Science.gov

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. 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.

  3. Identification and Characterization of Multiple Spidroin 1 Genes Encoding Major Ampullate Silk Proteins in Nephila clavipes

    PubMed Central

    Gaines, William A.; Marcotte, William R.

    2010-01-01

    Spider dragline silk is primarily composed of proteins called major ampullate spidroins (MaSp) that consist of a large repeat array flanked by non-repetitive 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 have 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. PMID:18828837

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-03-01

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

  5. A novel methodology to explore the viscoelasticity of spider major ampullate silk.

    PubMed

    Brooks, A E; Brothers, T J; Creager, M S; Lewis, R V

    2007-01-01

    Even before material science was a recognized discipline, the amazing mechanical properties of spider silk were documented and became the object of much study. In addition to the exceptional material properties of spider silk and the reported low immunogenicity, its concatenated amino acid motif arrangement facilitates a distinct possibility of manipulating the silk to create a designer biomaterial for medical applications. Crystalline protein regions imbedded in a mobile protein matrix give it a distinct set of viscoelastic abilities. Consequently, elasticity cannot be simply quantified by only measuring extensibility. To understand how the sequence of the major ampullate proteins affects elasticity, the hysteresis of single fibers from two different species, Argiope aurantia and Nephila clavipes, were examined using cyclic loading and unloading. The yield point that discriminates a transition from elastic extension to a plastic extension was analyzed by examining three different properties: Young's modulus, energy recovery and slack in the fiber after recovery. Young's modulus remained relatively constant regardless of the cycle. However, the energy recovered decreased as the slack and cycle number increased. Large standard deviations masked any quantitative differences between species and substantiated the necessity of developing synthetic silk to harness the amazing mechanical properties of spider silk. PMID:20799185

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

    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 beta 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 beta -sheeted crystals are tightly interconnected by pre-stretched chains as suggested recently (Y. Liu et al., Nat. Mater. 4, 901 (2005)).

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

    PubMed

    Dionne, Justine; Lefèvre, Thierry; Auger, Michèle

    2016-01-01

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

  10. 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

  11. Major ampullate spidroins from Euprosthenops australis: multiplicity at protein, mRNA and gene levels.

    PubMed

    Rising, A; Johansson, J; Larson, G; Bongcam-Rudloff, E; Engström, W; Hjälm, G

    2007-10-01

    Spider dragline silk possesses extraordinary mechanical properties. It consists of large fibrous proteins called spidroins that display modular structures. It is known to consist of two proteins: the major ampullate spidroin (MaSp) 1 and MaSp2. This study analyses MaSp sequences from the nursery-web spider Euprosthenops australis. We have identified a previously uncharacterized MaSp2 sequence and a new MaSp-like spidroin, which display distinct homogenous submotifs within their respective Gly-rich repeats. Furthermore, a group of MaSp1 cDNA clones show unexpected heterogeneity. Genomic PCR identified several MaSp1 gene variants within individual spiders, which suggests the presence of a gene cluster in E. australis. Finally, the evolution of spidroin genes is discussed in relation to phylogenetic analysis of nonrepetitive C-terminal domains from diverse species.

  12. 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.

  13. Hypotheses that correlate the sequence, structure, and mechanical properties of spider silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Hayashi, C Y; Shipley, N H; Lewis, R V

    1999-01-01

    Several types of silks and silk protein coding genes have been characterized from orb-web weaving spiders. When the protein sequences of major ampullate, minor ampullate, and flagelliform silks from Nephila clavipes are compared, they can be summarized as sets of shared amino acid motifs. Four of these motifs and their likely secondary structures are described. Each structural element, termed a module, is then associated with its impact on the mechanical properties of a silk fiber. In particular, correlations are drawn between an alanine-rich 'crystalline module' and tensile strength and between a proline-containing 'elasticity module' and extensibility.

  14. Analyzing the clustering effects of major ampullate silk mechanical properties - biomed 2009.

    PubMed

    Brooks, Amanda E; Brooks, Benjamin D; Creager, Melinda S; Lewis, Randolph V

    2009-01-01

    Although spider silk displays an amazing combination of strength and extensibility unrivalled by most synthetic biomaterials, its molecular architecture is relatively simplistic. Four primary amino acid block motifs (An, (GA)n, GPGXX, GGX) have been correlated with mechanical functions. Recent genetic engineering to control the mechanical behavior of synthetic silk fibers has verified much of the proposed structure/function relationship; however, the genetically defined exchange between strength and elasticity has proven not to be a direct relationship. Thus, complete control over the mechanical properties of a synthetic spider silk based fiber continues to elude scientists. The yet undefined factor(s) may be an element of the fabrication process. Natural silk production results from a combination of dehydration and protein alignment that occurs during concurrent spin and draw processes. While synthetic fiber production attempts to mimic 1) dehydration with a series of coagulating solvents and 2) protein alignment through the controlled extrusion of a concentration dependent spinning solution, the spinning and drawing processes are separated and occur sequentially. Many studies have been conducted which have examined multiple parameters; however, the spinning conditions which produce consistent mechanical properties, necessary for the progression toward any medical, commercial or military application, have not been identified. Here, we report on mathematical methods based on data from a variety of spinning conditions to characterize different impacting properties as either primary (i.e. a condition which directs or dictates mechanical properties of an individual fiber) or ptimizing (i.e. a condition which increases the engineered properties of the silk). PMID:19369768

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-01

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

  16. 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

  17. Containment of extended length polymorphisms in silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Chinali, Alberto; Vater, Wolfram; Rudakoff, Baerbel; Sponner, Alexander; Unger, Eberhard; Grosse, Frank; Guehrs, Karl-Heinz; Weisshart, Klaus

    2010-04-01

    The spider silk gene family to the current date has been developed by gene duplication and homogenization events as well as conservation of crucial sequence parts. These evolutionary processes have created an amazing diversity of silk types each associated with specific properties and functions. In addition, they have led to allelic and gene variants within a species as exemplified by the major ampullate spidroin 1 gene of Nephila clavipes. Due to limited numbers of individuals screened to date little is known about the extent of these heterogeneities and how they are finally manifested in the proteins. Using expanded sample sizes, we show that sequence variations expressed as deletions or insertions of tri-nucleotides lead to different sized and structured repetitive units throughout a silk protein. Moreover, major ampullate spidroins 1 can quite dramatically differ in their overall lengths; however, extreme variants do not spread widely in a spider population. This suggests that a certain size range stabilized by purifying selection is important for spidroin 1 gene integrity and protein function. More than one locus for spidroin 1 genes possibly exist within one individual genome, which are homogenized in size, are differentially expressed and give a spider a certain degree of adaptation on silk's composition and properties. Such mechanisms are shared to a lesser extent by the second major ampullate spidroin gene.

  18. Variation in Protein Intake Induces Variation in Spider Silk Expression

    PubMed Central

    Blamires, Sean J.; Wu, Chun-Lin; Tso, I-Min

    2012-01-01

    Background It is energetically expensive to synthesize certain amino acids. The proteins (spidroins) of spider major ampullate (MA) silk, MaSp1 and MaSp2, differ in amino acid composition. Glutamine and proline are prevalent in MaSp2 and are expensive to synthesize. Since most orb web spiders express high proline silk they might preferentially attain the amino acids needed for silk from food and shift toward expressing more MaSp1 in their MA silk when starved. Methodology/Principal Findings We fed three spiders; Argiope aetherea, Cyrtophora moluccensis and Leucauge blanda, high protein, low protein or no protein solutions. A. aetherea and L. blanda MA silks are high in proline, while C. moluccesnsis MA silks are low in proline. After 10 days of feeding we determined the amino acid compositions and mechanical properties of each species' MA silk and compared them between species and treatments with pre-treatment samples, accounting for ancestry. We found that the proline and glutamine of A. aetherea and L. blanda silks were affected by protein intake; significantly decreasing under the low and no protein intake treatments. Glutmaine composition in C. moluccensis silk was likewise affected by protein intake. However, the composition of proline in their MA silk was not significantly affected by protein intake. Conclusions Our results suggest that protein limitation induces a shift toward different silk proteins with lower glutamine and/or proline content. Contradictions to the MaSp model lie in the findings that C. moluccensis MA silks did not experience a significant reduction in proline and A. aetherea did not experience a significant reduction in serine on low/no protein. The mechanical properties of the silks could not be explained by a MaSp1 expressional shift. Factors other than MaSp expression, such as the expression of spidroin-like orthologues, may impact on silk amino acid composition and spinning and glandular processes may impact mechanics. PMID:22363691

  19. Distinct contributions of model MaSp1 and MaSp2 like peptides to the mechanical properties of synthetic major ampullate silk fibers as revealed in silico.

    PubMed

    Brooks, Amanda E; Nelson, Shane R; Jones, Justin A; Koenig, Courtney; Hinman, Michael; Stricker, Shane; Lewis, Randolph V

    2008-08-01

    All characterized major ampullate silks from orb-web weaving spiders are composites of primarily two different proteins: MaSp1 and MaSp2. The conserved association of MaSp1 and MaSp2 in these spider species, the highly conserved amino acid motifs, and variable ratios of MaSp1 to MaSp2 demonstrate the importance of both MaSp1 and MaSp2 to the strength and elasticity of the fiber. Computer simulated mechanical tests predicted differing roles for MaSp1 and MaSp2 in the mechanical properties of the fibers. Recombinant MaSp1 and MaSp2 proteins were blended and spun into fibers mimicking the computer-simulated conditions. Mechanical testing verified the differing roles of MaSp1 and MaSp2. PMID:20657704

  20. Local tolerance to spider silks and protein polymers in vivo.

    PubMed

    Vollrath, F; Barth, P; Basedow, A; Engström, W; List, H

    2002-01-01

    Spider silks were implanted subcutaneously in pigs for a study of the tolerance against this material. Four types of spider silks of high purity and cleanliness were implanted: (i) major ampullate dragline silk reeled from the golden silk spider Nephila clavipes, (ii) native (unsterilised) silk reeled from a Brachypelma spider, (iii) native silk taken from this spider's web and (iv) its web silk thermally treated at 80 degrees C. For comparison we used fibrous silk analogue protein polymers and four already marketed wound dressings (polyurethane film, collagen dressings, gauze pads). All materials were applied epicutaneously to split skin wounds. The implants were examined macroscopically as well as by light microscopy. Superficially, all sites healed rapidly. There were marked inflammatory reactions in all sites with lympho-plasmacellular infiltrations, evidence of phagocytosis and granuloma formation as indicated by the appearance of giant cells. However there was a marked absence of epitheloid cells indicating that the observed reaction was a foreign body granuloma. Furthermore, the histopathological images recorded after 14 days revealed no marked differences between the dressings. Polyurethane films, however, seemed to be superior with respect to the duration of the wound healing process. PMID:12224131

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

    PubMed

    Xu, M; Lewis, R V

    1990-09-01

    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.

