in vitro. Astrocytes plated on GUO-embedded silk are more hyperpolarized and express inward rectifying K+ conductance (Kir). The K+ inward current increase and this is paralleled by upregulation and membrane-polarization of Kir4.1 protein signal. Collectively these results indicate that silk is a suitable biomaterial platform for the in vitro studies of astroglial ion channel responses and related physiology. PMID:20688390

  14. Mechanical response of silk crystalline units from force-distribution analysis.

    PubMed

    Xiao, Senbo; Stacklies, Wolfram; Cetinkaya, Murat; Markert, Bernd; Gräter, Frauke

    2009-05-20

    The outstanding mechanical toughness of silk fibers is thought to be caused by embedded crystalline units acting as cross links of silk proteins in the fiber. Here, we examine the robustness of these highly ordered beta-sheet structures by molecular dynamics simulations and finite element analysis. Structural parameters and stress-strain relationships of four different models, from spider and Bombyx mori silk peptides, in antiparallel and parallel arrangement, were determined and found to be in good agreement with x-ray diffraction data. Rupture forces exceed those of any previously examined globular protein many times over, with spider silk (poly-alanine) slightly outperforming Bombyx mori silk ((Gly-Ala)(n)). All-atom force distribution analysis reveals both intrasheet hydrogen-bonding and intersheet side-chain interactions to contribute to stability to similar extent. In combination with finite element analysis of simplified beta-sheet skeletons, we could ascribe the distinct force distribution pattern of the antiparallel and parallel silk crystalline units to the difference in hydrogen-bond geometry, featuring an in-line or zigzag arrangement, respectively. Hydrogen-bond strength was higher in antiparallel models, and ultimately resulted in higher stiffness of the crystal, compensating the effect of the mechanically disadvantageous in-line hydrogen-bond geometry. Atomistic and coarse-grained force distribution patterns can thus explain differences in mechanical response of silk crystals, opening up the road to predict full fiber mechanics.

  15. Controlled Fabrication of Silk Protein Sericin Mediated Hierarchical Hybrid Flowers and Their Excellent Adsorption Capability of Heavy Metal Ions of Pb(II), Cd(II) and Hg(II).

    PubMed

    Koley, Pradyot; Sakurai, Makoto; Aono, Masakazu

    2016-01-27

    Fabrication of protein-inorganic hybrid materials of innumerable hierarchical patterns plays a major role in the development of multifunctional advanced materials with their improved features in synergistic way. However, effective fabrication and applications of the hybrid structures is limited due to the difficulty in control and production cost. Here, we report the controlled fabrication of complex hybrid flowers with hierarchical porosity through a green and facile coprecipitation method by using industrial waste natural silk protein sericin. The large surface areas and porosity of the microsize hybrid flowers enable water purification through adsorption of different heavy metal ions. The high adsorption capacity depends on their morphology, which is changed largely by sericin concentration in their fabrication. Superior adsorption and greater selectivity of the Pb(II) ions have been confirmed by the characteristic growth of needle-shaped nanowires on the hierarchical surface of the hybrid flowers. These hybrid flowers show excellent thermal stability even after complete evaporation of the protein molecules, significantly increasing the porosity of the flower petals. A simple, cost-effective and environmental friendly fabrication method of the porous flowers will lead to a new solution to water pollution required in the modern industrial society.

  16. Nephila clavipes Flagelliform Silk-like GGX Motifs Contribute to Extensibility and Spacer Motifs Contribute to Strength in Synthetic Spider Silk Fibers

    PubMed Central

    Adrianos, Sherry L.; Teulé, Florence; Hinman, Michael B.; Jones, Justin A.; Weber, Warner S.; Yarger, Jeffery L.; Lewis, Randolph V.

    2013-01-01

    Flagelliform spider silk is the most extensible silk fiber produced by orb weaver spiders, though not as strong as the dragline silk of the spider. The motifs found in the core of the Nephila clavipes flagelliform Flag protein are: GGX, spacer, and GPGGX. Flag does not contain the polyalanine motif known to provide the strength of dragline silk. To investigate the source of flagelliform fiber strength, four recombinant proteins were produced containing variations of the three core motifs of the Nephila clavipes flagelliform Flag protein that produces this type of fiber. The as-spun fibers were processed in 80% aqueous isopropanol using a standardized process for all four fiber types, which produced improved mechanical properties. Mechanical testing of the recombinant proteins determined that the GGX motif contributes extensibility and the spacer motif contributes strength to the recombinant fibers. Recombinant protein fibers containing the spacer motif were stronger than the proteins constructed without the spacer that contained only the GGX motif or the combination of the GGX and GPGGX motifs. The mechanical and structural X-ray diffraction analysis of the recombinant fibers provide data that suggests a functional role of the spacer motif that produces tensile strength though the spacer motif is not clearly defined structurally. These results indicate that the spacer is likely a primary contributor of strength with the GGX motif supplying mobility to the protein network of native N. clavipes flagelliform silk fibers. PMID:23646825

  17. Nephila clavipes Flagelliform silk-like GGX motifs contribute to extensibility and spacer motifs contribute to strength in synthetic spider silk fibers.

    PubMed

    Adrianos, Sherry L; Teulé, Florence; Hinman, Michael B; Jones, Justin A; Weber, Warner S; Yarger, Jeffery L; Lewis, Randolph V

    2013-06-10

    Flagelliform spider silk is the most extensible silk fiber produced by orb weaver spiders, though not as strong as the dragline silk of the spider. The motifs found in the core of the Nephila clavipes flagelliform Flag protein are GGX, spacer, and GPGGX. Flag does not contain the polyalanine motif known to provide the strength of dragline silk. To investigate the source of flagelliform fiber strength, four recombinant proteins were produced containing variations of the three core motifs of the Nephila clavipes flagelliform Flag protein that produces this type of fiber. The as-spun fibers were processed in 80% aqueous isopropanol using a standardized process for all four fiber types, which produced improved mechanical properties. Mechanical testing of the recombinant proteins determined that the GGX motif contributes extensibility and the spacer motif contributes strength to the recombinant fibers. Recombinant protein fibers containing the spacer motif were stronger than the proteins constructed without the spacer that contained only the GGX motif or the combination of the GGX and GPGGX motifs. The mechanical and structural X-ray diffraction analysis of the recombinant fibers provide data that suggests a functional role of the spacer motif that produces tensile strength, though the spacer motif is not clearly defined structurally. These results indicate that the spacer is likely a primary contributor of strength, with the GGX motif supplying mobility to the protein network of native N. clavipes flagelliform silk fibers.

  18. Defense role of the cocoon in the silk worm Bombyx mori L.

    PubMed

    Pandiarajan, Jeyaraj; Cathrin, Britto P; Pratheep, Thangaraj; Krishnan, Muthukalingan

    2011-11-15

    Silk from the domesticated silk worm Bombyx mori procures foreign body response naturally, so it has been utilized as a biomaterial for decades. In India the prime focus of the sericulture industry is to improve silk production with high quality silk. Naturally, the silk worm builds its cocoon not only with silk proteins, but also with antimicrobial proteins to avoid infection since the cocoon is non-motile and non-feeding. The aim of the present study is to elucidate the antimicrobial proteins that persist in the cocoon of the silk worm Bombyx mori. At the pupal stage, the silk worm cocoon shell extract was prepared from the day of pupation (P0) to the day of natural rupture of the cocoon for the eclosion of moth (NR). Using the cocoon shell extract a microbial susceptibility test was performed by the disc diffusion method against the microbes Escherchia coli, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. The development of a zone of inhibition against the microbes confirmed the presence of antimicrobial/immunogenic activity of the cocoon shell extract. For further analysis, the cocoon shell extract was subjected to 7-15% sodium dodecyl sulfate/polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). The protein profile of the cocoon extract revealed the coomassie blue stained bands resolved from the 150-15 kDa molecular range. Interestingly, a polypeptide localized at around 29 kDa showed remarkable expressional changes during the development of pupa. To characterize the 29 kDa protein, it was eluted from the gel, digested with trypsin and analyzed by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS). The trypsin-digested peptide peaks were analyzed through MASCOT and peptides were matched with the NCBI nr database. The peptides were very well matched with the 18 wheeler protein, which is reported to be responsible for innate immunity, belonging to the Toll family in insects and responsible for cellular

  19. Fifty Years Later: The Sequence, Structure and Function of Lacewing Cross-beta Silk

    SciTech Connect

    Weisman, Sarah; Okada, Shoko; Mudie, Stephen T.; Huson, Mickey G.; Trueman, Holly E.; Sriskantha, Alagacone; Haritos, Victoria S.; Sutherland, Tara D.

    2009-12-01

    Classic studies of protein structure in the 1950s and 1960s demonstrated that green lacewing egg stalk silk possesses a rare native cross-beta sheet conformation. We have identified and sequenced the silk genes expressed by adult females of a green lacewing species. The two encoded silk proteins are 109 and 67 kDa in size and rich in serine, glycine and alanine. Over 70% of each protein sequence consists of highly repetitive regions with 16-residue periodicity. The repetitive sequences can be fitted to an elegant cross-beta sheet structural model with protein chains folded into regular 8-residue long beta strands. This model is supported by wide-angle X-ray scattering data and tensile testing from both our work and the original papers. We suggest that the silk proteins assemble into stacked beta sheet crystallites bound together by a network of cystine cross-links. This hierarchical structure gives the lacewing silk high lateral stiffness nearly threefold that of silkworm silk, enabling the egg stalks to effectively suspend eggs and protect them from predators.

  20. 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.

  1. Increasing silk fibre strength through heterogeneity of bundled fibrils

    PubMed Central

    Cranford, Steven W.

    2013-01-01

    Can naturally arising disorder in biological materials be beneficial? Materials scientists are continuously attempting to replicate the exemplary performance of materials such as spider silk, with detailed techniques and assembly procedures. At the same time, a spider does not precisely machine silk—imaging indicates that its fibrils are heterogeneous and irregular in cross section. While past investigations either focused on the building material (e.g. the molecular scale protein sequence and behaviour) or on the ultimate structural component (e.g. silk threads and spider webs), the bundled structure of fibrils that compose spider threads has been frequently overlooked. Herein, I exploit a molecular dynamics-based coarse-grain model to construct a fully three-dimensional fibril bundle, with a length on the order of micrometres. I probe the mechanical behaviour of bundled silk fibrils with variable density of heterogenic protrusions or globules, ranging from ideally homogeneous to a saturated distribution. Subject to stretching, the model indicates that cooperativity is enhanced by contact through low-force deformation and shear ‘locking’ between globules, increasing shear stress transfer by up to 200 per cent. In effect, introduction of a random and disordered structure can serve to improve mechanical performance. Moreover, addition of globules allows a tuning of free volume, and thus the wettability of silk (with implications for supercontraction). These findings support the ability of silk to maintain near-molecular-level strength at the scale of silk threads, and the mechanism could be easily adopted as a strategy for synthetic fibres. PMID:23486175

  2. Design and Optimization of Resorbable Silk Internal Fixation Devices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haas, Dylan S.

    Limitations of current material options for internal fracture fixation devices have resulted in a large gap between user needs and hardware function. Metal systems offer robust mechanical strength and ease of implantation but require secondary surgery for removal and/or result in long-term complications (infection, palpability, sensitivity, etc.). Current resorbable devices eliminate the need for second surgery and long-term complications but are still associated with negative host response as well as limited functionality and more difficult implantation. There is a definitive need for orthopedic hardware that is mechanically capable of immediate fracture stabilization and fracture fixation during healing, can safely biodegrade while allowing complete bone remodeling, can be resterilized for reuse, and is easily implantable (self-tapping). Previous work investigated the use of silk protein to produce resorbable orthopedic hardware for non- load bearing fracture fixation. In this study, silk orthopedic hardware was further investigated and optimized in order to better understand the ability of silk as a fracture fixation system and more closely meet the unfulfilled market needs. Solvent-based and aqueous-based silk processing formulations were cross-linked with methanol to induce beta sheet structure, dried, autoclaved and then machined to the desired device/geometry. Silk hardware was evaluated for dry, hydrated and fatigued (cyclic) mechanical properties, in vitro degradation, resterilization, functionalization with osteoinductive molecules and implantation technique for fracture fixation. Mechanical strength showed minor improvements from previous results, but remains comparable to current resorbable fixation systems with the advantages of self-tapping ability for ease of implantation, full degradation in 10 months, ability to be resterilized and reused, and ability to release molecules for osteoinudction. In vivo assessment confirmed biocompatibility, showed

  3. Regulation of Silk Material Structure by Temperature-Controlled Water Vapor Annealing

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Xiao; Shmelev, Karen; Sun, Lin; Gil, Eun-Seok; Park, Sang-Hyug; Cebe, Peggy; Kaplan, David L.