  2. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Quantitative Correlation between the protein primary sequences and secondary structures in spider dragline silks.

    PubMed

    Jenkins, Janelle E; Creager, Melinda S; Lewis, Randolph V; Holland, Gregory P; Yarger, Jeffery L

    2010-01-11

    Synthetic spider silk holds great potential for use in various applications spanning medical uses to ultra lightweight armor; however, producing synthetic fibers with mechanical properties comparable to natural spider silk has eluded the scientific community. Natural dragline spider silks are commonly made from proteins that contain highly repetitive amino acid motifs, adopting an array of secondary structures. Before further advances can be made in the production of synthetic fibers based on spider silk proteins, it is imperative to know the percentage of each amino acid in the protein that forms a specific secondary structure. Linking these percentages to the primary amino acid sequence of the protein will establish a structural foundation for synthetic silk. In this study, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques are used to quantify the percentage of Ala, Gly, and Ser that form both beta-sheet and helical secondary structures. The fraction of these three amino acids and their secondary structure are quantitatively correlated to the primary amino acid sequence for the proteins that comprise major and minor ampullate silk from the Nephila clavipes spider providing a blueprint for synthetic spider silks. PMID:20000730

  8. Solid-State NMR Comparison of Various Spiders’ Dragline Silk Fiber

    PubMed Central

    Creager, Melinda S.; Jenkins, Janelle E; Thagard-Yeaman, Leigh A.; Brooks, Amanda E.; Jones, Justin A.; Lewis, Randolph V.; Holland, Gregory P.; Yarger, Jeffery L.

    2010-01-01

    Major ampullate (dragline) spider silk is a coveted biopolymer due to its combination of strength and extensibility. The dragline silk of different spiders have distinct mechanical properties that can be qualitatively correlated to the protein sequence. This study uses amino acid analysis and carbon-13 solid-state NMR to compare the molecular composition, structure and dynamics of major ampullate dragline silk of four orb-web spider species (Nephila clavipes, Araneus gemmoides, Argiope aurantia and Argiope argentata) and one cobweb species (Latrodectus hesperus). The mobility of the protein backbone and amino acid side chains in water exposed silk fibers is shown to correlate to the proline content. This implies that regions of major ampullate spidroin 2 protein, which is the only dragline silk protein with any significant proline content, become significantly hydrated in dragline spider silk. PMID:20593757

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-10

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

  10. 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

  11. Full-length minor ampullate spidroin gene sequence.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  12. Microbial production of spider silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Fahnestock, S R; Yao, Z; Bedzyk, L A

    2000-08-01

    The remarkable properties of spider dragline silk and related protein polymers will find many applications if the materials can be produced economically. We have demonstrated the production of high molecular weight spider dragline silk analog proteins encoded by synthetic genes in several microbial systems, including Escherichia coli and Pichia pastoris. In E. coli, proteins of up to 1000 amino acids in length could be produced efficiently, but the yield and homogeneity of higher molecular weight silk proteins were found to be limited by truncated synthesis, probably as a result of ribosome termination errors. No such phenomenon was observed in the yeast P. pastoris, where higher molecular weight silk proteins could be produced without heterogeneity due to truncated synthesis. Spider dragline silk analog proteins could be secreted by P. pastoris when fused to both the signal sequence and N-terminal pro-sequence of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae alpha-mating factor gene. PMID:11763501

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. In vivo bioresponses to silk proteins.

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-05-13

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Spider silk: from soluble protein to extraordinary fiber.

    PubMed

    Heim, Markus; Keerl, David; Scheibel, Thomas

    2009-01-01

    Spider silks outrival natural and many synthetic fibers in terms of their material characteristics. In nature, the formation of a solid fiber from soluble spider silk proteins is the result of complex biochemical and physical processes that take place within specialized spinning organs. Herein, we present natural and artificial silk production processes, from gene transcription to silk protein processing and finally fiber assembly. In-vivo and in-vitro findings in the field of spider silk research are the basis for the design of new proteins and processing strategies, which will enable applications of these fascinating protein-based materials in technical and medical sciences. PMID:19212993

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-01

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

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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. PMID:25162624

  5. Recombinant protein blends: silk beyond natural design.

    PubMed

    Dinjaski, Nina; Kaplan, David L

    2016-06-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Recombinant production of spider silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Heidebrecht, Aniela; Scheibel, Thomas

    2013-01-01

    Natural spider silk fibers combine extraordinary properties such as stability and flexibility which results in a toughness superseding that of all other fiber materials. As the spider's aggressive territorial behavior renders their farming not feasible, the biotechnological production of spider silk proteins (spidroins) is essential in order to investigate and employ them for applications. In order to accomplish this task, two approaches have been tested: firstly, the expression of partial cDNAs, and secondly, the expression of synthetic genes in several host organisms, including bacteria, yeast, plants, insect cells, mammalian cells, and transgenic animals. The experienced problems include genetic instability, limitations of the translational and transcriptional machinery, and low solubility of the produced proteins. Here, an overview of attempts to recombinantly produce spidroins will be given, and advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches and host organisms will be discussed. PMID:23415154

  11. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. Post-secretion processing influences spider silk performance

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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. PMID:26996157

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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

  19. 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

  20. Reproducing natural spider silks' copolymer behavior in synthetic silk mimics.

    PubMed

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

    2012-12-10

    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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

    2011-01-01

    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

  7. Recent advances in production of recombinant spider silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Chung, Hannah; Kim, Tae Yong; Lee, Sang Yup

    2012-12-01

    Spider silk has been drawing much attention as a great biomaterial having many applications in biotechnology and biomedicine owing to its several desired material characteristics such as outstanding strength, toughness, and elasticity as well as biodegradability and biocompatibility. With various applications foreseeable in industry, there has been much effort to produce recombinant spider silk protein in large amounts. However, owing to the difficulties in its production using spiders, alternative host systems and engineering methods have been investigated to develop suitable production systems that can efficiently produce spider silk protein. Here, we review recent advances in production of spider silk proteins in various heterologous host systems with focus given on the development of metabolic and cellular engineering strategies. PMID:22521455

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

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

  9. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

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

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

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

  13. Bioengineered Silk Protein-Based Gene Delivery Systems

    PubMed Central

    Numata, Keiji; Subramanian, Balajikarthick; Currie, Heather A.; Kaplan, David L.

    2009-01-01

    Silk proteins self-assemble into mechanically robust material structures that are also biodegradable and non-cytotoxic, suggesting utility for gene delivery. Since silk proteins can also be tailored in terms of chemistry, molecular weight and other design features via genetic engineering, further control of this system for gene delivery can be considered. In the present study, silk-based block copolymers were bioengineered with poly(l-lysine) domains for gene delivery. Ionic complexes of these silk-polylysine based block copolymers with plasmid DNA (pDNA) were prepared for gene delivery to human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells. The material systems were characterized by agarose gel electrophoresis, atomic force microscopy, and dynamic light scattering. The polymers self-assembled in solution and complexed plasmid DNA through ionic interactions. The pDNA complexes with 30-lysine residues prepared at a polymer/nucleotide ratio of 10 and with a solution diameter of 380 nm, showed the highest efficiency for transfection. The pDNA complexes were also immobilized on silk films and demonstrated direct cell transfection from these surfaces. The results demonstrate the potential of bioengineered silk proteins as a new family of highly tailored gene delivery systems. PMID:19577803

  14. Production of spider silk proteins in tobacco and potato.

    PubMed

    Scheller, J; Gührs, K H; Grosse, F; Conrad, U

    2001-06-01

    Spider dragline silk is a proteinaceous fiber with remarkable mechanical properties that make it attractive for technical applications. Unfortunately, the material cannot be obtained in large quantities from spiders. We have therefore generated transgenic tobacco and potato plants that express remarkable amounts of recombinant Nephila clavipes dragline proteins. Using a gene synthesis approach, the recombinant proteins exhibit homologies of >90% compared to their native models. Here, we demonstrate the accumulation of recombinant silk proteins, which are encoded by synthetic genes of 420-3,600 base pairs, up to a level of at least 2% of total soluble protein in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of tobacco and potato leaves and potato tubers, respectively. Using the present expression system, spider silk proteins up to 100 kDa could be detected in plant tissues. When produced in plants, the recombinant spidroins exhibit extreme heat stability-a property that is used to purify the spidroins by a simple and efficient procedure.

  15. 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.