    2011-01-01

    We present a simple and effective method to obtain refined control of the molecular structure of silk biomaterials through physical temperature-controlled water vapor annealing (TCWVA). The silk materials can be prepared with control of crystallinity, from a low content using conditions at 4°C (alpha-helix dominated silk I structure), to highest content of ~60% crystallinity at 100°C (beta-sheet dominated silk II structure). This new physical approach covers the range of structures previously reported to govern crystallization during the fabrication of silk materials, yet offers a simpler, green chemistry, approach with tight control of reproducibility. The transition kinetics, thermal, mechanical, and biodegradation properties of the silk films prepared at different temperatures were investigated and compared by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), uniaxial tensile studies, and enzymatic degradation studies. The results revealed that this new physical processing method accurately controls structure, in turn providing control of mechanical properties, thermal stability, enzyme degradation rate, and human mesenchymal stem cell interactions. The mechanistic basis for the control is through the temperature controlled regulation of water vapor, to control crystallization. Control of silk structure via TCWVA represents a significant improvement in the fabrication of silk-based biomaterials, where control of structure-property relationships is key to regulating material properties. This new approach to control crystallization also provides an entirely new green approach, avoiding common methods which use organic solvents (methanol, ethanol) or organic acids. The method described here for silk proteins would also be universal for many other structural proteins (and likely other biopolymers), where water controls chain interactions related to material properties. PMID:21425769

  4. Role of chondroitin sulphate tethered silk scaffold in cartilaginous disc tissue regeneration.

    PubMed

    Bhattacharjee, Maumita; Chawla, Shikha; Chameettachal, Shibu; Murab, Sumit; Bhavesh, Neel Sarovar; Ghosh, Sourabh

    2016-04-12

    Strategies for tissue engineering focus on scaffolds with tunable structure and morphology as well as optimum surface chemistry to simulate the anatomy and functionality of the target tissue. Silk fibroin has demonstrated its potential in supporting cartilaginous tissue formation both in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we investigate the role of controlled lamellar organization and chemical composition of biofunctionalized silk scaffolds in replicating the structural properties of the annulus region of an intervertebral disc using articular chondrocytes. Covalent attachment of chondroitin sulfate (CS) to silk is characterized. CS-conjugated silk constructs demonstrate enhanced cellular metabolic activity and chondrogenic redifferentiation potential with significantly improved mechanical properties over silk-only constructs. A matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight analysis and protein-protein interaction studies help to generate insights into how CS conjugation can facilitate the production of disc associated matrix proteins, compared to a silk-only based construct. An in-depth understanding of the interplay between such extra cellular matrix associated proteins should help in designing more rational scaffolds for cartilaginous disc regeneration needs.

  5. Using solvents with different molecular sizes to investigate the structure of Antheraea pernyi silk.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yu; Porter, David; Shao, Zhengzhong

    2013-11-11

    The interaction between silk and polar solvents of different molecular size can be an important tool for understanding the structural features of natural silk; in particular, the disordered regions associated with the key property of mechanical toughness. In this work, we investigate the transitions induced in the tensile performance and structure of as-reeled Antheraea pernyi silks from different silkworms by a range of solvents that can only soften the protein chains in the amorphous regions. The results indicate that polar solvents with different molecular sizes affect the silk to different degrees, and silks with slightly different structures display significantly different tensile performance in the same solvent. The solvent molecular size is quantitatively correlated with the accessible volume in the amorphous regions before and after the yield point, which suggests that the volume accessible to the solvent molecules decreases as the solvent radius increases. Moreover, silks with more ordered structure (less free volume) in the amorphous regions are less sensitive to solvents than those with more disordered structures. However, silks with higher free volume have higher toughness due to the greater strain to failure.

  6. Rate-Dependent Behavior of the Amorphous Phase of Spider Dragline Silk

    PubMed Central

    Patil, Sandeep P.; Markert, Bernd; Gräter, Frauke

    2014-01-01

    The time-dependent stress-strain behavior of spider dragline silk was already observed decades ago, and has been attributed to the disordered sequences in silk proteins, which compose the soft amorphous matrix. However, the actual molecular origin and magnitude of internal friction within the amorphous matrix has remained inaccessible, because experimentally decomposing the mechanical response of the amorphous matrix from the embedded crystalline units is challenging. Here, we used atomistic molecular dynamics simulations to obtain friction forces for the relative sliding of peptide chains of Araneus diadematus spider silk within bundles of these chains as a representative unit of the amorphous matrix in silk fibers. We computed the friction coefficient and coefficient of viscosity of the amorphous phase to be in the order of 10−6 Ns/m and 104 Ns/m2, respectively, by extrapolating our simulation data to the viscous limit. Finally, we used a finite element method for the amorphous phase, solely based on parameters derived from molecular dynamics simulations including the newly determined coefficient of viscosity. With this model the time scales of stress relaxation, creep, and hysteresis were assessed, and found to be in line with the macroscopic time-dependent response of silk fibers. Our results suggest the amorphous phase to be the primary source of viscosity in silk and open up the avenue for finite element method studies of silk fiber mechanics including viscous effects. PMID:24896131

  7. Tissue response and biodegradation of composite scaffolds prepared from Thai silk fibroin, gelatin and hydroxyapatite.

    PubMed

    Tungtasana, Hathairat; Shuangshoti, Somruetai; Shuangshoti, Shanop; Kanokpanont, Sorada; Kaplan, David L; Bunaprasert, Tanom; Damrongsakkul, Siriporn

    2010-12-01

    This work aimed to investigate tissue responses and biodegradation, both in vitro and in vivo, of four types of Bombyx mori Thai silk fibroin based-scaffolds. Thai silk fibroin (SF), conjugated gelatin/Thai silk fibroin (CGSF), hydroxyapatite/Thai silk fibroin (SF4), and hydroxyapatite/conjugated gelatin/Thai silk fibroin (CGSF4) scaffolds were fabricated using salt-porogen leaching, dehydrothermal/chemical crosslinking and an alternate soaking technique for mineralization. In vitro biodegradation in collagenase showed that CGSF scaffolds had the slowest biodegradability, due to the double crosslinking by dehydrothermal and chemical treatments. The hydroxyapatite deposited from alternate soaking separated from the surface of the protein scaffolds when immersed in collagenase. From in vivo biodegradation studies, all scaffolds could still be observed after 12 weeks of implantation in subcutaneous tissue of Wistar rats and also following ISO10993-6: Biological evaluation of medical devices. At 2 and 4 weeks of implantation the four types of Thai silk fibroin based-scaffolds were classified as "non-irritant" to "slight-irritant", compared to Gelfoam(®) (control samples). These natural Thai silk fibroin-based scaffolds may provide suitable biomaterials for clinical applications.

  8. Structure and Properties of Nephila Clavipes Dragline Silk Polymer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahoney, David Vincent

    Silk, spun from an aqueous state at room temperature by a variety of organisms, is the most commonly spun extracellular fibrous protein. It comprises polypeptide chains with regions which can crystallize and regions which are predominantly amorphous. The polymer chains in the crystalline regions form anti-parallel pleated sheet structures with an orthorhombic unit cell. Dragline silk is a structural material produced by a variety of spiders. It has been genetically tailored to meet a specific purpose. Dragline silk exhibits high extensibility and tensile strength approaching that of high-strength synthetic fibers. The specific energy to break it can exceed some steels and synthetic fibers. Samples of Nephila clavipes (golden orb-weaver) dragline silk were extracted from live specimens and examined with a series of experimental techniques including optical, scanning electron, and atomic force microscopy, wide and small angle X-ray diffraction and birefringence compensation. Computer modeling of the mechanical properties of the crystallite was also performed. An assortment of features at a variety of length scales was observed by microscopy. These occur on both the as-spun and abraded silk surfaces. The silk was observed to undergo large deformations without evidence of failure, suggesting the absence of a microfibrillar structure. There was no conclusive evidence for either a microfibrillar or a skin core structure. Meridional and equatorial SAXD peaks were observed at Bragg spacings of 79 AA and 250 AA, respectively. Analysis of the WAXD patterns indicated that the silk belongs in Warwicker's category 3b and that the minimum dimensions of the crystals are approximately 38 AA in the molecular direction and 16 x 23 AA in the transverse directions. The crystal modulus was determined with WAXD to be 16.7 GPa, applying the assumption of uniform stress. This is lower than the 200 GPa modulus calculated with molecular modeling. These results and other factors indicate the

  9. Conformation transition in silk protein films monitored by time-resolved Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy: effect of potassium ions on Nephila spidroin films.

    PubMed

    Chen, Xin; Knight, David P; Shao, Zhengzhong; Vollrath, Fritz

    2002-12-17

    We used time-resolved Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to follow a conformation transition in Nephila spidroin film from random coil and/or helical structures to beta-sheet induced by the addition of KCl from 0.01 to 1.0 mol/L in D(2)O. Time series difference spectra showed parallel increases in absorption at 1620 and 1691 cm(-)(1), indicating formation of beta-sheet, together with a coincident loss of intensity of approximately 1650 cm(-)(1), indicating decrease of random coil and/or helical structures. Increase in KCl concentration produced an increased rate of the conformation transition that may attributable to weakening of hydrogen bonds within spidroin macromolecules. The conformation transition was a biphasic process with [KCl] > or = 0.3 mol/L but monophasic with [KCl] < or = 0.1 mol/L. This suggests that, at high KCl concentrations, segments of the molecular chain are adjusted first and then the whole molecule undergoes rearrangement. We discuss the possible significance of these findings to an understanding of the way that spiders spin silk.

  10. Identification and synthesis of novel biomaterials based on spider structural silk fibers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hsia, Yang; Gnesa, Eric; Tang, Simon; Jeffery, Felicia; Geurts, Paul; Zhao, Liang; Franz, Andreas; Vierra, Craig

    2011-11-01

    The diversity in function and mechanical behavior of spider silks, and the ability to produce these silks recombinantly, have tremendous potential in creating a new class of biomimetic materials. Here we investigate the structural and mechanical properties of pyriform silks from the golden orb-weaver, Nephila clavipes. Nanoscale indentation measurements using atomic force microscopy on natural pyriform silk suggests that this biomaterial has high toughness that may be suitable for dissipating high amounts of mechanical energy. We also observed the occurrence of highly organized nanocrystals within the pyriform silk fibers that may contribute to the remarkable energy dissipation capability of these silks. It has been demonstrated that poly-(Gly-Ala) and poly-Ala stretches within the internal block repeat modules of dragline silk fibroins form nanocrystals, and these nanocrystalline structures may be responsible for the high extensibility of the dragline silks. In contrast, amino acid sequence analysis shows that PySp2 does not contain the same motifs. In the absence of poly-(Gly-Ala) and poly-Ala repeats, we hypothesized that PySp2 contains new protein motifs sufficient to polymerize into functional structures. To investigate the functional contributions of these novel motifs during pyriform fiber formation, we expressed different recombinant PySp2 fibroins with various segments spanning its block repeat units. We demonstrate that PySp2 recombinant proteins with the Pro-rich sub-block domain (PXP motifs, where X= sub-set of the amino acids A, L, or R) and/or the Ser + Gln + Ala-rich sub-block domain (QQSSVAQS motifs) are sufficient for artificial fiber formation. Moreover, we show that recombinant PySp2 proteins that contain a single block repeat unit can self-assemble into foam-like nanostructures. Collectively, our findings support the use of PySp2 recombinant proteins for a wide range of biomimetic materials with morphologies ranging from fibers to porous

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Silk-based nanocomplexes with tumor-homing peptides for tumor-specific gene delivery.

    PubMed

    Numata, Keiji; Mieszawska-Czajkowska, Aneta J; Kvenvold, Laura A; Kaplan, David L

    2012-01-01

    Nanoscale complexes of recombinant silk molecules containing THPs with DNA are designed as less cytotoxic and highly target-specific gene carriers. Genetically engineered silk proteins containing poly(L-lysine) domains to interact with pDNA and the THP to bind to specific tumorigenic cells for target-specific pDNA delivery are prepared, followed by in vitro transfection into MDA-MB-435 melanoma cells, highly metastatic human breast tumor MDA-MB-231 cells, and non-tumorigenic MCF-10A breast epithelial cells. The silk/poly(L-lysine) block copolymer containing Lyp1 (ML-Lyp1) shows significant differences from silk/poly(L-lysine) block copolymer containing F3 (ML-F3) in cytotoxicity to MCF10A cells. ML-F3 is the most promising candidate for target delivery into tumorigenic cells.

  14. Crystal growth of calcium carbonate in silk fibroin/sodium alginate hydrogel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ming, Jinfa; Zuo, Baoqi

    2014-01-01

    As known, silk fibroin-like protein plays a pivotal role during the formation of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) crystals in the nacre sheets. Here, we have prepared silk fibroin/sodium alginate nanofiber hydrogels to serve as templates for calcium carbonate mineralization. In this experiment, we report an interesting finding of calcium carbonate crystal growth in the silk fibroin/sodium alginate nanofiber hydrogels by the vapor diffusion method. The experimental results indicate calcium carbonate crystals obtained from nanofiber hydrogels with different proportions of silk fibroin/sodium alginate are mixture of calcite and vaterite with unusual morphologies. Time-dependent growth study was carried out to investigate the crystallization process. It is believed that nanofiber hydrogels play an important role in the process of crystallization. This study would help in understanding the function of organic polymers in natural mineralization, and provide a novel pathway in the design and synthesis of new materials related unique morphology and structure.

  15. The effect of ageing on the mechanical properties of the silk of the bridge spider Larinioides cornutus (Clerck, 1757)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lepore, Emiliano; Isaia, Marco; Mammola, Stefano; Pugno, Nicola

    2016-05-01

    Spider silk is regarded as one of the best natural polymer fibers especially in terms of low density, high tensile strength and high elongation until breaking. Since only a few bio-engineering studies have been focused on spider silk ageing, we conducted nano-tensile tests on the vertical naturally spun silk fibers of the bridge spider Larinioides cornutus (Clerck, 1757) (Arachnida, Araneae) to evaluate changes in the mechanical properties of the silk (ultimate stress and strain, Young’s modulus, toughness) over time. We studied the natural process of silk ageing at different time intervals from spinning (20 seconds up to one month), comparing silk fibers spun from adult spiders collected in the field. Data were analyzed using Linear Mixed Models. We detected a positive trend versus time for the Young’s modulus, indicating that aged silks are stiffer and possibly less effective in catching prey. Moreover, we observed a negative trend for the ultimate strain versus time, attesting a general decrement of the resistance force. These trends are interpreted as being due to the drying of the silk protein chains and the reorientation among the fibers.

  16. The effect of ageing on the mechanical properties of the silk of the bridge spider Larinioides cornutus (Clerck, 1757)

    PubMed Central

    Lepore, Emiliano; Isaia, Marco; Mammola, Stefano; Pugno, Nicola

    2016-01-01

    Spider silk is regarded as one of the best natural polymer fibers especially in terms of low density, high tensile strength and high elongation until breaking. Since only a few bio-engineering studies have been focused on spider silk ageing, we conducted nano-tensile tests on the vertical naturally spun silk fibers of the bridge spider Larinioides cornutus (Clerck, 1757) (Arachnida, Araneae) to evaluate changes in the mechanical properties of the silk (ultimate stress and strain, Young’s modulus, toughness) over time. We studied the natural process of silk ageing at different time intervals from spinning (20 seconds up to one month), comparing silk fibers spun from adult spiders collected in the field. Data were analyzed using Linear Mixed Models. We detected a positive trend versus time for the Young’s modulus, indicating that aged silks are stiffer and possibly less effective in catching prey. Moreover, we observed a negative trend for the ultimate strain versus time, attesting a general decrement of the resistance force. These trends are interpreted as being due to the drying of the silk protein chains and the reorientation among the fibers. PMID:27156712

  17. Pancreatic Islet Survival and Engraftment Is Promoted by Culture on Functionalized Spider Silk Matrices.

    PubMed

    Johansson, Ulrika; Ria, Massimiliano; Åvall, Karin; Dekki Shalaly, Nancy; Zaitsev, Sergei V; Berggren, Per-Olof; Hedhammar, My

    2015-01-01

    Transplantation of pancreatic islets is one approach for treatment of diabetes, however, hampered by the low availability of viable islets. Islet isolation leads to disruption of the environment surrounding the endocrine cells, which contributes to eventual cell death. The reestablishment of this environment is vital, why we herein investigated the possibility of using recombinant spider silk to support islets in vitro after isolation. The spider silk protein 4RepCT was formulated into three different formats; 2D-film, fiber mesh and 3D-foam, in order to provide a matrix that can give the islets physical support in vitro. Moreover, cell-binding motifs from laminin were incorporated into the silk protein in order to create matrices that mimic the natural cell environment. Pancreatic mouse islets were thoroughly analyzed for adherence, necrosis and function after in vitro maintenance on the silk matrices. To investigate their suitability for transplantation, we utilized an eye model which allows in vivo imaging of engraftment. Interestingly, islets that had been maintained on silk foam during in vitro culture showed improved revascularization. This coincided with the observation of preserved islet architecture with endothelial cells present after in vitro culture on silk foam. Selected matrices were further evaluated for long-term preservation of human islets. Matrices with the cell-binding motif RGD improved human islet maintenance (from 36% to 79%) with preserved islets architecture and function for over 3 months in vitro. The islets established cell-matrix contacts and formed vessel-like structures along the silk. Moreover, RGD matrices promoted formation of new, insulin-positive islet-like clusters that were connected to the original islets via endothelial cells. On silk matrices with islets from younger donors (<35 year), the amount of newly formed islet-like clusters found after 1 month in culture were almost double compared to the initial number of islets

  18. Pancreatic Islet Survival and Engraftment Is Promoted by Culture on Functionalized Spider Silk Matrices

    PubMed Central

    Johansson, Ulrika; Dekki Shalaly, Nancy; Zaitsev, Sergei V.; Berggren, Per-Olof; Hedhammar, My

    2015-01-01

    Transplantation of pancreatic islets is one approach for treatment of diabetes, however, hampered by the low availability of viable islets. Islet isolation leads to disruption of the environment surrounding the endocrine cells, which contributes to eventual cell death. The reestablishment of this environment is vital, why we herein investigated the possibility of using recombinant spider silk to support islets in vitro after isolation. The spider silk protein 4RepCT was formulated into three different formats; 2D-film, fiber mesh and 3D-foam, in order to provide a matrix that can give the islets physical support in vitro. Moreover, cell-binding motifs from laminin were incorporated into the silk protein in order to create matrices that mimic the natural cell environment. Pancreatic mouse islets were thoroughly analyzed for adherence, necrosis and function after in vitro maintenance on the silk matrices. To investigate their suitability for transplantation, we utilized an eye model which allows in vivo imaging of engraftment. Interestingly, islets that had been maintained on silk foam during in vitro culture showed improved revascularization. This coincided with the observation of preserved islet architecture with endothelial cells present after in vitro culture on silk foam. Selected matrices were further evaluated for long-term preservation of human islets. Matrices with the cell-binding motif RGD improved human islet maintenance (from 36% to 79%) with preserved islets architecture and function for over 3 months in vitro. The islets established cell-matrix contacts and formed vessel-like structures along the silk. Moreover, RGD matrices promoted formation of new, insulin-positive islet-like clusters that were connected to the original islets via endothelial cells. On silk matrices with islets from younger donors (<35 year), the amount of newly formed islet-like clusters found after 1 month in culture were almost double compared to the initial number of islets

  19. Modeling the Heat Capacity of Spider Silk Inspired Di-block Copolymers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, W.; Krishnaji, S.; Kaplan, D.; Cebe, P.

    2011-03-01

    We synthesized and characterized a new family of di-block copolymers based on the amino acid sequences of Nephila clavipes major ampulate dragline spider silk, having the form HABn and HBAn (n=1-6), comprising an alanine-rich hydrophobic block, A, a glycine-rich hydrophilic block, B, and a histidine tag, H. Using temperature modulated differential scanning calorimetry (TMDSC), we captured the effect of bound water acting as a plasticizer for copolymer films which had been cast from water solution and dried. We determined the water content by thermogravimetry and used the weight loss vs. temperature to correct the mass in TMDSC experiments. Our result shows that non-freezing bound water has a strong plasticization effect which lowers the onset of the glass transition by about 10circ; C. The reversing heat capacities, Cp(T), for temperatures below and above the glass transition were also characterized by TMDSC. We then calculated the solid state heat capacities of our novel block copolymers below the glass transition (Tg) based on the vibrational motions of the constituent poly(amino acid)s, whose heat capacities are known from the ATHAS Data Bank. Excellent agreement was found between the measured and calculated values of the heat capacity, showing that this model can serve as a standard method to predict the solid state Cp for other biologically inspired block copolymers. Support was provided from the NSF CBET-0828028 and the MRI Program under DMR-0520655 for thermal analysis instrumentation.

  20. Structural Analysis of Hand Drawn Bumblebee Bombus terrestris Silk

    PubMed Central

    Woodhead, Andrea L.; Sutherland, Tara D.; Church, Jeffrey S.

    2016-01-01

    Bombus terrestris, commonly known as the buff-tailed bumblebee, is native to Europe, parts of Africa and Asia. It is commercially bred for use as a pollinator of greenhouse crops. Larvae pupate within a silken cocoon that they construct from proteins produced in modified salivary glands. The amino acid composition and protein structure of hand drawn B. terrestris, silk fibres was investigated through the use of micro-Raman spectroscopy. Spectra were obtained from single fibres drawn from the larvae salivary gland at a rate of 0.14 cm/s. Raman spectroscopy enabled the identification of poly(alanine), poly(alanine-glycine), phenylalanine, tryptophan, and methionine, which is consistent with the results of amino acid analysis. The dominant protein conformation was found to be coiled coil (73%) while the β-sheet content of 10% is, as expected, lower than those reported for hornets and ants. Polarized Raman spectra revealed that the coiled coils were highly aligned along the fibre axis while the β-sheet and random coil components had their peptide carbonyl groups roughly perpendicular to the fibre axis. The protein orientation distribution is compared to those of other natural and recombinant silks. A structural model for the B. terrestris silk fibre is proposed based on these results. PMID:27447623

  1. Structural Analysis of Hand Drawn Bumblebee Bombus terrestris Silk.

    PubMed

    Woodhead, Andrea L; Sutherland, Tara D; Church, Jeffrey S

    2016-07-20

    Bombus terrestris, commonly known as the buff-tailed bumblebee, is native to Europe, parts of Africa and Asia. It is commercially bred for use as a pollinator of greenhouse crops. Larvae pupate within a silken cocoon that they construct from proteins produced in modified salivary glands. The amino acid composition and protein structure of hand drawn B. terrestris, silk fibres was investigated through the use of micro-Raman spectroscopy. Spectra were obtained from single fibres drawn from the larvae salivary gland at a rate of 0.14 cm/s. Raman spectroscopy enabled the identification of poly(alanine), poly(alanine-glycine), phenylalanine, tryptophan, and methionine, which is consistent with the results of amino acid analysis. The dominant protein conformation was found to be coiled coil (73%) while the β-sheet content of 10% is, as expected, lower than those reported for hornets and ants. Polarized Raman spectra revealed that the coiled coils were highly aligned along the fibre axis while the β-sheet and random coil components had their peptide carbonyl groups roughly perpendicular to the fibre axis. The protein orientation distribution is compared to those of other natural and recombinant silks. A structural model for the B. terrestris silk fibre is proposed based on these results.

  2. 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)

  3. The other prey-capture silk: Fibres made by glow-worms (Diptera: Keroplatidae) comprise cross-β-sheet crystallites in an abundant amorphous fraction.