  16. Biomaterials derived from silk-tropoelastin protein systems.

    PubMed

    Hu, Xiao; Wang, Xiuli; Rnjak, Jelena; Weiss, Anthony S; Kaplan, David L

    2010-11-01

    A structural protein blend system based on silkworm silk fibroin and recombinant human tropoelastin is described. Silk fibroin, a semicrystalline fibrous protein with beta-sheet crystals provides mechanical strength and controllable biodegradation, while tropoelastin, a noncrystallizable elastic protein provides elasticity. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and temperature modulated DSC (TMDSC) indicated that silk becomes miscible with tropoelastin at different blend ratios, without macrophase separation. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) revealed secondary structural changes of the blend system (beta-sheet content) before and after methanol treatment. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) nano-indentation demonstrated that blending silk and tropoelastin at different ratios resulted in modification of mechanical features, with resilience from approximately 68%- approximately 97%, and elastic modulus between 2 and 9 Mpa, depending on the ratio of the two polymers. Some of these values are close to those of native aortic elastin or elastin-like polypeptides. Significantly, during blending and drying silk-tropoelastin form micro- and nano-scale porous morphologies which promote human mesenchymal stem cell attachment and proliferation. These blends offer a new protein biomaterial system for cell support and tailored biomaterial properties to match mechanical needs.

  17. Hydrodynamical properties of recombinant spider silk proteins: Effects of pH, salts and shear, and implications for the spinning process.

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

    We have investigated the effect of pH, salts and shear on the hydrodynamical diameter of recombinant major ampullate (MA) rMaSpI silk proteins in solution as a function of time using (1) H solution NMR spectroscopy. The results indicate that the silk proteins in solution are composed of two diffusing populations, a high proportion of "native" solubilized proteins and a small amount of high molecular weight oligomers. Similar results are observed with the MA gland content. Salts help maintaining the proteins in a compact form in solution over time and inhibit aggregation, the absence of salts triggering protein assembly leading to a gel state. Moreover, the aggregation kinetics of rMaSpI at low salt concentration accelerates as the pH is close to the isoelectric point of the proteins, suggesting that the pH decrease tends to slow down aggregation. The data also support the strong impact of shear on the spinning process and suggest that the assembly is driven by a nucleation conformational conversion mechanism. Thus, the adjustment of the physicochemical conditions in the ampulla seems to promote a stable, long term storage. In addition, the optimization of protein conformation as well as their unfolding and aggregation propensity in the duct leads to a specifically organized structure.

  18. Protein families, natural history and biotechnological aspects of spider silk.

    PubMed

    Bittencourt, D; Oliveira, P F; Prosdocimi, F; Rech, E L

    2012-01-01

    Spiders are exceptionally diverse and abundant organisms in terrestrial ecosystems and their evolutionary success is certainly related to their capacity to produce different types of silks during their life cycle, making a specialized use on each of them. Presenting particularly tandemly arranged amino acid repeats, silk proteins (spidroins) have mechanical properties superior to most synthetic or natural high-performance fibers, which makes them very promising for biotechnology industry, with putative applications in the production of new biomaterials. During the evolution of spider species, complex behaviors of web production and usage have been coupled with anatomical specialization of spinning glands. Spiders retaining ancestral characters, such as the ones belonging to the Mygalomorph group, present simpler sorts of webs used mainly to build burrows and egg sacs, and their silks are produced by globular undifferentiated spinning glands. In contrast, Araneomorphae spiders have a complex spinning apparatus, presenting up to seven morphologically distinct glands, capable to produce a more complex set of silk polymers with different degrees of rigidness and elasticity associated with distinct behaviors. Aiming to provide a discussion involving a number of spider silks' biological aspects, in this review we present descriptions of members from each family of spidroin identified from five spider species of the Brazilian biodiversity, and an evolutionary study of them in correlation with the anatomical specialization of glands and spider's spinning behaviors. Due to the biotechnological importance of spider silks for the production of new biomaterials, we also discuss about the new possible technical and biomedical applications of spider silks and the current status of it. PMID:22911606

  19. Protein families, natural history and biotechnological aspects of spider silk.

    PubMed

    Bittencourt, D; Oliveira, P F; Prosdocimi, F; Rech, E L

    2012-01-01

    Spiders are exceptionally diverse and abundant organisms in terrestrial ecosystems and their evolutionary success is certainly related to their capacity to produce different types of silks during their life cycle, making a specialized use on each of them. Presenting particularly tandemly arranged amino acid repeats, silk proteins (spidroins) have mechanical properties superior to most synthetic or natural high-performance fibers, which makes them very promising for biotechnology industry, with putative applications in the production of new biomaterials. During the evolution of spider species, complex behaviors of web production and usage have been coupled with anatomical specialization of spinning glands. Spiders retaining ancestral characters, such as the ones belonging to the Mygalomorph group, present simpler sorts of webs used mainly to build burrows and egg sacs, and their silks are produced by globular undifferentiated spinning glands. In contrast, Araneomorphae spiders have a complex spinning apparatus, presenting up to seven morphologically distinct glands, capable to produce a more complex set of silk polymers with different degrees of rigidness and elasticity associated with distinct behaviors. Aiming to provide a discussion involving a number of spider silks' biological aspects, in this review we present descriptions of members from each family of spidroin identified from five spider species of the Brazilian biodiversity, and an evolutionary study of them in correlation with the anatomical specialization of glands and spider's spinning behaviors. Due to the biotechnological importance of spider silks for the production of new biomaterials, we also discuss about the new possible technical and biomedical applications of spider silks and the current status of it.

  20. Structural Characterization of Minor Ampullate Spidroin Domains and Their Distinct Roles in Fibroin Solubility and Fiber Formation

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Zhenwei; Lin, Zhi; Huang, Weidong; Lai, Chong Cheong; Fan, Jing-song; Yang, Daiwen

    2013-01-01

    Spider silk is protein fibers with extraordinary mechanical properties. Up to now, it is still poorly understood how silk proteins are kept in a soluble form before spinning into fibers and how the protein molecules are aligned orderly to form fibers. Minor ampullate spidroin is one of the seven types of silk proteins, which consists of four types of domains: N-terminal domain, C-terminal domain (CTD), repetitive domain (RP) and linker domain (LK). Here we report the tertiary structure of CTD and secondary structures of RP and LK in aqueous solution, and their roles in protein stability, solubility and fiber formation. The stability and solubility of individual domains are dramatically different and can be explained by their distinct structures. For the tri-domain miniature fibroin, RP-LK-CTDMi, the three domains have no or weak interactions with one another at low protein concentrations (<1 mg/ml). The CTD in RP-LK-CTDMi is very stable and soluble, but it cannot stabilize the entire protein against chemical and thermal denaturation while it can keep the entire tri-domain in a highly water-soluble state. In the presence of shear force, protein aggregation is greatly accelerated and the aggregation rate is determined by the stability of folded domains and solubility of the disordered domains. Only the tri-domain RP-LK-CTDMi could form silk-like fibers, indicating that all three domains play distinct roles in fiber formation: LK as a nucleation site for assembly of protein molecules, RP for assistance of the assembly and CTD for regulating alignment of the assembled molecules. PMID:23418525

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

    PubMed

    Tian, Maozhen; Lewis, Randolph V

    2005-06-01

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  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

    2016-01-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Folding behavior of four silks of giant honey bee reflects the evolutionary conservation of aculeate silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Maitip, Jakkrawut; Trueman, Holly E; Kaehler, Benjamin D; Huttley, Gavin A; Chantawannakul, Panuwan; Sutherland, Tara D

    2015-04-01

    Multiple gene duplication events in the precursor of the Aculeata (bees, ants, hornets) gave rise to four silk genes. Whilst these homologs encode proteins with similar amino acid composition and coiled coil structure, the retention of all four homologs implies they each are important. In this study we identified, produced and characterized the four silk proteins from Apis dorsata, the giant Asian honeybee. The proteins were readily purified, allowing us to investigate the folding behavior of solutions of individual proteins in comparison to mixtures of all four proteins at concentrations where they assemble into their native coiled coil structure. In contrast to solutions of any one protein type, solutions of a mixture of the four proteins formed coiled coils that were stable against dilution and detergent denaturation. The results are consistent with the formation of a heteromeric coiled coil protein complex. The mechanism of silk protein coiled coil formation and evolution is discussed in light of these results. PMID:25712559

  7. Folding behavior of four silks of giant honey bee reflects the evolutionary conservation of aculeate silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Maitip, Jakkrawut; Trueman, Holly E; Kaehler, Benjamin D; Huttley, Gavin A; Chantawannakul, Panuwan; Sutherland, Tara D

    2015-04-01

    Multiple gene duplication events in the precursor of the Aculeata (bees, ants, hornets) gave rise to four silk genes. Whilst these homologs encode proteins with similar amino acid composition and coiled coil structure, the retention of all four homologs implies they each are important. In this study we identified, produced and characterized the four silk proteins from Apis dorsata, the giant Asian honeybee. The proteins were readily purified, allowing us to investigate the folding behavior of solutions of individual proteins in comparison to mixtures of all four proteins at concentrations where they assemble into their native coiled coil structure. In contrast to solutions of any one protein type, solutions of a mixture of the four proteins formed coiled coils that were stable against dilution and detergent denaturation. The results are consistent with the formation of a heteromeric coiled coil protein complex. The mechanism of silk protein coiled coil formation and evolution is discussed in light of these results.

  8. Genetic engineering of fibrous proteins: spider dragline silk and collagen.

    PubMed

    Wong Po Foo, Cheryl; Kaplan, David L

    2002-10-18

    Various strategies have been employed to genetically engineer fibrous proteins. Two examples, the subject of this review, include spider dragline silk from Nephila clavipes and collagen. These proteins are highlighted because of their unique mechanical and biological properties related to controlled release, biomaterials and tissue engineering. Cloning and expression of native genes and synthetic artificial variants of the consensus sequence repeats from the native genes has been accomplished. Expression of recombinant silk and collagen proteins has been reported in a variety of host systems, including bacteria, yeast, insect cells, plants and mammalian cells. Future utility for these proteins for biomedical materials is expected to increase as needs expand for designer materials with tailored mechanical properties and biological interactions to elicit specific responses in vitro and in vivo.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25004800

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Recombinant Dragline Silk-Like Proteins-Expression and Purification.