    PubMed

    Walker, Andrew A; Weisman, Sarah; Trueman, Holly E; Merritt, David J; Sutherland, Tara D

    2015-09-01

    Glow-worms (larvae of dipteran genus Arachnocampa) are restricted to moist habitats where they capture flying prey using snares composed of highly extensible silk fibres and sticky mucus droplets. Little is known about the composition or structure of glow-worm snares, or the extent of possible convergence between glow-worm and arachnid capture silks. We characterised Arachnocampa richardsae silk and mucus using X-ray scattering, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and amino acid analysis. Silk but not mucus contained crystallites of the cross-β-sheet type, which occur in unrelated insect silks but have not been reported previously in fibres used for prey capture. Mucus proteins were rich in Gly (28.5%) and existed in predominantly a random coil structure, typical of many adhesive proteins. In contrast, the silk fibres were unusually rich in charged and polar residues, particularly Lys (18.1%), which we propose is related to their use in a highly hydrated state. Comparison of X-ray scattering, infrared spectroscopy and amino acid analysis data suggests that silk fibres contain a high fraction of disordered protein. We suggest that in the native hydrated state, silk fibres are capable of extension via deformation of both disordered regions and cross-β-sheet crystallites, and that high extensibility is an adaptation promoting successful prey capture. This study illustrates the rich variety of protein motifs that are available for recruitment into biopolymers, and how convergently evolved materials can nevertheless be based on fundamentally different protein structures.

  4. Molecular and nanostructural mechanisms of deformation, strength and toughness of spider silk fibrils.

    PubMed

    Nova, Andrea; Keten, Sinan; Pugno, Nicola M; Redaelli, Alberto; Buehler, Markus J

    2010-07-14

    Spider dragline silk is one of the strongest, most extensible and toughest biological materials known, exceeding the properties of many engineered materials including steel. Silk features a hierarchical architecture where highly organized, densely H-bonded beta-sheet nanocrystals are arranged within a semiamorphous protein matrix consisting of 3(1)-helices and beta-turn protein structures. By using a bottom-up molecular-based approach, here we develop the first spider silk mesoscale model, bridging the scales from Angstroms to tens to potentially hundreds of nanometers. We demonstrate that the specific nanoscale combination of a crystalline phase and a semiamorphous matrix is crucial to achieve the unique properties of silks. Our results reveal that the superior mechanical properties of spider silk can be explained solely by structural effects, where the geometric confinement of beta-sheet nanocrystals, combined with highly extensible semiamorphous domains, is the key to reach great strength and great toughness, despite the dominance of mechanically inferior chemical interactions such as H-bonding. Our model directly shows that semiamorphous regions govern the silk behavior at small deformation, unraveling first when silk is being stretched and leading to the large extensibility of the material. Conversely, beta-sheet nanocrystals play a significant role in defining the mechanical behavior of silk at large-deformation. In particular, the ultimate tensile strength of silk is controlled by the strength of beta-sheet nanocrystals, which is directly related to their size, where small beta-sheet nanocrystals are crucial to reach outstanding levels of strength and toughness. Our results and mechanistic insight directly explain recent experimental results, where it was shown that a significant change in the strength and toughness of silk can be achieved solely by tuning the size of beta-sheet nanocrystals. Our findings help to unveil the material design strategy that

  5. 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.

  6. Comparative Transcriptome Analysis Reveals Different Silk Yields of Two Silkworm Strains

    PubMed Central

    Li, Juan; Qin, Sheng; Yu, Huanjun; Zhang, Jing; Liu, Na; Yu, Ye; Hou, Chengxiang; Li, Muwang

    2016-01-01

    Cocoon and silk yields are the most important characteristics of sericulture. However, few studies have examined the genes that modulate these features. Further studies of these genes will be useful for improving the products of sericulture. JingSong (JS) and Lan10 (L10) are two strains having significantly different cocoon and silk yields. In the current study, RNA-Seq and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) were performed on both strains in order to determine divergence of the silk gland, which controls silk biosynthesis in silkworms. Compared with L10, JS had 1375 differentially expressed genes (DEGs; 738 up-regulated genes and 673 down-regulated genes). Nine enriched gene ontology (GO) terms were identified by GO enrichment analysis based on these DEGs. KEGG enrichment analysis results showed that the DEGs were enriched in three pathways, which were mainly associated with the processing and biosynthesis of proteins. The representative genes in the enrichment pathways and ten significant DEGs were further verified by qPCR, the results of which were consistent with the RNA-Seq data. Our study has revealed differences in silk glands between the two silkworm strains and provides a perspective for understanding the molecular mechanisms determining silk yield. PMID:27159277

  7. Variation of mechanical properties with amino acid content in the silk of Nephila clavipes.

    PubMed

    Zax, David B; Armanios, Daniel E; Horak, Sally; Brodowski, Chris; Malowniak, Chris; Yang, Zhitong

    2004-01-01

    In this paper, we explore the impact of dietary deprivation, where spiders are provided diets missing one or more of the amino acids, on the properties of the spider dragline silk spun after one month on the diet. Cohorts of female N. clavipes spiders were selected for diets deprived of alanine (Ala) and glycine (Gly), arginine (Arg), leucine (Leu), or tyrosine (Tyr), and their silk was harvested twice weekly during the one-month course of the diet. Significant mechanical differences are observed after as little as 6 days on the diet. Utilizing conventional tensile testing methods, single fibers were strained to break so as to study the influence of diet on the stress/strain properties. Diets deprived of Ala and Gly appear to most directly impact the load-bearing foundation of dragline silk. Diets deprived of Arg, Tyr, and possibly Leu reduce the strength of the silk, and diets missing Tyr and Leu reduce the strain-to-failure. Observations obtained from ESEM photos of the fracture interfaces after tensile testing illustrate the fracture mechanics of spider silk. Both solid-state NMR and amino acid analysis of the digested protein suggest, however, that the relationship between diet and amino acid incorporation into the silk fiber is not straightforward.

  8. Fabrication and Biocompatibility of Electrospun Silk Biocomposites

    PubMed Central

    Wei, Kai; Kim, Byoung-Suhk; Kim, Ick-Soo

    2011-01-01

    Silk fibroin has attracted great interest in tissue engineering because of its outstanding biocompatibility, biodegradability and minimal inflammatory reaction. In this study, two kinds of biocomposites based on regenerated silk fibroin are fabricated by electrospinning and post-treatment processes, respectively. Firstly, regenerated silk fibroin/tetramethoxysilane (TMOS) hybrid nanofibers with high hydrophilicity are prepared, which is superior for fibroblast attachment. The electrospinning process causes adjacent fibers to ‘weld’ at contact points, which can be proved by scanning electron microscope (SEM). The water contact angle of silk/tetramethoxysilane (TMOS) composites shows a sharper decrease than pure regenerated silk fibroin nanofiber, which has a great effect on the early stage of cell attachment behavior. Secondly, a novel tissue engineering scaffold material based on electrospun silk fibroin/nano-hydroxyapatite (nHA) biocomposites is prepared by means of an effective calcium and phosphate (Ca–P) alternate soaking method. nHA is successfully produced on regenerated silk fibroin nanofiber within several min without any pre-treatments. The osteoblastic activities of this novel nanofibrous biocomposites are also investigated by employing osteoblastic-like MC3T3-E1 cell line. The cell functionality such as alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity is ameliorated on mineralized silk nanofibers. All these results indicate that this silk/nHA biocomposite scaffold material may be a promising biomaterial for bone tissue engineering. PMID:24957869

  9. Spider silk has an ice nucleation activity.

    PubMed

    Murase, N; Ruike, M; Matsunaga, N; Hayakawa, M; Kaneko, Y; Ono, Y

    2001-03-01

    Several ice nucleating substances have been identified, which exist in vivo or can be extracted from biological materials. Spider silk, which has a strong ability for water condensation, has also been found to possess an ice nucleation activity. The freezing temperature of water droplets was higher in the presence than in the absence of spider silk. Moreover, by means of environmental scanning electron microscopy, it was observed that the activity is not due to foreign matter attached to the silk but to the silk fibroin itself.

  10. Pyriform Spidroin 1, a Novel Member of the Silk Gene Family That Anchors Dragline Silk Fibers in Attachment Discs of the Black Widow Spider, Latrodectus hesperus*

    PubMed Central

    Blasingame, Eric; Tuton-Blasingame, Tiffany; Larkin, Leah; Falick, Arnold M.; Zhao, Liang; Fong, Justine; Vaidyanathan, Veena; Visperas, Anabelle; Geurts, Paul; Hu, Xiaoyi; La Mattina, Coby; Vierra, Craig

    2009-01-01

    Spiders spin high performance threads that have diverse mechanical properties for specific biological applications. To better understand the molecular mechanism by which spiders anchor their threads to a solid support, we solubilized the attachment discs from black widow spiders and performed in-solution tryptic digests followed by MS/MS analysis to identify novel peptides derived from glue silks. Combining matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization tandem time-of-flight mass spectrometry and cDNA library screening, we isolated a novel member of the silk gene family called pysp1 and demonstrate that its protein product is assembled into the attachment disc silks. Alignment of the PySp1 amino acid sequence to other fibroins revealed conservation in the non-repetitive C-terminal region of the silk family. MS/MS analysis also confirmed the presence of MaSp1 and MaSp2, two important components of dragline silks, anchored within the attachment disc materials. Characterization of the ultrastructure of attachment discs using scanning electron microscopy studies support the localization of PySp1 to small diameter fibers embedded in a glue-like cement, which network with large diameter dragline silk threads, producing a strong, adhesive material. Consistent with elevated PySp1 mRNA levels detected in the pyriform gland, MS analysis of the luminal contents extracted from the pyriform gland after tryptic digestion support the assertion that PySp1 represents one of the major constituents manufactured in the pyriform gland. Taken together, our data demonstrate that PySp1 is spun into attachment disc silks to help affix dragline fibers to substrates, a critical function during spider web construction for prey capture and locomotion. PMID:19666476

  11. Pyriform spidroin 1, a novel member of the silk gene family that anchors dragline silk fibers in attachment discs of the black widow spider, Latrodectus hesperus.

    PubMed

    Blasingame, Eric; Tuton-Blasingame, Tiffany; Larkin, Leah; Falick, Arnold M; Zhao, Liang; Fong, Justine; Vaidyanathan, Veena; Visperas, Anabelle; Geurts, Paul; Hu, Xiaoyi; La Mattina, Coby; Vierra, Craig

    2009-10-16

    Spiders spin high performance threads that have diverse mechanical properties for specific biological applications. To better understand the molecular mechanism by which spiders anchor their threads to a solid support, we solubilized the attachment discs from black widow spiders and performed in-solution tryptic digests followed by MS/MS analysis to identify novel peptides derived from glue silks. Combining matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization tandem time-of-flight mass spectrometry and cDNA library screening, we isolated a novel member of the silk gene family called pysp1 and demonstrate that its protein product is assembled into the attachment disc silks. Alignment of the PySp1 amino acid sequence to other fibroins revealed conservation in the non-repetitive C-terminal region of the silk family. MS/MS analysis also confirmed the presence of MaSp1 and MaSp2, two important components of dragline silks, anchored within the attachment disc materials. Characterization of the ultrastructure of attachment discs using scanning electron microscopy studies support the localization of PySp1 to small diameter fibers embedded in a glue-like cement, which network with large diameter dragline silk threads, producing a strong, adhesive material. Consistent with elevated PySp1 mRNA levels detected in the pyriform gland, MS analysis of the luminal contents extracted from the pyriform gland after tryptic digestion support the assertion that PySp1 represents one of the major constituents manufactured in the pyriform gland. Taken together, our data demonstrate that PySp1 is spun into attachment disc silks to help affix dragline fibers to substrates, a critical function during spider web construction for prey capture and locomotion.