    PubMed

    Gaines, William A; Marcotte, William R

    2011-03-01

    Spider dragline silk is a proteinaceous fiber with impressive physical characteristics making it attractive for use in advanced materials. The fiber is composed of two proteins (spidroins MaSp1 and MaSp2), each of which contains a large central repeat array flanked by non-repetitive N- and C-terminal domains. The repeat arrays appear to be largely responsible for the tensile properties of the fiber, suggesting that the N- and C-terminal domains may be involved in self-assembly. We recently isolated the MaSp1 and MaSp2 N-terminal domains from Nephila clavipes and have incorporated these into mini-silk genes for expression in transgenic systems. Current efforts involve the development of expression vectors that will allow purification using a removable affinity tag for scalable protein purification.

  16. 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

  17. High-strength silk protein scaffolds for bone repair

    PubMed Central

    Mandal, Biman B.; Grinberg, Ariela; Seok Gil, Eun; Panilaitis, Bruce; Kaplan, David L.

    2012-01-01

    Biomaterials for bone tissue regeneration represent a major focus of orthopedic research. However, only a handful of polymeric biomaterials are utilized today because of their failure to address critical issues like compressive strength for load-bearing bone grafts. In this study development of a high compressive strength (~13 MPa hydrated state) polymeric bone composite materials is reported, based on silk protein-protein interfacial bonding. Micron-sized silk fibers (10–600 µm) obtained utilizing alkali hydrolysis were used as reinforcement in a compact fiber composite with tunable compressive strength, surface roughness, and porosity based on the fiber length included. A combination of surface roughness, porosity, and scaffold stiffness favored human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell differentiation toward bone-like tissue in vitro based on biochemical and gene expression for bone markers. Further, minimal in vivo immunomodulatory responses suggested compatibility of the fabricated silk-fiber-reinforced composite matrices for bone engineering applications. PMID:22552231

  18. 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

  19. Nanoscale control of silica particle formation via silk-silica fusion proteins for bone regeneration.

    PubMed

    Mieszawska, Aneta J; Nadkarni, Lauren D; Perry, Carole C; Kaplan, David L

    2010-10-26

    The biomimetic design of silk/silica fusion proteins was carried out, combining the self assembling domains of spider dragline silk (Nephila clavipes) and silaffin derived R5 peptide of Cylindrotheca fusiformis that is responsible for silica mineralization. Genetic engineering was used to generate the protein-based biomaterials incorporating the physical properties of both components. With genetic control over the nanodomain sizes and chemistry, as well as modification of synthetic conditions for silica formation, controlled mineralized silk films with different silica morphologies and distributions were successfully generated; generating 3D porous networks, clustered silica nanoparticles (SNPs), or single SNPs. Silk serves as the organic scaffolding to control the material stability and multiprocessing makes silk/silica biomaterials suitable for different tissue regenerative applications. The influence of these new silk-silica composite systems on osteogenesis was evaluated with human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) subjected to osteogenic differentiation. hMSCs adhered, proliferated, and differentiated towards osteogenic lineages on the silk/silica films. The presence of the silica in the silk films influenced osteogenic gene expression, with the upregulation of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), bone sialoprotein (BSP), and collagen type 1 (Col 1) markers. Evidence for early bone formation as calcium deposits was observed on silk films with silica. These results indicate the potential utility of these new silk/silica systems towards bone regeneration. PMID:20976116

  20. 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.

  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. Electroresponsive aqueous silk protein as "smart" mechanical damping fluid.

    PubMed

    Jose, Rod R; Elia, Roberto; Tien, Lee W; Kaplan, David L

    2014-05-14

    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. 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.

  4. Spider flagelliform silk: lessons in protein design, gene structure, and molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Hayashi, C Y; Lewis, R V

    2001-08-01

    Spiders spin multiple types of silks that are renowned for their superb mechanical properties. Flagelliform silk, used in the capture spiral of an orb-web, is one of the few silks characterized by both cDNA and genomic DNA data. This fibroin is composed of repeating ensembles of three types of amino acid sequence motifs. The predominant subrepeat, GPGGX, likely forms a beta-turn, and tandem arrays of these turns are thought to create beta-spirals. These spring-like helices may be critical for the exceptional ability of capture silk to stretch and recoil. Each ensemble of motifs was found to correspond to a different exon within the flagelliform gene. The pattern of sequence similarity among exons indicates intragenic concerted evolution. Surprisingly, the introns between the iterated exons are also homogenized with each other. This unusual molecular architecture in the flagelliform silk gene has implications for the evolution and maintenance of spider silk proteins.

  5. Purification and cytotoxcicity of tag-free bioengineered spider silk proteins3

    PubMed Central

    Dams-Kozlowska, Hanna; Majer, Agnieszka; Tomasiewicz, Paulina; Lozinska, Jolanta; Kaplan, David L.; Mackiewicz, Andrzej

    2012-01-01

    Bioengineered spider silk-like proteins can serve as biomaterials for various biomedical applications. These proteins can be assembled in several morphological forms such as films, microcapsules, spheres, fibers, gels and scaffolds. However, crucial points for recombinant spider silks for human use are toxicity and immunogenicity. To assess this issue two bioengineered spider silk proteins composed of different numbers of repetitive motifs of the consensus repeats from spidroin-1 from Nephila clavipes (15X and 6X) were cloned and expressed in E. coli. The proteins were free of tag-sequence and were purified using two methods based on (i) thermal and (ii) organic acid resistance of the spider silks. The soluble spider silk proteins were not cytotoxic and did not activate macrophages over a wide range of concentrations, except when present at the highest concentration. Films made of the different silk variants supported the growth of the cells. Based on these data, and since the biodegradation rate of silk is very slow, the bioengineered spider silks are presumed safe biomaterials for biomedical applications. PMID:22865581

  6. Processing and modification of films made from recombinant spider silk proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huemmerich, D.; Slotta, U.; Scheibel, T.

    2006-02-01

    Protein films represent an interesting class of materials with various possibilities for applications. We investigated films made of two different synthetic spider silk proteins derived from the garden spider’s (Araneus diadematus) two dragline silk proteins ADF-3 and ADF-4. Protein films cast from hexafluoroisopropanol solutions displayed a predominantly α-helical secondary structure. Processing such films with potassium phosphate or methanol resulted in a transition to a β-sheet rich structure. While as-cast films could be dissolved in water, processed β-sheet rich films were water insoluble. The chemical stability of processed films depended on the amino acid sequence of the respective protein employed. As a proof of principle, fluorescent probes or enzymes were covalently attached to the film surface. The presented approach provides a basis for designing tailor-made protein films using silk proteins as scaffold, in which the film properties can be controlled by genetic engineering of the underlying silks.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. The mechanical design of spider silks: from fibroin sequence to mechanical function.

    PubMed

    Gosline, J M; Guerette, P A; Ortlepp, C S; Savage, K N

    1999-12-01

    Spiders produce a variety of silks, and the cloning of genes for silk fibroins reveals a clear link between protein sequence and structure-property relationships. The fibroins produced in the spider's major ampullate (MA) gland, which forms the dragline and web frame, contain multiple repeats of motifs that include an 8-10 residue long poly-alanine block and a 24-35 residue long glycine-rich block. When fibroins are spun into fibres, the poly-alanine blocks form (&bgr;)-sheet crystals that crosslink the fibroins into a polymer network with great stiffness, strength and toughness. As illustrated by a comparison of MA silks from Araneus diadematus and Nephila clavipes, variation in fibroin sequence and properties between spider species provides the opportunity to investigate the design of these remarkable biomaterials.

  11. Characterization of a novel glycine-rich protein from the cell wall of maize silk tissues.

    PubMed

    Tao, T Y; Ouellet, T; Dadej, K; Miller, S S; Johnson, D A; Singh, J

    2006-08-01

    The isolation, characterization and regulation of expression of a maize silk-specific gene is described. zmgrp5 (Zea mays glycine-rich protein 5) encodes a 187 amino acid glycine-rich protein that displays developmentally regulated silk-specific expression. Northern, Western, in situ mRNA hybridization and transient gene expression analyses indicate that zmgrp5 is expressed in silk hair and in cells of the vascular bundle and pollen tube transmitting tissue elements. The protein is secreted into the extracellular matrix and is localized in the cell wall fraction mainly through interactions mediated by covalent disulphide bridges. Taken together, these results suggest that the protein may play a role in maintaining silk structure during development. This is the first documented isolation of a stigma-specific gene from maize, an important agronomic member of the Poaceae family. PMID:16528565

  12. 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.

  13. [Identification and expression patterns of anterior silk gland specific cuticle protein Bm11721 in the silkworm (Bombyx mori)].

    PubMed

    Xie, Kang; Wang, Xin; Chen, Huifang; Li, Yi; Song, Qianru; Zhao, Ping

    2016-01-01

    The silk gland of silkworm is the organ of silk protein synthesis and secretion. According to the morphological and functional differences, silk gland can be divided into anterior silk gland (ASG), middle silk gland (MSG) and posterior silk gland (PSG). ASG is the place for silk proteins conformation changes although it cannot synthetize silk proteins. ASG has narrow luminal structures and rigid wall which consists of chitin and cuticle proteins so that it can provide the shearing force which plays an important role in the silk protein conformation changes. The objective of this study is to identify the new chitin binding proteins in ASG of silkworm (Bombyx mori), and to analyze their expression patterns in different tissues. We identified a cuticle protein with chitin binding domain Bml1721 (GenBank Accession No. NM-001173285.1) by chitin affinity chromatography column. We also expressed the recombinant protein as inclusion body using the prokaryotic expression system, and then successfully purified the recombinant protein by nickel affinity chromatography column to generate the polyclonal antibodies. The expression patterns analysis in various tissues showed that both in transcriptional and protein levels Bm11721 was specifically expressed in ASG. Furthermore, the expression level of Bm 11721 protein was unchanged during the 5th instar. Immunofluorescence analysis revealed that Bm1 1721 was located in the ASG inner membrane. It is proposed that Bm11721 is a component of inner membrane and probably provides the shearing force for conformational changes.

  14. [Identification and expression patterns of anterior silk gland specific cuticle protein Bm11721 in the silkworm (Bombyx mori)].

    PubMed

    Xie, Kang; Wang, Xin; Chen, Huifang; Li, Yi; Song, Qianru; Zhao, Ping

    2016-01-01

    The silk gland of silkworm is the organ of silk protein synthesis and secretion. According to the morphological and functional differences, silk gland can be divided into anterior silk gland (ASG), middle silk gland (MSG) and posterior silk gland (PSG). ASG is the place for silk proteins conformation changes although it cannot synthetize silk proteins. ASG has narrow luminal structures and rigid wall which consists of chitin and cuticle proteins so that it can provide the shearing force which plays an important role in the silk protein conformation changes. The objective of this study is to identify the new chitin binding proteins in ASG of silkworm (Bombyx mori), and to analyze their expression patterns in different tissues. We identified a cuticle protein with chitin binding domain Bml1721 (GenBank Accession No. NM-001173285.1) by chitin affinity chromatography column. We also expressed the recombinant protein as inclusion body using the prokaryotic expression system, and then successfully purified the recombinant protein by nickel affinity chromatography column to generate the polyclonal antibodies. The expression patterns analysis in various tissues showed that both in transcriptional and protein levels Bm11721 was specifically expressed in ASG. Furthermore, the expression level of Bm 11721 protein was unchanged during the 5th instar. Immunofluorescence analysis revealed that Bm1 1721 was located in the ASG inner membrane. It is proposed that Bm11721 is a component of inner membrane and probably provides the shearing force for conformational changes. PMID:27363199

  15. Macroscopic fibers self-assembled from recombinant miniature spider silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Stark, Margareta; Grip, Stefan; Rising, Anna; Hedhammar, My; Engström, Wilhelm; Hjälm, Göran; Johansson, Jan

    2007-05-01

    Strength, elasticity, and biocompatibility make spider silk an attractive resource for the production of artificial biomaterials. Spider silk proteins, spidroins, contain hundreds of repeated poly alanine/glycine-rich blocks and are difficult to produce recombinantly in soluble form. Most previous attempts to produce artificial spider silk fibers have included solubilization steps in nonphysiological solvents. It is here demonstrated that a miniature spidroin from a protein in dragline silk of Euprosthenops australis can be produced in a soluble form in Escherichia coli when fused to a highly soluble protein partner. Although this miniature spidroin contains only four poly alanine/glycine-rich blocks followed by a C-terminal non-repetitive domain, meter-long fibers are spontaneously formed after proteolytic release of the fusion partner. The structure of the fibers is similar to that of dragline silks, and although self-assembled from recombinant proteins they are as strong as fibers spun from redissolved silk. Moreover, the fibers appear to be biocompatible because human tissue culture cells can grow on and attach to the fibers. These findings enable controlled production of high-performance biofibers at large scale under physiological conditions. PMID:17402782

  16. 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

  17. Recombinant minimalist spider wrapping silk proteins capable of native-like fiber formation.

    PubMed

    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 W(1) to W(4). We observed that purified W(2), W(3) and W(4) proteins could be induced to form silk-like fibers by shear forces in a physiological buffer. The fibers formed by W(4) 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 W(2) protein formed fewer fibers and required a higher protein concentration to form fibers, whereas the smallest W(1) 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

  18. Bioinspired silicification of silica-binding peptide-silk protein chimeras: comparison of chemically and genetically produced proteins.

    PubMed

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

    2012-03-12

    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, 28 equiv 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 with 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 that can be used to prepare a range of materials for biomedical and sensor-based applications.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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. PMID:23001519

  2. 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. PMID:26674175

  3. 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.

  4. Control of silicification by genetically engineered fusion proteins: silk-silica binding peptides.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Shun; Huang, Wenwen; Belton, David J; Simmons, Leo O; Perry, Carole C; Wang, Xiaoqin; Kaplan, David L

    2015-03-01

    In the present study, an artificial spider silk gene, 6mer, derived from the consensus sequence of Nephila clavipes dragline silk gene, was fused with different silica-binding peptides (SiBPs), A1, A3 and R5, to study the impact of the fusion protein sequence chemistry on silica formation and the ability to generate a silk-silica composite in two different bioinspired silicification systems: solution-solution and solution-solid. Condensed silica nanoscale particles (600-800 nm) were formed in the presence of the recombinant silk and chimeras, which were smaller than those formed by 15mer-SiBP chimeras, revealing that the molecular weight of the silk domain correlated to the sizes of the condensed silica particles in the solution system. In addition, the chimeras (6mer-A1/A3/R5) produced smaller condensed silica particles than the control (6mer), revealing that the silica particle size formed in the solution system is controlled by the size of protein assemblies in solution. In the solution-solid interface system, silicification reactions were performed on the surface of films fabricated from the recombinant silk proteins and chimeras and then treated to induce β-sheet formation. A higher density of condensed silica formed on the films containing the lowest β-sheet content while the films with the highest β-sheet content precipitated the lowest density of silica, revealing an inverse correlation between the β-sheet secondary structure and the silica content formed on the films. Intriguingly, the 6mer-A3 showed the highest rate of silica condensation but the lowest density of silica deposition on the films, compared with 6mer-A1 and -R5, revealing antagonistic crosstalk between the silk and the SiBP domains in terms of protein assembly. These findings offer a path forward in the tailoring of biopolymer-silica composites for biomaterial related needs.

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

    McDougall, Carmel; Woodcroft, Ben J; Degnan, Bernard M

    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

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

    McDougall, Carmel; Woodcroft, Ben J; Degnan, Bernard M

    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

  9. Functional Material Features of Bombyx mori Silk Light vs. Heavy Chain Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Zafar, Muhammad S.; Belton, David J.; Hanby, Benjamin; Kaplan, David L.; Perry, Carole C.

    2016-01-01

    Bombyx mori (BM) silk fibroin is composed of two different subunits; heavy chain and light chain fibroin linked by a covalent disulphide bond. Current methods of separating the two silk fractions is complicated and produces inadequate quantities of the isolated components for the study of the individual light and heavy chain silks with respect to new materials. We report a simple method of separating silk fractions using formic acid. The formic acid treatment partially releases predominately the light chain fragment (soluble fraction) and then the soluble fraction and insoluble fractions can be converted into new materials. The regenerated original (total) silk fibroin and the separated fractions (soluble vs. insoluble) had different molecular weights and showed distinctive pH stabilities against aggregation/precipitation based on particle charging. All silk fractions could be electrospun to give fibre mats with viscosity of the regenerated fractions being the controlling factor for successful electrospinning. The silk fractions could be mixed to give blends with different proportions of the two fractions to modify the diameter and uniformity of the electrospun fibres formed. The soluble fraction containing the light chain was able to modify the viscosity by thinning the insoluble fraction containing heavy chain fragments, perhaps analogous to its role in natural fibre formation where the light chain provides increased mobility and the heavy chain producing shear thickening effects. The simplicity of this new separation method should enable access to these different silk protein fractions and accelerate the identification of methods, modifications and potential applications of these materials in biomedical and industrial applications. PMID:25565556

  10. 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

  11. 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. PMID:25489795

  12. 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. PMID:25701039

  13. [Study on construct and expression of synthetic genes encoding spider dragline silk in Escherichia coli].

    PubMed

    Li, Min; Zhang, Wen-Xian; Huang, Zhi-Hua; Huang, Jian-Kun

    2002-05-01

    Dragline spider silk produced from Nephilia clavipes major ampullate is a natural fibrous protein with specific mechanical properties such as high tensile strength and elasticity. Synthetic gene monomer encoding recombinant spider silk protein, based on the known repetitive protein sequence and partial cDNA sequence of dragline silk, was constructed and expressed. DNA monomer sequences were multimerized to encode high molecular weight synthetic spider silks using a "head-to-tail" construction strategy. Multimer was cloned into pET30a(+), a prokaryotic high potency expression vector, and induced with IPTG. The protein from 8-unit repeat was produced in Escherichia coli at levels up to 20 mg/L. The protein was easily purified with high recovery by using an metal ion affinity chromatography and purity was over 90%. The results of SDS-PAGE and Western blot suggested that the mass of the expression product was about 37 kD. This value and amino acid analysis were consistent with those of theoretic calculation. PMID:12192868

  14. Integration of silk protein in organic and light-emitting transistors

    PubMed Central

    Capelli, R.; Amsden, J. J.; Generali, G.; Toffanin, S.; Benfenati, V.; Muccini, M.; Kaplan, D. L.; Omenetto, F. G.; Zamboni, R.

    2012-01-01

    We present the integration of a natural protein into electronic and optoelectronic devices by using silk fibroin as a thin film dielectric in an organic thin film field-effect transistor (OFET) ad an organic light emitting transistor device (OLET) structures. Both n- (perylene) and p-type (thiophene) silk-based OFETs are demonstrated. The measured electrical characteristics are in agreement with high-efficiency standard organic transistors, namely charge mobility of the order of 10-2 cm2/Vs and on/off ratio of 104. The silk-based optolectronic element is an advanced unipolar n-type OLET that yields a light emission of 100nW. PMID:22899899

  15. Integration of silk protein in organic and light-emitting transistors.

    PubMed

    Capelli, R; Amsden, J J; Generali, G; Toffanin, S; Benfenati, V; Muccini, M; Kaplan, D L; Omenetto, F G; Zamboni, R

    2011-07-01

    We present the integration of a natural protein into electronic and optoelectronic devices by using silk fibroin as a thin film dielectric in an organic thin film field-effect transistor (OFET) ad an organic light emitting transistor device (OLET) structures. Both n- (perylene) and p-type (thiophene) silk-based OFETs are demonstrated. The measured electrical characteristics are in agreement with high-efficiency standard organic transistors, namely charge mobility of the order of 10(-2) cm(2)/Vs and on/off ratio of 10(4). The silk-based optolectronic element is an advanced unipolar n-type OLET that yields a light emission of 100nW. PMID:22899899

  16. 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. PMID:27314644

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-08-10

    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

  19. Inducing β-sheets formation in synthetic spider silk fibers by aqueous post-spin stretching.

    PubMed

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

    2011-06-13

    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 man-made 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

  20. Functionalized silk assembled from a recombinant spider silk fusion protein (Z-4RepCT) produced in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris.