  12. Comparative Study of Ultrasonication-Induced and Naturally Self-Assembled Silk Fibroin-Wool Keratin Hydrogel Biomaterials

    PubMed Central

    Vu, Trang; Xue, Ye; Vuong, Trinh; Erbe, Matthew; Bennet, Christopher; Palazzo, Ben; Popielski, Lucas; Rodriguez, Nelson; Hu, Xiao

    2016-01-01

    This study reports the formation of biocompatible hydrogels using protein polymers from natural silk cocoon fibroins and sheep wool keratins. Silk fibroin protein contains β-sheet secondary structures, allowing for the formation of physical cross-linkers in the hydrogels. Comparative studies were performed on two groups of samples. In the first group, ultrasonication was used to induce a quick gelation of a protein aqueous solution, enhancing the ability of Bombyx mori silk fibroin chains to quickly entrap the wool keratin protein molecules homogenously. In the second group, silk/keratin mixtures were left at room temperature for days, resulting in naturally-assembled gelled solutions. It was found that silk/wool blended solutions can form hydrogels at different mixing ratios, with perfectly interconnected gel structure when the wool content was less than 30 weight percent (wt %) for the first group (ultrasonication), and 10 wt % for the second group (natural gel). Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and temperature modulated DSC (TMDSC) were used to confirm that the fibroin/keratin hydrogel system was well-blended without phase separation. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) was used to investigate the secondary structures of blended protein gels. It was found that intermolecular β-sheet contents significantly increase as the system contains more silk for both groups of samples, resulting in stable crystalline cross-linkers in the blended hydrogel structures. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were used to analyze the samples’ characteristic morphology on both micro- and nanoscales, which showed that ultrasonic waves can significantly enhance the cross-linker formation and avoid phase separation between silk and keratin molecules in the blended systems. With the ability to form cross-linkages non-chemically, these silk/wool hydrogels may be economically useful for various biomedical applications, thanks to the

  13. Nephila clavipes spider dragline silk microstructure studied by scanning transmission X-ray microscopy.

    PubMed

    Rousseau, Marie-Eve; Hernández Cruz, Daniel; West, M Marcia; Hitchcock, Adam P; Pézolet, Michel

    2007-04-04

    Nephila clavipes dragline silk microstructure has been investigated by scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM), a technique that allows quantitative mapping of the level of orientation of the peptide groups at high spatial resolution (<50 nm). Maps of the orientation parameter P2 have been derived for spider silk for the first time. Dragline silk presents a very fine microstructure in which small, highly oriented domains (average area of 1800 nm2, thus clearly bigger than individual beta-sheet crystallites) are dispersed in a dominant, moderately oriented matrix with several small unoriented domains. Our results also highlight the orientation of the noncrystalline fraction in silk, which has been underestimated in numerous structural models. No evidence of either a regular lamellar structure or any periodicity along the fiber was observed at this spatial resolution. The surface of fresh spider silk sections consists of a approximately 30-120 nm thick layer of highly oriented protein chains, which was found to vary with the reeling speed, where web building (0.5 cm/s) and lifeline (10 cm/s) spinning speeds were investigated. While the average level of orientation of the protein chains is unaffected by the spinning speed, STXM measurements clearly highlight microstructure differences. The slowpull fiber contains a larger fraction of highly oriented domains, while the protein chains are more homogeneously oriented in the fastpull fiber. In comparison, cocoon silk from the silkworm Bombyx mori presents a narrower orientation distribution. The strength-extensibility combination found in spider dragline silk is associated with its broad orientation distribution of highly interdigitated and unoriented domains.

  14. Mechanical behavior comparison of spider and silkworm silks using molecular dynamics at atomic scale.

    PubMed

    Lee, Myeongsang; Kwon, Junpyo; Na, Sungsoo

    2016-02-14

    Spider and silkworm silk proteins have received much attention owing to their inherent structural stability, biodegradability, and biocompatibility. These silk protein materials have various mechanical characteristics such as elastic modulus, ultimate strength and fracture toughness. While the considerable mechanical characteristics of the core crystalline regions of spider silk proteins at the atomistic scale have been investigated through several experimental techniques and computational studies, there is a lack of comparison between spider and silkworm fibroins in the atomistic scale. In this study, we investigated the differences between the mechanical characteristics of spider and silkworm fibroin structures by applying molecular dynamics and steered molecular dynamics. We found that serine amino acids in silkworm fibroins not only increased the number of hydrogen bonds, but also altered their structural characteristics and mechanical properties.

  15. Structural Transitions Induced by a Recombinant Methionine-Trigger in Silk Spidroin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, Donna; Winkler, Stefan; Valluzzi, Regina; Kaplan, David

    2000-03-01

    Control of beta sheet formation is an important factor in the understanding and prediction of structural transitions and protein folding. In genetically engineered silk proteins this control has been achieved using oxidative triggers. A genetically engineered variant of a spider silk protein, and a peptide analog, based on the consensus sequence of Nephila clavipes dragline silk, were modified to include methionines flanking the beta sheet forming polyalanine regions. These methionines could be selectively reduced and oxidized, altering the bulkiness and charge of the sulfhydryl group to control beta sheet formation by steric hindrance. Biophysical characterization and monitoring of structural transitions and intermediates were accomplished through attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy (ATR-IR) for solution state structures in both oxidized and reduced forms. For solid state structural characterization, IR microscopy and reflectance IR experiments were performed. Electron diffraction data as well as circular dichroism studies provide structural corroboration for all experiments in which reproducible sample preparation was achieved.

  16. Tunable Silk: Using Microfluidics to Fabricate Silk Fibers with Controllable Properties

    PubMed Central

    Kinahan, Michelle E.; Filippidi, Emmanouela; Köster, Sarah; Hu, Xiao; Evans, Heather M.; Pfohl, Thomas; Kaplan, David L.; Wong, Joyce

    2011-01-01

    Despite widespread use of silk, it remains a significant challenge to fabricate fibers with properties similar to native silk. It has recently been recognized that the key to tuning silk fiber properties lies in controlling internal structure of assembled β-sheets. We report an advance in the precise control of silk fiber formation with control of properties via microfluidic solution spinning. We use an experimental approach combined with modeling to accurately predict and independently tune fiber properties including Young’s modulus and diameter to customize fibers. This is the first reported microfluidic approach capable of fabricating functional fibers with predictable properties and provides new insight into the structural transformations responsible for the unique properties of silk. Unlike bulk processes, our method facilitates the rapid and inexpensive fabrication of fibers from small volumes (50 μL) that can be characterized to investigate sequence-structure-property relationships to optimize recombinant silk technology to match and exceed natural silk properties. PMID:21438624

  17. Development and characterization of silk fibroin coated quantum dots

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nathwani, B. B.; Needham, C.; Mathur, A. B.; Meissner, K. E.

    2008-02-01

    Recent progress in the field of semiconductor nanocrystals or Quantum Dots (QDs) has seen them find wider acceptance as a tool in biomedical research labs. As produced, high quality QDs, synthesized by high temperature organometallic synthesis, are coated with a hydrophobic ligand. Therefore, they must be further processed to be soluble in water and to be made biocompatible. To accomplish this, the QDs are generally coated with a synthetic polymer (eg. block copolymers) or the hydrophobic surface ligands exchanged with hydrophilic material (eg. thiols). Advances in this area have enabled the QDs to experience a smooth transition from being simple inorganic fluorophores to being smart sensors, which can identify specific cell marker proteins and help in diagnosis of diseases such as cancer. In order to improve the biocompatibility and utility of the QDs, we report the development of a procedure to coat QDs with silk fibroin, a fibrous crystalline protein extracted from Bombyx Mori silkworm. Following the coating process, we characterize the size, quantum yield and two-photon absorption cross section of the silk coated QDs. Additionally, the results of biocompatibility studies carried out to compare the properties of these QD-silks with conventional QDs are presented. These natural polymer coatings on QDs could enhance the intracellular delivery and enable the use of these nanocrystals as an imaging tool for studying subcellular machinery at the molecular level.

  18. Thermal Properties of Silk Fibroin Using Fast Scanning Calorimetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cebe, Peggy; Partlow, Benjamin; Kaplan, David; Wurm, Andreas; Zhuravlev, Evgeny; Schick, Christoph

    We performed fast scanning chip-based calorimetry of silk protein using the Mettler Flash DSC1. We suggest the methodology by which to obtain quantitative information on the very first scan to high temperature, including the melting endotherm of the beta pleated sheets. For proteins, this first scan is the most important one, because the crystalline secondary structural features, the beta pleated sheets, melt after the first heating and cannot be thermally reintroduced. To obtain high quality data, the samples must be treated to drying and enthalpy relaxation sequences. The heat flow rates in heating and cooling must be corrected for asymmetric heat loses. We evaluate methods to obtain an estimate of the sample mass, finally choosing internal calibration using the known heat capacity increment at the glass transition. We report that even heating at rates of 2000 K/s, thermal degradation of silk cannot be totally avoided, though it can be minimized. Using a set of nineteen samples, we successfully determine the liquid state heat capacity of silk as: Cpliquid (T) = (1.98 +0.06) J/gK + T (6.82 +1.4) x10-4 J/gK2. Methods for estimation of the sample mass will be presented and compared. National Science Foundation, Polymers Program DMR-1206010; DAAD; Tufts Faculty Supported Leave.

  19. Ultrathin Free-Standing Bombyx mori Silk Nanofibril Membranes.

    PubMed

    Ling, Shengjie; Jin, Kai; Kaplan, David L; Buehler, Markus J

    2016-06-08

    We report a new ultrathin filtration membrane prepared from silk nanofibrils (SNFs), directly exfoliated from natural Bombyx mori silk fibers to retain structure and physical properties. These membranes can be prepared with a thickness down to 40 nm with a narrow distribution of pore sizes ranging from 8 to 12 nm. Typically, 40 nm thick membranes prepared from SNFs have pure water fluxes of 13 000 L h(-1) m(-2) bar(-1), more than 1000 times higher than most commercial ultrathin filtration membranes and comparable with the highest water flux reported previously. The commercial membranes are commonly prepared from polysulfone, poly(ether sulfone), and polyamide. The SNF-based ultrathin membranes exhibit efficient separation for dyes, proteins, and colloids of nanoparticles with at least a 64% rejection of Rhodamine B. This broad-spectrum filtration membrane would have potential utility in applications such as wastewater treatment, nanotechnology, food industry, and life sciences in part due to the protein-based membrane polymer (silk), combined with the robust mechanical and separation performance features.

  20. Modified silk fibroin scaffolds with collagen/decellularized pulp for bone tissue engineering in cleft palate: Morphological structures and biofunctionalities.

    PubMed

    Sangkert, Supaporn; Meesane, Jirut; Kamonmattayakul, Suttatip; Chai, Wen Lin

    2016-01-01

    Cleft palate is a congenital malformation that generates a maxillofacial bone defect around the mouth area. The creation of performance scaffolds for bone tissue engineering in cleft palate is an issue that was proposed in this research. Because of its good biocompatibility, high stability, and non-toxicity, silk fibroin was selected as the scaffold of choice in this research. Silk fibroin scaffolds were prepared by freeze-drying before immerging in a solution of collagen, decellularized pulp, and collagen/decellularized pulp. Then, the immersed scaffolds were freeze-dried. Structural organization in solution was observed by Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). The molecular organization of the solutions and crystal structure of the scaffolds were characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD), respectively. The weight increase of the modified scaffolds and the pore size were determined. The morphology was observed by a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Mechanical properties were tested. Biofunctionalities were considered by seeding osteoblasts in silk fibroin scaffolds before analysis of the cell proliferation, viability, total protein assay, and histological analysis. The results demonstrated that dendrite structure of the fibrils occurred in those solutions. Molecular organization of the components in solution arranged themselves into an irregular structure. The fibrils were deposited in the pores of the modified silk fibroin scaffolds. The modified scaffolds showed a beta-sheet structure. The morphological structure affected the mechanical properties of the silk fibroin scaffolds with and without modification. Following assessment of the biofunctionalities, the modified silk fibroin scaffolds could induce cell proliferation, viability, and total protein particularly in modified silk fibroin with collagen/decellularized pulp. Furthermore, the histological analysis indicated that the cells could adhere in modified silk fibroin

  1. Differentially expressed genes in the silk gland of silkworm (Bombyx mori) treated with TiO2 NPs.

    PubMed

    Xue, Bin; Li, Fanchi; Hu, Jingsheng; Tian, Jianghai; Li, Jinxin; Cheng, Xiaoyu; Hu, Jiahuan; Li, Bing

    2017-05-05

    Silk gland is a silkworm organ where silk proteins are synthesized and secreted. Dietary supplement of TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) promotes silk protein synthesis in silkworms. In this study, digital gene expression (DGE) tag was used to analyze the gene expression profile of the posterior silk gland of silkworms that were fed with TiO2 NPs. In total, 5,702,823 and 6,150,719 clean tags, 55,096 and 74,715 distinct tags were detected in TiO2 NPs treated and control groups, respectively. Compared with the control, TiO2 NPs treated silkworms showed 306 differentially expressed genes, including 137 upregulated genes and 169 downregulated genes. Of these differentially expressed genes, 106 genes were related to silk protein synthesis, among which 97 genes were upregulated and 9 genes were downregulated. Pathway mapping using the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) showed that 20 pathways were significantly enriched in TiO2 NPs treated silkworms, and the metabolic pathway-related genes were the most significantly enriched. The DGE results were verified by qRT-PCR analysis of eight differentially expressed genes. The DGE and qRT-PCR results were consistent for all three upregulated genes and three of the five downregulated genes, but the expression trends of the remaining two genes were different between qRT-PCR and DGE analysis. This study enhances our understanding of the mechanism of TiO2 NPs promoted silk protein synthesis.