    PubMed

    Jansson, Ronnie; Lau, Cheuk H; Ishida, Takuya; Ramström, Margareta; Sandgren, Mats; Hedhammar, My

    2016-05-01

    Functional biological materials are a growing research area with potential applicability in medicine and biotechnology. Using genetic engineering, the possibility to introduce additional functions into spider silk-based materials has been realized. Recently, a recombinant spider silk fusion protein, Z-4RepCT, was produced intracellularly in Escherichia coli and could after purification self-assemble into silk-like fibers with ability to bind antibodies via the IgG-binding Z domain. In this study, the use of the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris for production of Z-4RepCT has been investigated. Temperature, pH and production time were influencing the amount of soluble Z-4RepCT retrieved from the extracellular fraction. Purification of secreted Z-4RepCT resulted in a mixture of full-length and degraded silk proteins that failed to self-assemble into fibers. A position in the C-terminal domain of 4RepCT was identified as being subjected to proteolytic cleavage by proteases in the Pichia culture supernatant. Moreover, the C-terminal domain was subjected to glycosylation during production in P. pastoris. These observed alterations of the CT domain are suggested to contribute to the failure in fiber assembly. As alternative approach, Z-4RepCT retrieved from the intracellular fraction, which was less degraded, was used and shown to retain ability to assemble into silk-like fibers after enzymatic deglycosylation. PMID:26814048

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Synthetic spider silk fibers spun from Pyriform Spidroin 2, a glue silk protein discovered in orb-weaving spider attachment discs.

    PubMed

    Geurts, Paul; Zhao, Liang; Hsia, Yang; Gnesa, Eric; Tang, Simon; Jeffery, Felicia; La Mattina, Coby; Franz, Andreas; Larkin, Leah; Vierra, Craig

    2010-12-13

    Spider attachment disc silk fibers are spun into a viscous liquid that rapidly solidifies, gluing dragline silk fibers to substrates for locomotion or web construction. Here we report the identification and artificial spinning of a novel attachment disc glue silk fibroin, Pyriform Spidroin 2 (PySp2), from the golden orb weaver Nephila clavipes . MS studies support PySp2 is a constituent of the pyriform gland that is spun into attachment discs. Analysis of the PySp2 protein architecture reveals sequence divergence relative to the other silk family members, including the cob weaver glue silk fibroin PySp1. PySp2 contains internal block repeats that consist of two subrepeat units: one dominated by Ser, Gln, and Ala and the other Pro-rich. Artificial spinning of recombinant PySp2 truncations shows that the Ser-Gln-Ala-rich subrepeat is sufficient for the assembly of polymeric subunits and subsequent fiber formation. These studies support that both orb- and cob-weaving spiders have evolved highly polar block-repeat sequences with the ability to self-assemble into fibers, suggesting a strategy to allow fiber fabrication in the liquid environment of the attachment discs. PMID:21053953

  4. Gene Delivery Mediated by Recombinant Silk Proteins Containing Cationic and Cell Binding Motifs

    PubMed Central

    Numata, Keiji; Hamasaki, Juliana; Subramanian, Balajikarthick; Kaplan, David L

    2010-01-01

    Silk proteins are biodegradable and biocompatible, and can also be tailored to contain additional features via genetic engineering, suggesting utility for gene delivery. In the present study, novel silk-based block copolymers were bioengineered both with poly(L-lysine) domains to interact with plasmid DNA (pDNA) and RGD, to enhance cell-binding and transfection efficiency. Ionic complexes of these silk-polylysine-RGD block copolymers with pDNA were prepared, characterized and utilized for gene delivery to HeLa cells and human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells. The material systems were characterized by agarose gel electrophoresis, zeta-potentialmeter, atomic force microscopy, and dynamic light scattering. Sizes and charges of the pDNA complexes were regulated by the polymer/nucleotide molar ratio. Samples with 30-lysine residues and 11 RGD sequences, prepared at the ratio of number of amines/phosphates from pDNA (N/P) of 2, had an average solution diameter of 186 nm and showed the highest transfection efficiency. The intracellular distribution of complexes of Cy5-labeled pDNA was investigated by confocal laser scanning microscopy. The Cy5-labeled pDNA was distributed near the cell membrane and around the nuclei, indicating that the pDNA was transferred near the nucleus. The results demonstrated the potential of bioengineered silk proteins with additional functional features as a new family of highly tailored gene delivery systems. PMID:20457191

  5. Construct synthetic gene encoding artificial spider dragline silk protein and its expression in milk of transgenic mice.

    PubMed

    Xu, Hong-Tao; Fan, Bao-Liang; Yu, Shu-Yang; Huang, Yin-Hua; Zhao, Zhi-Hui; Lian, Zheng-Xing; Dai, Yun-Ping; Wang, Li-Li; Liu, Zhao-Liang; Fei, Jing; Li, Ning

    2007-01-01

    Based on the known partial cDNA sequence of dragline silk protein an artificial gene monomer, a 360 bp sequence, was designed and polymerized to encode an analog of dragline silk protein. Six tandem copies of monomer were cloned into pBC1 vector and microinjected into the pronuclei of fertilized Kunming White eggs. Transgenic mice were screened by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Southern blot which revealed that 10 mice (5 male, 5 female) among 58 mice were transgenic positive. Milk of five F0 mice and eight F1 mice was analyzed by Western blot, and two F0 mice and seven F1 mice expressed recombinant dragline silk protein. In transgenic mice milk a maximum of concentration of recombinant dragline silk protein was 11.7 mg/L by radioimmunoassay. PMID:17364439

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-17

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

  7. 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.

  8. Evolution of arthropod silks.

    PubMed

    Craig, C L

    1997-01-01

    Silks belong to the class of molecules called structural proteins. The ability to produce silk proteins has evolved multiple times in the arthropods, and silk secreting glands have evolved via two different pathways. The comparative data and phylogenetic analyses in this review suggest that the silk-secreting systems of spiders and insects are homologous and linked to the crural gland (origin of systemic pathway to silk production) and cuticular secretions (origin of surficial pathway to silk production) of an onychophoran-like ancestor. The evolution of silk secreting organs via a surficial pathway is possible in adult and larval hexapods, regardless of their developmental mode. Silk secretion via a systemic pathway is possible in either adult or larval hexapods, but only larval insects have dedicated silk producing glands. Spiders, however, have evolved silk producing systems via both systemic pathway and surficial pathways, and a single individual retains both throughout its lifespan. Early in the evolution of spiders, silk glands were undifferentiated, suggesting that the number of silk secreting glands of any individual was related to the spider's energetic need to produce large quantities of protein. However, the complex silk-producing systems that characterize the aerial web-building spiders and the diverse types of proteins they produce suggest that their silks reflect the diverse and increasing number of ways in which spiders use them. Because the muscular and innervated spinnerets and spigots of spiders allow them to control fiber functional properties, silk proteins represent an avenue through which animal behavior may directly affect the molecular properties of a protein.

  9. 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.

  10. Untangling spider silk evolution with spidroin terminal domains

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

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

  11. Synthesis and characterization of multiblock copolymers based on spider dragline silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Chuncai; Leng, Boxun; Yao, Jinrong; Qian, Jie; Chen, Xin; Zhou, Ping; Knight, David P; Shao, Zhengzhong

    2006-08-01

    Spider dragline silk with its superlative tensile properties provides an ideal system to study the relationship between morphology and mechanical properties of a structural protein. Accordingly, we synthesized two hybrid multiblock copolymers by condensing poly(alanine) [(Ala)(5)] blocks of the structural proteins (spidroin MaSp1 and MaSp2) of spider dragline silk with different oligomers of isoprene (2200 and 5000 Da) having reactive end groups. The synthetic multiblock polymer displayed similar secondary structure to that of natural spidroin, the peptide segment forming a beta-sheet structure. These multiblock polymers showed a significant solubility in the component solvents. Moreover, the copolymer which contains the short polyisoprene segment would aggregate into a micellar-like structure, as observed by TEM. PMID:16903690

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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

  14. 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

  15. Structure, evolution, and expression of antimicrobial silk proteins, seroins in Lepidoptera.

    PubMed

    Dong, Zhaoming; Song, Qianru; Zhang, Yan; Chen, Shiyi; Zhang, Xiaolu; Zhao, Ping; Xia, Qingyou

    2016-08-01

    The silks of silkworm and waxworm contain abundant antimicrobial proteins, including protease inhibitors and seroins. Protease inhibitors have antifungal activities, whereas seroins have antiviral and antibacterial activities. In order to obtain insights into the structure, evolution, and expression of seroins, we performed an extensive survey based on the available genome, transcriptome, and expressed sequence tags datasets. Sixty-four seroins were identified in 32 lepidopteran species. The phylogenetic and structural analyses revealed that seroins can be classified into five subfamilies: seroin 1, seroin 2, seroin 3, seroin 2 + 1, and seroin 3 + 3. It is interesting that seroin 2 + 1 contains two tandem seroin domains, seroin 2 and seroin 1, whereas seroin 3 + 3 has two tandem seroin 3 domains. Each seroin domain contains a proline-rich N-terminal motif and a conserved C-terminal motif. The transcriptome and EST data indicated that seroin 1 and seroin 2 genes were expressed in the silk gland but seroin 3 genes were not. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR and western blot analyses suggested that seroin 1 and seroin 2 were constantly accumulated in the silk gland of silkworm during the fifth instar, and then secreted into cocoon silk during spinning. Immunofluorescence analyses indicated that seroin 1 was secreted into the fibroin and sericin layers, whereas seroin 2 protein was only secreted into the sericin layer. However, the antimicrobial activity of seroin 2 was more effective than that of seroin 1. The presence of seroin 1 in the fibroin layer suggested that this protein not only acts as an antimicrobial protein, but might also play a role in the assembly and secretion of fibroins. Seroin 3, which was first identified here, might be related to pheromone synthesis or recognition, as it was highly expressed in male antennae and in the pheromone gland. PMID:27180727