  2. Stress/Strain Characteristics and Biochemical Correlates of Spider Silks

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-11-02

    we observed daily variability in silk from individuals of Nephila edulis and we can show that spider condition (starvation) affected silk properties...in particular that it tended to decrease breaking elongation. Reeling speed significantly affected silk properties in both Nephila edulis and...Analysis of our data from the different reeling speeds indicates that Nephila and Araneus dragline silks differ in basic properties.

  3. Fabrication and Characterization of Conductive Conjugated Polymer-Coated Antheraea mylitta Silk Fibroin Fibers for Biomedical Applications.

    PubMed

    Gh, Darshan; Kong, Dexu; Gautrot, Julien; Vootla, Shyam Kumar

    2017-02-27

    Conductive polymers are interesting materials for a number of biological and medical applications requiring electrical stimulation of cells or tissues. Highly conductive polymers (polypyrrole and polyaniline)/Antheraea mylitta silk fibroin coated fibers are fabricated successfully by in situ polymerization without any modification of the native silk fibroin. Coated fibers characterized by scanning electron microscopy confirm the silk fiber surface is covered by conductive polymers. Thermogravimetric analysis reveals preserved thermal stability of silk fiber after coating process. X-ray diffraction of degummed fiber diffraction peaks at around 2θ = 20.4 and 16.5 confirms the preservation of the β-sheet structure typical of degummed silk II fibers. This phenomenon implies that both polypyrrole and polyaniline chains form interactions with peptide linkages in degummed fiber macromolecules, without significantly disrupting protein assembly. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy of coated fibers indicates hydrogen bonding and electrostatic interactions exist between silk fibroin macromolecules and conductive polymers. Resulting fibers display good conductive properties compared to corresponding conjugated polymers. In vitro analysis (live/dead assay) of the behavior of human immortalized keratinocytes (HaCaTs) on coated fibers demonstrates improved cell-adhesive properties and viability after polymers coating. Hence, polypyrrole- and polyaniline-coated A. mylitta silk fibers are suitable for application in cell culture and for tissue engineering, where electrical conduction properties are required.

  4. Conformational Stability and Interplay of Helical N- and C-Terminal Domains with Implications on Major Ampullate Spidroin Assembly.

    PubMed

    Bauer, Joschka; Scheibel, Thomas

    2017-03-13

    Major ampullate spidroin (MaSp) assembly starts in the abdomen of the spider, where spidroins are stored as a liquid dope at a high concentration. The dope is squeezed into the spinning duct, and assembly is finished upon drawing of fibers. Unwanted aggregation of the spidroin solution in the gland is suppressed by prestructuring of the spidroins in micelle-like assemblies, with their hydrophobic stretches being hidden from the solvent and the hydrophilic nonrepetitive amino (NRN) and carboxy (NRC) terminal domains being exposed on the micelle surface. Conversion of the fluid dope into a solid fiber is induced within the spinning duct by acidification and ion exchange (sodium chloride against potassium phosphate), with the impact on the structure of the NRN and NRC domains acting as a regulatory switch for fiber assembly. While NRN dimerizes pH-dependently in an antiparallel fashion (i.e. quaternary structural changes), the tertiary structure of dimeric NRC is changed by shear stress and a drop in pH, inducing the alignment of the intrinsically unstructured core domains accompanied by β-sheet formation of motifs of the core domain. Here, the conformational stability of NRN1 and NRC1 of Latrodectus hesperus MaSp1 were studied using independent techniques such as circular dichroism, fluorescence and absorbance spectroscopy, and scanning electron, transmission electron, and atomic force microscopy. In this context, it could be shown that strong, non-natural acidification drives NRC1 to unfold and aggregate into β-sheet-rich structures, preventing recombinant spidroins from assembling into aligned fibrils. Interestingly, NRN1 and NRC1 apparently do not interact with each other, making spidroin assembly easy to control step-by-step and straightforward due to missing unproductive side reactions.

  5. The effect of water on the structure and dynamics of spider silk and silk-like polymers studied by magnetic resonance and x-ray diffraction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Zhitong

    Due to its unique combination of tensile strength and elasticity, the dragline silk of the orb-weaving spider Nephila clavipes has attracted much attention. Most importantly, it has a high energy to break that is unparalleled in other fibers. Though the basis for the strength of the silk fiber has been uncovered, the molecular reason of the fiber's large shrinkage in water is unknown. This has been a major hurdle in the practical applications of the fiber, and to any man-made copy of this material. Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) is used to probe of the long-range structures in the semicrystalline silk. Scattering patterns of wet and dry samples indicate that the crystalline regions stack along the fiber axis to form lamellar structures. These structures are sparsely dispersed in a softer matrix with a long spacing of 8.4 nm. This spacing increases reversibly by 4% when fibers are stretched by 10%, and shrinks to 5.8 nm when fibers shrink 45% in length on wetting. Solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) experiments are performed to reveal the microscopic details of the dynamics in the silk. Cross-polarization magic-angle spinning 13C NMR demonstrates that a substantial fraction of the glycine, glutamine, tyrosine, serine, and leucine residues experience dramatic increases in the rate of large-amplitude reorientation at the protein backbone when fibers are wet. Variable temperature deuterium NMR measurements were carried out on silk samples that incorporate leucine deuterated at the methyl group. Results show that only a subset of these leucine residues is strongly affected by water. Quantitative analysis and chemical considerations suggest that the highly conserved YGGLGS(N)QGAGR blocks, only found in the dragline silk protein, play a major role in the supercontraction process. Protein sequences are proposed to produce artificial spider silk with similar mechanical properties, but without the undesired phenomenon of supercontraction. The spinning and

  6. Natural Non-Mulberry Silk Nanoparticles for Potential-Controlled Drug Release

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Juan; Yin, Zhuping; Xue, Xiang; Kundu, Subhas C.; Mo, Xiumei; Lu, Shenzhou

    2016-01-01

    Natural silk protein nanoparticles are a promising biomaterial for drug delivery due to their pleiotropic properties, including biocompatibility, high bioavailability, and biodegradability. Chinese oak tasar Antheraea pernyi silk fibroin (ApF) nanoparticles are easily obtained using cations as reagents under mild conditions. The mild conditions are potentially advantageous for the encapsulation of sensitive drugs and therapeutic molecules. In the present study, silk fibroin protein nanoparticles are loaded with differently-charged small-molecule drugs, such as doxorubicin hydrochloride, ibuprofen, and ibuprofen-Na, by simple absorption based on electrostatic interactions. The structure, morphology and biocompatibility of the silk nanoparticles in vitro are investigated. In vitro release of the drugs from the nanoparticles depends on charge-charge interactions between the drugs and the nanoparticles. The release behavior of the compounds from the nanoparticles demonstrates that positively-charged molecules are released in a more prolonged or sustained manner. Cell viability studies with L929 demonstrated that the ApF nanoparticles significantly promoted cell growth. The results suggest that Chinese oak tasar Antheraea pernyi silk fibroin nanoparticles can be used as an alternative matrix for drug carrying and controlled release in diverse biomedical applications. PMID:27916946

  7. Recombinant spider silk from aqueous solutions via a bio-inspired microfluidic chip

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peng, Qingfa; Zhang, Yaopeng; Lu, Li; Shao, Huili; Qin, Kankan; Hu, Xuechao; Xia, Xiaoxia

    2016-11-01

    Spiders achieve superior silk fibres by controlling the molecular assembly of silk proteins and the hierarchical structure of fibres. However, current wet-spinning process for recombinant spidroins oversimplifies the natural spinning process. Here, water-soluble recombinant spider dragline silk protein (with a low molecular weight of 47 kDa) was adopted to prepare aqueous spinning dope. Artificial spider silks were spun via microfluidic wet-spinning, using a continuous post-spin drawing process (WS-PSD). By mimicking the natural spinning apparatus, shearing and elongational sections were integrated in the microfluidic spinning chip to induce assembly, orientation of spidroins, and fibril structure formation. The additional post-spin drawing process following the wet-spinning section partially mimics the spinning process of natural spider silk and substantially contributes to the compact aggregation of microfibrils. Subsequent post-stretching further improves the hierarchical structure of the fibres, including the crystalline structure, orientation, and fibril melting. The tensile strength and elongation of post-treated fibres reached up to 510 MPa and 15%, respectively.

  8. Recombinant spider silk from aqueous solutions via a bio-inspired microfluidic chip

    PubMed Central

    Peng, Qingfa; Zhang, Yaopeng; Lu, Li; Shao, Huili; Qin, Kankan; Hu, Xuechao; Xia, Xiaoxia

    2016-01-01

    Spiders achieve superior silk fibres by controlling the molecular assembly of silk proteins and the hierarchical structure of fibres. However, current wet-spinning process for recombinant spidroins oversimplifies the natural spinning process. Here, water-soluble recombinant spider dragline silk protein (with a low molecular weight of 47 kDa) was adopted to prepare aqueous spinning dope. Artificial spider silks were spun via microfluidic wet-spinning, using a continuous post-spin drawing process (WS-PSD). By mimicking the natural spinning apparatus, shearing and elongational sections were integrated in the microfluidic spinning chip to induce assembly, orientation of spidroins, and fibril structure formation. The additional post-spin drawing process following the wet-spinning section partially mimics the spinning process of natural spider silk and substantially contributes to the compact aggregation of microfibrils. Subsequent post-stretching further improves the hierarchical structure of the fibres, including the crystalline structure, orientation, and fibril melting. The tensile strength and elongation of post-treated fibres reached up to 510 MPa and 15%, respectively. PMID:27819339

  9. Mechanics and Morphology of Silk Drawn from Anesthetized Spiders

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Madsen, B.; Vollrath, F.

    CO2 and N2 anesthetized Nephila spiders produced dragline silk with mechanical properties that differed from control silk as a function of time under anesthesia. Silk from CO2 spiders had a significantly lower breaking strain and breaking energy, significantly higher initial modulus, and marginally lower breaking stress. At the onset of anesthesia the silk diameter became highly variable. During deep anesthesia silk either became thinner or retained cross-section but fibrillated.

  10. Mechanisms and Control of Silk-based Electrospinning

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Feng; Zuo, Baoqi; Fan, Zhihai; Xie, Zonggang; Lu, Qiang; Zhang, Xueguang; Kaplan, David L.

    2012-01-01

    Silk fibroin (SF) nanofibers, formed through electrospinning, have attractive utility in regenerative medicine due to the biocompatibility, mechanical properties and tailorable degradability. The mechanism of SF electrospun nanofiber formation was studied to gain new insight into the formation and control of nanofibers. SF electrospinning solutions with different nanostructures (nanospheres or nanofilaments) were prepared by controlling the drying process during the preparation of regenerated SF films. Compared to SF nanospheres in solution, SF nanofilaments had better spinnability with lower viscosity when the concentration of silk protein was below 10%, indicating a critical role for SF morphology, and in particular, nanostructures for the formation of electrospun fibers. More interesting, the diameter of electrospun fibers gradually increased from 50 nm to 300 nm as the increase in concentration of SF nanofilaments in the solution from 6% to 12%, implying size control by simply adjusting SF nanostructure and concentration. Aside from process parameters investigated in previous studies, such as SF concentration, viscosity and electrical potential, the present mechanism emphasizes significant influence of SF nanostructure on spinnability and diameter control of SF electrospun fibers, providing a controllable option for the preparation of silk-based electrospun scaffolds for biomaterials, drug delivery and tissue engineering needs. PMID:22300335

  11. Cell proliferation and migration in silk fibroin 3D scaffolds.

    PubMed

    Mandal, Biman B; Kundu, Subhas C

    2009-05-01

    Pore architecture in 3D polymeric scaffolds is known to play a critical role in tissue engineering as it provides the vital framework for the seeded cells to organize into a functioning tissue. In this report, we investigated the effects of different freezing temperature regimes on silk fibroin protein 3D scaffold pore microstructure. The fabricated scaffolds using freeze-dry technique were used as a 3D model to monitor cell proliferation and migration. Pores of 200-250microm diameter were formed by slow cooling at temperatures of -20 and -80 degrees C but were found to be limited in porosity and pore interconnectivity as observed through scanning electron microscopic images. In contrast, highly interconnected pores with 96% porosity were observed when silk solutions were rapidly frozen at -196 degrees C. A detailed study was conducted to assess the affect of pore size, porosity and interconnectivity on human dermal fibroblast cell proliferation and migration on these 3D scaffolds using confocal microscopy. The cells were observed to migrate within the scaffold interconnectivities and were found to reach scaffold periphery within 28 days of culture. Confocal images further confirmed normal cell attachment and alignment of actin filaments within the porous scaffold matrix with well-developed nuclei. This study indicates rapid freeze-drying technique as an alternative method to fabricate highly interconnected porous scaffolds for developing functional 3D silk fibroin matrices for potential tissue engineering, biomedical and biotechnological applications.