  16. Structure, evolution, and expression of antimicrobial silk proteins, seroins in Lepidoptera.

    PubMed

    Dong, Zhaoming; Song, Qianru; Zhang, Yan; Chen, Shiyi; Zhang, Xiaolu; Zhao, Ping; Xia, Qingyou

    2016-08-01

    The silks of silkworm and waxworm contain abundant antimicrobial proteins, including protease inhibitors and seroins. Protease inhibitors have antifungal activities, whereas seroins have antiviral and antibacterial activities. In order to obtain insights into the structure, evolution, and expression of seroins, we performed an extensive survey based on the available genome, transcriptome, and expressed sequence tags datasets. Sixty-four seroins were identified in 32 lepidopteran species. The phylogenetic and structural analyses revealed that seroins can be classified into five subfamilies: seroin 1, seroin 2, seroin 3, seroin 2 + 1, and seroin 3 + 3. It is interesting that seroin 2 + 1 contains two tandem seroin domains, seroin 2 and seroin 1, whereas seroin 3 + 3 has two tandem seroin 3 domains. Each seroin domain contains a proline-rich N-terminal motif and a conserved C-terminal motif. The transcriptome and EST data indicated that seroin 1 and seroin 2 genes were expressed in the silk gland but seroin 3 genes were not. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR and western blot analyses suggested that seroin 1 and seroin 2 were constantly accumulated in the silk gland of silkworm during the fifth instar, and then secreted into cocoon silk during spinning. Immunofluorescence analyses indicated that seroin 1 was secreted into the fibroin and sericin layers, whereas seroin 2 protein was only secreted into the sericin layer. However, the antimicrobial activity of seroin 2 was more effective than that of seroin 1. The presence of seroin 1 in the fibroin layer suggested that this protein not only acts as an antimicrobial protein, but might also play a role in the assembly and secretion of fibroins. Seroin 3, which was first identified here, might be related to pheromone synthesis or recognition, as it was highly expressed in male antennae and in the pheromone gland.

  17. Changes in 30K protein synthesis during delayed degeneration of the silk gland by a caspase-dependent pathway in a Bombyx (silkworm) mutant.

    PubMed

    Wang, Huan; Wang, Yulong; Wu, Chengjia; Tao, Hui; Chen, Xuedong; Yin, Weimin; Sima, Yanghu; Wang, Yujun; Xu, Shiqing

    2016-08-01

    The silk gland in silkworm (Bombyx mori) is a highly specialized organ that specifically synthesizes silk proteins. A function shift to the synthesis of large quantities of 30K proteins occurs in the degenerating silk gland cells during larval-pupal metamorphosis. The posterior silk gland developmental mutant model of silkworm was used in this study and changes in the programmed cell death (PCD) regulatory signals and 30K protein synthesis during silk gland degeneration were investigated. The results showed that PCD induced by 20-hydroxyecdysone was initiated early during larval-pupal metamorphosis in the mutant, but PCD proceeded slowly, resulting in the degeneration process of the silk gland being extended and took almost twice the time compared with the wild type. Caspase-dependent pathway signals regulated by Dronc in the silk gland cells of the mutant were significantly reduced, while the PCD initiation signal regulated by the Atg family was not delayed or reduced, and PCD-related epigenetic modification such as lysine methylation, acetylation, and succinylation, and tyrosine phosphorylation changed significantly. During the degeneration process in the mutant, 30K proteins were efficiently synthesized in the silk gland cells in stage PP1 even when no caspase protein was detected. Degeneration of the silk gland is a PCD process in which autophagy and apoptosis may participate. The degeneration process was regulated by a caspase-dependent pathway, while the synthesis of 30K proteins along with silk gland degeneration may not be entirely dependent on caspase signals.

  18. Spider dragline silk proteins in transgenic tobacco leaves: accumulation and field production.

    PubMed

    Menassa, Rima; Zhu, Hong; Karatzas, Costas N; Lazaris, Anthoula; Richman, Alex; Brandle, Jim

    2004-09-01

    Spider dragline silk is a unique biomaterial and represents nature's strongest known fibre. As it is almost as strong as many commercial synthetic fibres, it is suitable for use in many industrial and medical applications. The prerequisite for such a widespread use is the cost-effective production in sufficient quantities for commercial fibre manufacturing. Agricultural biotechnology and the production of recombinant dragline silk proteins in transgenic plants offer the potential for low-cost, large-scale production. The purpose of this work was to examine the feasibility of producing the two protein components of dragline silk (MaSp1 and MaSp2) from Nephila clavipes in transgenic tobacco. Two different promoters, the enhanced CaMV 35S promoter (Kay et al., 1987) and a new tobacco cryptic constitutive promoter, tCUP (Foster et al., 1999) were used, in conjunction with a plant secretory signal (PR1b), a translational enhancer (alfalfa mosaic virus, AMV) and an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention signal (KDEL), to express the MaSp1 and MaSp2 genes in the leaves of transgenic plants. Both genes expressed successfully and recombinant protein accumulated in transgenic plants grown in both greenhouse and field trials.

  19. Spider dragline silk proteins in transgenic tobacco leaves: accumulation and field production.

    PubMed

    Menassa, Rima; Zhu, Hong; Karatzas, Costas N; Lazaris, Anthoula; Richman, Alex; Brandle, Jim

    2004-09-01

    Spider dragline silk is a unique biomaterial and represents nature's strongest known fibre. As it is almost as strong as many commercial synthetic fibres, it is suitable for use in many industrial and medical applications. The prerequisite for such a widespread use is the cost-effective production in sufficient quantities for commercial fibre manufacturing. Agricultural biotechnology and the production of recombinant dragline silk proteins in transgenic plants offer the potential for low-cost, large-scale production. The purpose of this work was to examine the feasibility of producing the two protein components of dragline silk (MaSp1 and MaSp2) from Nephila clavipes in transgenic tobacco. Two different promoters, the enhanced CaMV 35S promoter (Kay et al., 1987) and a new tobacco cryptic constitutive promoter, tCUP (Foster et al., 1999) were used, in conjunction with a plant secretory signal (PR1b), a translational enhancer (alfalfa mosaic virus, AMV) and an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention signal (KDEL), to express the MaSp1 and MaSp2 genes in the leaves of transgenic plants. Both genes expressed successfully and recombinant protein accumulated in transgenic plants grown in both greenhouse and field trials. PMID:17168889

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-11-01

    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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-11-01

    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.

  2. Translational pauses during the synthesis of proteins and mRNA structure.

    PubMed

    Zama, M

    1997-01-01

    Translational pauses are observed during a spider fibroin synthesis (1,2). The spider major ampullate (dragline) silk of the spider Nephila clavipes is composed of multiple proteins. The amino acid sequences of the partial cDNA clones for the two major dragline silk fibroin components (Spidroin 1 and 2) exhibit repetitive motifs (3,4). Our detailed inspection of the nucleotide sequences of the repetitive motifs revealed highly selective site-specific codon usage patterns within a motif, suggesting that the secondary structure of the spider fibroin mRNA is optimized by the nucleotide sequence of the fibroin gene. The results, combined with our preceding results on silk fibroin from Bombyx mori (5) suggest that translational pauses of spider silk are interpreted in terms of the mRNA secondary structure.

  3. Non-bioengineered silk fibroin protein 3D scaffolds for potential biotechnological and tissue engineering applications.

    PubMed

    Mandal, Biman B; Kundu, Subhas C

    2008-09-01

    This paper describes a new source for fabricating high-strength, non-bioengineered silk gland fibroin 3D scaffolds from Indian tropical tasar silkworm, Antheraea mylitta using SDS for dissolution. The scaffolds were fabricated by freeze drying at different prefreezing temperatures for pore size and porosity optimization. Superior mechanical properties with compressive strength in the range of 972 kPa were observed. The matrices were degraded by proteases within 28 d of incubation. Biocompatibility was assessed by feline fibroblast culture in vitro and confocal microscopy further confirmed adherence, spreading, and proliferation of primary dermal fibroblasts. Results indicate nonmulberry 3D silk gland fibroin protein as an inexpensive, high-strength, slow biodegradable, biocompatible, and alternative natural biomaterial. [Figure: see text]. PMID:18702171

  4. Disulfide bonds in a recombinant protein modeled after a core repeat in an aquatic insect's silk protein.

    PubMed Central

    Smith, S. V.; Correia, J. J.; Case, S. T.

    1995-01-01

    We constructed a gene encoding rCAS, recombinant constant and subrepeat protein, modeled after tandem repeats found in the major silk proteins synthesized by aquatic larvae of the midge, Chironomus tentans. Bacterially synthesized rCAS was purified to near homogeneity and characterized by several biochemical and biophysical methods including amino-terminal sequencing, amino acid compositional analysis, sedimentation equilibrium ultracentrifugation, and mass spectrometry. Complementing these techniques with quantitative sulfhydryl assays, we discovered that the four cysteines present in rCAS form two intramolecular disulfide bonds. Mapping studies revealed that the disulfide bonds are heterogeneous. When reduced and denatured rCAS was allowed to refold and its disulfide bonding state monitored, it again adopted a conformation with two intramolecular disulfide bonds. The inherent ability of rCAS to quantitatively form two intramolecular disulfide bonds may reflect a previously unknown feature of the in vivo silk proteins from which it is derived. PMID:7663350

  5. 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.