  12. Processing Techniques and Applications of Silk Hydrogels in Bioengineering

    PubMed Central

    Floren, Michael; Migliaresi, Claudio; Motta, Antonella

    2016-01-01

    Hydrogels are an attractive class of tunable material platforms that, combined with their structural and functional likeness to biological environments, have a diversity of applications in bioengineering. Several polymers, natural and synthetic, can be used, the material selection being based on the required functional characteristics of the prepared hydrogels. Silk fibroin (SF) is an attractive natural polymer for its excellent processability, biocompatibility, controlled degradation, mechanical properties and tunable formats and a good candidate for the fabrication of hydrogels. Tremendous effort has been made to control the structural and functional characteristic of silk hydrogels, integrating novel biological features with advanced processing techniques, to develop the next generation of functional SF hydrogels. Here, we review the several processing methods developed to prepare advanced SF hydrogel formats, emphasizing a bottom-up approach beginning with critical structural characteristics of silk proteins and their behavior under specific gelation environments. Additionally, the preparation of SF hydrogel blends and other advanced formats will also be discussed. We conclude with a brief description of the attractive utility of SF hydrogels in relevant bioengineering applications. PMID:27649251

  13. Soft magnetic memory of silk cocoon membrane

    PubMed Central

    Roy, Manas; Dubey, Amarish; Singh, Sushil Kumar; Bhargava, Kalpana; Sethy, Niroj Kumar; Philip, Deepu; Sarkar, Sabyasachi; Bajpai, Alok; Das, Mainak

    2016-01-01

    Silk cocoon membrane (SCM), a solid matrix of protein fiber, responds to light, heat and moisture and converts these energies to electrical signals. Essentially it exhibits photo-electric and thermo-electric properties; making it a natural electro-magnetic sensor, which may influence the pupal development. This raises the question: ‘is it only electricity?’, or ‘it also posses some kind of magnetic memory?’ This work attempted to explore the magnetic memory of SCM and confirm its soft magnetism. Fe, Co, Ni, Mn, Gd were found in SCM, in traces, through energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Presence of iron was ascertained by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). In addition, EPR-spectra showed the presence of a stable pool of carbon-centric free radical in the cocoon structure. Carbon-centric free radicals behaves as a soft magnet inherently. Magnetic-Hysteresis (M-H) of SCM confirmed its soft magnetism. It can be concluded that the soft bio-magnetic feature of SCM is due to the entrapment of ferromagnetic elements in a stable pool of carbon centric radicals occurring on the super-coiled protein structure. Natural soft magnets like SCM provide us with models for developing eco-friendly, protein-based biological soft magnets. PMID:27374752

  14. Soft magnetic memory of silk cocoon membrane.

    PubMed

    Roy, Manas; Dubey, Amarish; Singh, Sushil Kumar; Bhargava, Kalpana; Sethy, Niroj Kumar; Philip, Deepu; Sarkar, Sabyasachi; Bajpai, Alok; Das, Mainak

    2016-07-04

    Silk cocoon membrane (SCM), a solid matrix of protein fiber, responds to light, heat and moisture and converts these energies to electrical signals. Essentially it exhibits photo-electric and thermo-electric properties; making it a natural electro-magnetic sensor, which may influence the pupal development. This raises the question: 'is it only electricity?', or 'it also posses some kind of magnetic memory?' This work attempted to explore the magnetic memory of SCM and confirm its soft magnetism. Fe, Co, Ni, Mn, Gd were found in SCM, in traces, through energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Presence of iron was ascertained by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). In addition, EPR-spectra showed the presence of a stable pool of carbon-centric free radical in the cocoon structure. Carbon-centric free radicals behaves as a soft magnet inherently. Magnetic-Hysteresis (M-H) of SCM confirmed its soft magnetism. It can be concluded that the soft bio-magnetic feature of SCM is due to the entrapment of ferromagnetic elements in a stable pool of carbon centric radicals occurring on the super-coiled protein structure. Natural soft magnets like SCM provide us with models for developing eco-friendly, protein-based biological soft magnets.

  15. Soft magnetic memory of silk cocoon membrane

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roy, Manas; Dubey, Amarish; Singh, Sushil Kumar; Bhargava, Kalpana; Sethy, Niroj Kumar; Philip, Deepu; Sarkar, Sabyasachi; Bajpai, Alok; Das, Mainak

    2016-07-01

    Silk cocoon membrane (SCM), a solid matrix of protein fiber, responds to light, heat and moisture and converts these energies to electrical signals. Essentially it exhibits photo-electric and thermo-electric properties; making it a natural electro-magnetic sensor, which may influence the pupal development. This raises the question: ‘is it only electricity?’, or ‘it also posses some kind of magnetic memory?’ This work attempted to explore the magnetic memory of SCM and confirm its soft magnetism. Fe, Co, Ni, Mn, Gd were found in SCM, in traces, through energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Presence of iron was ascertained by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). In addition, EPR-spectra showed the presence of a stable pool of carbon-centric free radical in the cocoon structure. Carbon-centric free radicals behaves as a soft magnet inherently. Magnetic-Hysteresis (M-H) of SCM confirmed its soft magnetism. It can be concluded that the soft bio-magnetic feature of SCM is due to the entrapment of ferromagnetic elements in a stable pool of carbon centric radicals occurring on the super-coiled protein structure. Natural soft magnets like SCM provide us with models for developing eco-friendly, protein-based biological soft magnets.

  16. Surface modification of silk fibroin fabric using layer-by-layer polyelectrolyte deposition and heparin immobilization for small-diameter vascular prostheses.

    PubMed

    Elahi, M Fazley; Guan, Guoping; Wang, Lu; Zhao, Xinzhe; Wang, Fujun; King, Martin W

    2015-03-03

    There is an urgent need to develop a biologically active implantable small-diameter vascular prosthesis with long-term patency. Silk-fibroin-based small-diameter vascular prosthesis is a promising candidate having higher patency rate; however, the surface modification is indeed required to improve its further hemocompatibility. In this study, silk fibroin fabric was modified by a two-stage process. First, the surface of silk fibroin fabric was coated using a layer-by-layer polyelectrolyte deposition technique by stepwise dipping the silk fibroin fabric into a solution of cationic poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) and anionic poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) solution. The dipping procedure was repeated to obtain the PAH/PAA multilayers deposited on the silk fibroin fabrics. Second, the polyelectrolyte-deposited silk fibroin fabrics were treated in EDC/NHS-activated low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) solution at 4 °C for 24 h, resulting in immobilization of LMWH on the silk fibroin fabrics surface. Scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray data revealed the accomplishment of LMWH immobilization on the polyelectrolyte-deposited silk fibroin fabric surface. The higher the number of PAH/PAA coating layers on the silk fibroin fabric, the more surface hydrophilicity could be obtained, resulting in a higher fetal bovine serum protein and platelets adhesion resistance properties when tested in vitro. In addition, compared with untreated sample, the surface-modified silk fibroin fabrics showed negligible loss of bursting strength and thus reveal the acceptability of polyelectrolytes deposition and heparin immobilization approach for silk-fibroin-based small-diameter vascular prostheses modification.

  17. 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.

  18. Spider silk gut: development and characterization of a novel strong spider silk fiber.

    PubMed

    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

    2014-12-05

    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.

  19. 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

  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. 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.

  2. Spider Silks-Biomimetics Beyond Silk Fibers: Hydrogels, films & Adhesives from Aqueous Recombinant Spider Silk dopes: A Synchrotron X-Ray Nano-Structural Study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sampath, Sujatha; Jones, Justin; Harris, Thomas; Lewis, Randolph

    2015-03-01

    With a combination of high strength and extensibility, spider silk's (SS) mechanical properties surpass those of any man made fiber. The superior properties are due to the primary protein composition and the complex hierarchical structural organization from nanoscale to macroscopic length scales. Considerable progress has been made to synthetically mimic the production of fibers based on SS proteins. We present synchrotron x-ray micro diffraction (SyXRD) results on new fibers and gels (hydrogels, lyogels) from recombinant SS protein water-soluble dopes. Novelty in these materials is two-fold: water based rather than widely used HFIP acid synthesis, makes them safe in medical applications (replacement for tendons & ligaments). Secondly, hydrogels morphology render them as excellent carriers for targeted drug delivery biomedical applications. SyXRD results reveal semi-crystalline structure with ordered beta-sheets and relatively high degree of axial orientation in the fibers, making them the closest yet to natural spider silks. SyXRD on the gels elucidate the structural transformations during the self-recovery process through mechanical removal and addition of water. Studies correlating the observed structural changes to mechanical properties are underway.

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

    2015-01-01

    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.

  5. Biomimetic Nanofibrillation in Two-Component Biopolymer Blends with Structural Analogs to Spider Silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xie, Lan; Xu, Huan; Li, Liang-Bin; Hsiao, Benjamin S.; Zhong, Gan-Ji; Li, Zhong-Ming

    2016-10-01

    Despite the enormous potential in bioinspired fabrication of high-strength structure by mimicking the spinning process of spider silk, currently accessible routes (e.g., microfluidic and electrospinning approaches) still have substantial function gaps in providing precision control over the nanofibrillar superstructure, crystalline morphology or molecular orientation. Here the concept of biomimetic nanofibrillation, by copying the spiders’ spinning principles, was conceived to build silk-mimicking hierarchies in two-phase biodegradable blends, strategically involving the stepwise integration of elongational shear and high-pressure shear. Phase separation confined on nanoscale, together with deformation of discrete phases and pre-alignment of polymer chains, was triggered in the elongational shear, conferring the readiness for direct nanofibrillation in the latter shearing stage. The orderly aligned nanofibrils, featuring an ultralow diameter of around 100 nm and the “rigid‑soft” system crosslinked by nanocrystal domains like silk protein dopes, were secreted by fine nanochannels. The incorporation of multiscale silk-mimicking structures afforded exceptional combination of strength, ductility and toughness for the nanofibrillar polymer composites. The proposed spider spinning-mimicking strategy, offering the biomimetic function integration unattainable with current approaches, may prompt materials scientists to pursue biopolymer mimics of silk with high performance yet light weight.

  6. Processing and characterization of silk sericin from Bombyx mori and its application in biomaterials and biomedicines.

    PubMed

    Cao, Ting-Ting; Zhang, Yu-Qing

    2016-04-01

    Bombyx mori silk is composed of 60-80% fibroin, 15-35% sericin and 1-5% non-sericin component including wax, pigments, sugars and other impurities. For two decades, the protein-based silk fibroin was extensively used in the research and development of medical biomaterials and biomedicines. Sericin is frequently ignored and abandoned as a byproduct or waste in the processing of traditional silk fabrics, silk floss or modern silk biomaterials. However, similar to fibroin, sericin is not only a highly useful biological material, but also a lot of biological activity. Moreover, the non-sericin component present with sericin in the cocoon shell also has a strong biological activity. In this review, the extraction and recovery methods of sericin and the non-sericin component from the cocoon layer are reported, and their composition, properties and biological activity are described to produce a comprehensive report on biomedical materials and biological drugs. In addition, related problems or concerns present in the research and development of sericin are discussed, and a potential application of sericin in sustainable development is also presented.

  7. Self-assembly of nucleic acids, silk and hybrid materials thereof.

    PubMed

    Humenik, Martin; Scheibel, Thomas

    2014-12-17

    Top-down approaches based on etching techniques have almost reached their limits in terms of dimension. Therefore, novel assembly strategies and types of nanomaterials are required to allow technological advances. Self-assembly processes independent of external energy sources and unlimited in dimensional scaling have become a very promising approach. Here,we highlight recent developments in self-assembled DNA-polymer, silk-polymer and silk-DNA hybrids as promising materials with biotic and abiotic moieties for constructing complex hierarchical materials in ‘bottom-up’ approaches. DNA block copolymers assemble into nanostructures typically exposing a DNA corona which allows functionalization, labeling and higher levels of organization due to its specific addressable recognition properties. In contrast, self-assembly of natural silk proteins as well as their recombinant variants yields mechanically stable β-sheet rich nanostructures. The combination of silk with abiotic polymers gains hybrid materials with new functionalities. Together, the precision of DNA hybridization and robustness of silk fibrillar structures combine in novel conjugates enable processing of higher-order structures with nanoscale architecture and programmable functions.

  8. Biomimetic Nanofibrillation in Two-Component Biopolymer Blends with Structural Analogs to Spider Silk

    PubMed Central

    Xie, Lan; Xu, Huan; Li, Liang-Bin; Hsiao, Benjamin S.; Zhong, Gan-Ji; Li, Zhong-Ming

    2016-01-01

    Despite the enormous potential in bioinspired fabrication of high-strength structure by mimicking the spinning process of spider silk, currently accessible routes (e.g., microfluidic and electrospinning approaches) still have substantial function gaps in providing precision control over the nanofibrillar superstructure, crystalline morphology or molecular orientation. Here the concept of biomimetic nanofibrillation, by copying the spiders’ spinning principles, was conceived to build silk-mimicking hierarchies in two-phase biodegradable blends, strategically involving the stepwise integration of elongational shear and high-pressure shear. Phase separation confined on nanoscale, together with deformation of discrete phases and pre-alignment of polymer chains, was triggered in the elongational shear, conferring the readiness for direct nanofibrillation in the latter shearing stage. The orderly aligned nanofibrils, featuring an ultralow diameter of around 100 nm and the “rigid−soft” system crosslinked by nanocrystal domains like silk protein dopes, were secreted by fine nanochannels. The incorporation of multiscale silk-mimicking structures afforded exceptional combination of strength, ductility and toughness for the nanofibrillar polymer composites. The proposed spider spinning-mimicking strategy, offering the biomimetic function integration unattainable with current approaches, may prompt materials scientists to pursue biopolymer mimics of silk with high performance yet light weight. PMID:27694989

  9. Self-assembly of nucleic acids, silk and hybrid materials thereof

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Humenik, Martin; Scheibel, Thomas

    2014-12-01

    Top-down approaches based on etching techniques have almost reached their limits in terms of dimension. Therefore, novel assembly strategies and types of nanomaterials are required to allow technological advances. Self-assembly processes independent of external energy sources and unlimited in dimensional scaling have become a very promising approach. Here, we highlight recent developments in self-assembled DNA-polymer, silk-polymer and silk-DNA hybrids as promising materials with biotic and abiotic moieties for constructing complex hierarchical materials in ‘bottom-up’ approaches. DNA block copolymers assemble into nanostructures typically exposing a DNA corona which allows functionalization, labeling and higher levels of organization due to its specific addressable recognition properties. In contrast, self-assembly of natural silk proteins as well as their recombinant variants yields mechanically stable β-sheet rich nanostructures. The combination of silk with abiotic polymers gains hybrid materials with new functionalities. Together, the precision of DNA hybridization and robustness of silk fibrillar structures combine in novel conjugates enable processing of higher-order structures with nanoscale architecture and programmable functions.

  10. Processing and characterisation of a novel electropolymerized silk fibroin hydrogel membrane.

    PubMed

    Wang, Hai-Yan; Zhang, Yu-Qing

    2014-08-26

    Silk fibroin can be made into various forms of biocompatible medical materials, including hydrogel due to its excellent properties. Here, we report a novel method for the preparation of electropolymerized silk fibroin hydrogel membrane (ESFHM), which is formed on a nanoporous film as a barrier using a homemade device at a higher DC voltage. Regenerated silk fibroin solution in Tris buffer (pH 6.55-7.55) was added into a reservoir with a negative charge, and the silk molecules migrated toward the positive charge at 80VDC, resulting in the formation of the ESFHM on the barrier film. Barrier film with a MWCO of 10 kDa is favourable to the formation of the ESFHM. Semi-transparent ESFHM with a swelling ratio of 1056.4% predominantly consisted of a mixture of β-sheets and α-helix crystalline structures. SEM studies revealed that the ESFHM consisted of a 3D mesh structure woven by a chain of silk fibroin nanoparticles with a size of approximately 30 nanometres, similar to a pearl necklace. In vitro studies indicated that the ESFHM was degradable and was sufficient for cell adhesion and growth. Thus, ESFHM is a promising candidate for loading bioactive protein and appropriate cells, as artificial skin or for use in transplantation.

  11. Fabrication and characterization of silk-fibroin-coated quantum dots.

    PubMed

    Nathwani, Bhavik B; Jaffari, Mona; Juriani, Ameet R; Mathur, Anshu B; Meissner, Kenith E

    2009-03-01

    We report a novel technique of directly coating colloidal CdSe/ZnS core/shell quantum dots (QDs) with silk fibroin (SF), a protein derived from the Bombyx mori silk worm. The approach results in protein-modified QDs with little or no particle aggregation, and mitigates the issue of biocompatibility. QDs have desirable optical properties, such as narrow-band emission, broadband absorption, high quantum yield, and high resistance to photobleaching. SF is a fibrous protein polymer with a biomimetic peptide sequence, water and oxygen permeability, low inflammatory response, no thrombogenecity, and cellular biocompatibility, which are desirable properties for in vivo delivery. Combining the unique properties of QDs with the biocompatibility profile of SF, the approach produces particles representing a powerful tool for numerous in vivo and in vitro applications. The design and preparation of these protein-modified QDs conjugates is reported along with functional characterization using luminescence, transmission electron microscope (TEM), and atomic force microscope (AFM). Additionally, we report results obtained using the QDs conjugates as a fluorescent label for bioimaging HEYA8 ovarian cancer cells.

  12. Silver nanoparticle containing silk fibroin bionanotextiles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Calamak, Semih; Aksoy, Eda Ayse; Erdogdu, Ceren; Sagıroglu, Meral; Ulubayram, Kezban

    2015-02-01

    Development of new generation bionanotextiles is an important growing field, and they have found applications as wound dressings, bandages, tissue scaffolds, etc. In this study, silver nanoparticle (AgNP) containing silk-based bionanotextiles were fabricated by electrospinning, and processing parameters were optimized and discussed in detail. AgNPs were in situ synthesized within fibroin nanofibers by UV reduction of silver ions to metallic silver. The influence of post-treatments via methanol treatment and glutaraldehyde (GA) vapor exhibited changes in the secondary structure of silk. Methanol treatment increased the tensile properties of fibers due to supported crystalline silk structure, while GA vapor promoted amorphous secondary structure. AgNP containing silk fibroin bionanotextiles had strong antibacterial activity against gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus and gram-negative Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

  13. Dating silk by capillary electrophoresis mass spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Moini, Mehdi; Klauenberg, Kathryn; Ballard, Mary

    2011-10-01

    A new capillary electrophoresis mass spectrometry (CE-MS) technique is introduced for age estimation of silk textiles based on amino acid racemization rates. With an L to D conversion half-life of ~2500 years for silk (B. mori) aspartic acid, the technique is capable of dating silk textiles ranging in age from several decades to a few-thousand-years-old. Analysis required only ~100 μg or less of silk fiber. Except for a 2 h acid hydrolysis at 110 °C, no other sample preparation is required. The CE-MS analysis takes ~20 min, consumes only nanoliters of the amino acid mixture, and provides both amino acid composition profiles and D/L ratios for ~11 amino acids.

  14. Flexible Microsupercapacitors Using Silk and Cotton Substrates.

    PubMed

    Das, Chayanika; Krishnamoorthy, Kothandam

    2016-11-02

    Flexible microsupercapacitors (MSCs) are needed to power ultrasmall wearable electronic devices. Silk cocoons comprise microfibers of silk, which is an attractive natural resource to fabricate MSCs. These fibers are insulators; hence, they must be converted to conducting surfaces. Polyphenols from green tea have been used as a protective layer that also acted as a reducing agent for silver ions. The reduction of silver ions resulted in the formation of silver nanoparticles that subsequently reduced gold ions to gold. The gold film imparts conductivity to the silk fiber without affecting the mechanical strength of the silk fiber. The mechanical strength of uncoated silk fiber and gold coated silk fiber were found to be 5.2 and 5 GPa, respectively. A pseudocapacitive polymer, poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene), was used as the active material to fabricate MSCs. The MSCs showed an impressive gravimetric capacitance of 500 F/g and areal capacitance of 62 mF/cm(2). The power and energy densities were calculated to be 2458 W/kg and 44 Wh/kg, respectively. The device was coiled on a cylinder, and the performance of the device was found to be same as that of the uncoiled device. To demonstrate that the approach is not specific to silk, we also coated gold on cotton fibers using the protocol used to coat gold on silk. Coiled and uncoiled supercapacitors were fabricated using PEDOT coated cotton fibers. The gravimetric capacitance was found to be 250 F/g with energy and power densities of 5.5 Wh/kg and 1118 W/kg, respectively. We have also demonstrated that the devices can be connected in parallel and series to improve the performance of the miniaturized devices.

  15. [Intramolecular homologous recombination event occurred in the spider egg case silk gene CySp2 of wasp spider].

    PubMed

    Han, L; Nakagaki, M

    2013-01-01

    To gain further understanding of egg case silk proteins gene family, Zhao et al. isolated two full-length cDNAs for egg case silk proteins, cylindrical silk protein 1 (CySpl) and cylindrical silk protein 2 (CySp2), from the wasp spider, Argiope bruennichi. CySp2 was reported to contain no apparent signal peptide sequences, and the CySp1-CySp2 complex, which would possess a signal peptide, would be transported across the endoplasmic reticulum and secreted to the Golgi. Genomic DNA sequencing is one approach that can be successfully utilized to retrieve 5' ends of silk genes; using this method, we retrieved the 5' end of CySp2. We found that CySp2 contained a typical signal peptide similar to that found in CySp1; thus, due to technical limitations, an artificial error had occurred in the CySp2 sequence reported by Zhao et al.

  16. Chromosome Mapping of Dragline Silk Genes in the Genomes of Widow Spiders (Araneae, Theridiidae)

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Yonghui; Ayoub, Nadia A.; Hayashi, Cheryl Y.

    2010-01-01

    With its incredible strength and toughness, spider dragline silk is widely lauded for its impressive material properties. Dragline silk is composed of two structural proteins, MaSp1 and MaSp2, which are encoded by members of the spidroin gene family. While previous studies have characterized the genes that encode the constituent proteins of spider silks, nothing is known about the physical location of these genes. We determined karyotypes and sex chromosome organization for the widow spiders, Latrodectus hesperus and L. geometricus (Araneae, Theridiidae). We then used fluorescence in situ hybridization to map the genomic locations of the genes for the silk proteins that compose the remarkable spider dragline. These genes included three loci for the MaSp1 protein and the single locus for the MaSp2 protein. In addition, we mapped a MaSp1 pseudogene. All the MaSp1 gene copies and pseudogene localized to a single chromosomal region while MaSp2 was located on a different chromosome of L. hesperus. Using probes derived from L. hesperus, we comparatively mapped all three MaSp1 loci to a single region of a L. geometricus chromosome. As with L. hesperus, MaSp2 was found on a separate L. geometricus chromosome, thus again unlinked to the MaSp1 loci. These results indicate orthology of the corresponding chromosomal regions in the two widow genomes. Moreover, the occurrence of multiple MaSp1 loci in a conserved gene cluster across species suggests that MaSp1 proliferated by tandem duplication in a common ancestor of L. geometricus and L. hesperus. Unequal crossover events during recombination could have given rise to the gene copies and could also maintain sequence similarity among gene copies over time. Further comparative mapping with taxa of increasing divergence from Latrodectus will pinpoint when the MaSp1 duplication events occurred and the phylogenetic distribution of silk gene linkage patterns. PMID:20877726

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