  6. Synthetic spider dragline silk proteins and their production in Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Fahnestock, S R; Irwin, S L

    1997-01-01

    Synthetic genes were designed to encode analogs of the two proteins of Nephila clavipes dragline silk, spidroins 1 and 2. The genes were constructed of tandem repeats of relatively long (more than 300 bp) DNA sequences assembled from synthetic oligonucleotides, and encoded proteins of high molecular mass (65-163 kDa). Both analogs were produced efficiently in Escherichia coli. The yield and homogeneity of the products of longer genes were limited by premature termination of synthesis, probably as a result of processivity errors in protein synthesis. Average termination rates were determined to be 1 in 1100 codons to 1 in 300 codons, depending on the length and synonymous codon choices of the gene. Both analog proteins could be induced to form stable aqueous solutions without denaturants. Circular dichroism spectra of the purified proteins in dilute solution resembled spectra of redissolved natural dragline silk in reflecting a largely disordered structure in water and more ordered structures in mixed solvents with methanol and trifluoroethanol.

  7. Synthetic spider dragline silk proteins and their production in Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Fahnestock, S R; Irwin, S L

    1997-01-01

    Synthetic genes were designed to encode analogs of the two proteins of Nephila clavipes dragline silk, spidroins 1 and 2. The genes were constructed of tandem repeats of relatively long (more than 300 bp) DNA sequences assembled from synthetic oligonucleotides, and encoded proteins of high molecular mass (65-163 kDa). Both analogs were produced efficiently in Escherichia coli. The yield and homogeneity of the products of longer genes were limited by premature termination of synthesis, probably as a result of processivity errors in protein synthesis. Average termination rates were determined to be 1 in 1100 codons to 1 in 300 codons, depending on the length and synonymous codon choices of the gene. Both analog proteins could be induced to form stable aqueous solutions without denaturants. Circular dichroism spectra of the purified proteins in dilute solution resembled spectra of redissolved natural dragline silk in reflecting a largely disordered structure in water and more ordered structures in mixed solvents with methanol and trifluoroethanol. PMID:9035407

  8. Molecular design of performance proteins with repetitive sequences: recombinant flagelliform spider silk as basis for biomaterials.

    PubMed

    Vendrely, Charlotte; Ackerschott, Christian; Römer, Lin; Scheibel, Thomas

    2008-01-01

    Most performance proteins responsible for the mechanical stability of cells and organisms reveal highly repetitive sequences. Mimicking such performance proteins is of high interest for the design of nanostructured biomaterials. In this article, flagelliform silk is exemplary introduced to describe a general principle for designing genes of repetitive performance proteins for recombinant expression in Escherichia coli . In the first step, repeating amino acid sequence motifs are reversely transcripted into DNA cassettes, which can in a second step be seamlessly ligated, yielding a designed gene. Recombinant expression thereof leads to proteins mimicking the natural ones. The recombinant proteins can be assembled into nanostructured materials in a controlled manner, allowing their use in several applications. PMID:19031057

  9. 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

  10. 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%.

  11. Silk as a Biomaterial

    PubMed Central

    Vepari, Charu

    2009-01-01

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

  12. 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

  13. A novel marine silk.

    PubMed

    Kronenberger, Katrin; Dicko, Cedric; Vollrath, Fritz

    2012-01-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. E-Spun Composite Fibers of Collagen and Dragline Silk Protein: Fiber Mechanics, Biocompatibility, and Application in Stem Cell Differentiation

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25405355

  16. 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. PMID:25405355

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

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

  19. Structure and applications of a temperature responsive recombinant protein hydrogel based on silk- and elastin-like amino acid motifs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drummy, Lawrence; Tomczak, Melanie; Macauliffe, Joseph; Vaia, Richard; Naik, Rajesh

    2008-03-01

    Proteins form the main components of many natural materials, and they can be designed to offer tailored functionality and material properties. Silk elastin-like proteins (SELP)s come from a family of repeat sequence protein polymers based on Bombyx mori silk and mammalian elastin that are recombinantly expressed in E. coli. SELP gels are formed by heating the protein solutions in order to induce physical crosslinking of the silk β-sheet regions, they contain approximately 80-90% water by weight and they can be used for encapsulation of enzymes or nanoparticles. For example, horseradish peroxidase demonstrates added resistance to drying and heat treatment when encapsulated in the gel matrix. During gel formation, small angle X-ray scattering shows intensity increases in two distinct regions of reciprocal space, one reversible with temperature and one irreversible. By fitting the scattering data to a unified power-law/Gunier model, morphological parameters are extracted. The thermally reversible intensity changes are attributed to a hydrophilic/hydrophobic transition in the elastin segments, while the irreversible intensity change is due to the crystalline regions formed by the silk blocks.

  20. Evaluation of a new type of wound dressing made from recombinant spider silk protein using rat models.

    PubMed

    Baoyong, Lu; Jian, Zheng; Denglong, Chen; Min, Li

    2010-09-01

    This study investigates the feasibility of recombinant spider silk protein as a wound-dressing material for coverage of deep second-degree burn wounds using an animal model. Sixty Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were randomly divided into four groups (15 rats in each group). Two types of recombinant spider silk proteins, pNSR-16 and pNSR-32, as well as collagen (as a control) were applied on the wound; the fourth group was left untreated as a negative control. Each group was evaluated on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 14th and 21st days for wound-healing rate, histological test, levels of hydroxyproline synthesis and the samples were stained for immunohistochemical detection of the basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). The results of implantation testing showed that wound healing in the treatment groups--recombinant spider silk protein pNSR-16 and pNSR-32--was much better than that in the control group (p<0.01). On the 7th, 14th and 21st days, higher expression of bFGF and the increase of hydroxyproline content of the skin indicated good regeneration of wound skin in the treatment groups. Preliminarily, we conclude that the recombinant spider silk protein membrane promotes the recovery of wound skin by increasing the expression and secretion of the growth factor bFGF and hydroxyproline.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

    2014-09-01

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. In situ gelling silk-elastinlike protein polymer for transarterial chemoembolization

    PubMed Central

    Poursaid, Azadeh; Price, Robert; Tiede, Andrea; Olson, Erik; Huo, Eugene; McGill, Lawrence; Ghandehari, Hamidreza; Cappello, Joseph

    2015-01-01

    Hepatocellular carcinoma annually affects over 700,000 people worldwide and trends indicate increasing prevalence. Patients ineligible for surgery undergo loco-regional treatments such as transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) to selectively target tumoral blood supply. Using a microcatheter, chemotherapeutics are infused followed by an embolic agent, or the drug is encapsulated by the embolic moiety; simultaneously inducing stasis while delivering localized chemotherapy. Presently, several products are used, but no universally accepted system is promoted because very disparate limitations exist. The goal of this investigation was to design and develop in situ gelling recombinant silk-elastinlike protein polymers (SELPs) for TACE. Two SELP compositions, SELP-47K and SELP-815K, with varying lengths of silk and elastin blocks, were investigated to formulate a new embolic that was injectable through commercially available microcatheters. The goal was to develop a composition providing maximal permeation of tumor vasculature while exhibiting effective embolic activity. The SELPs evaluated remain soluble until reaching 37°C, when irreversible tran sition ensues forming a solid hydrogel network. SELP-815K formulated at 12% w/w with shear processing demonstrated acceptable rheological properties and clear embolic capability under flow conditions in vitro. A rabbit model showed feasibility of embolization in vivo allowing selective occlusion of lobar hepatic arterial branches. PMID:25916502

  6. Hydrogen bonding-assisted thermal conduction in β-sheet crystals of spider silk protein

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Lin; Chen, Teli; Ban, Heng; Liu, Ling

    2014-06-01

    Using atomistic simulations, we demonstrate that β-sheet, an essential component of spider silk protein, has a thermal conductivity 1-2 orders of magnitude higher than that of some other protein structures reported in the literature. In contrast to several other nanostructured materials of similar bundled/layered structures (e.g. few-layer graphene and bundled carbon nanotubes), the β-sheet is found to uniquely feature enhanced thermal conductivity with an increased number of constituting units, i.e. β-strands. Phonon analysis identifies inter-β-strand hydrogen bonding as the main contributor to the intriguing phenomenon, which prominently influences the state of phonons in both low- and high-frequency regimes. A thermal resistance model further verifies the critical role of hydrogen bonding in thermal conduction through β-sheet structures.Using atomistic simulations, we demonstrate that β-sheet, an essential component of spider silk protein, has a thermal conductivity 1-2 orders of magnitude higher than that of some other protein structures reported in the literature. In contrast to several other nanostructured materials of similar bundled/layered structures (e.g. few-layer graphene and bundled carbon nanotubes), the β-sheet is found to uniquely feature enhanced thermal conductivity with an increased number of constituting units, i.e. β-strands. Phonon analysis identifies inter-β-strand hydrogen bonding as the main contributor to the intriguing phenomenon, which prominently influences the state of phonons in both low- and high-frequency regimes. A thermal resistance model further verifies the critical role of hydrogen bonding in thermal conduction through β-sheet structures. Electronic supplementary information (ESI) available: Structure of the β-sheets, computational model, determination of area and temperature gradient, and additional phonon DOS results. See DOI: 10.1039/c4nr01195c

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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. PMID:26214274

  10. 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. PMID:27517047

  11. Genetically programmable thermoresponsive plasmonic gold/silk-elastin protein core/shell nanoparticles.

    PubMed

    Lin, Yinan; Xia, Xiaoxia; Wang, Ming; Wang, Qianrui; An, Bo; Tao, Hu; Xu, Qiaobing; Omenetto, Fiorenzo; Kaplan, David L

    2014-04-22

    The design and development of future molecular photonic/electronic systems pose the challenge of integrating functional molecular building blocks in a controlled, tunable, and reproducible manner. The modular nature and fidelity of the biosynthesis method provides a unique chemistry approach to one-pot synthesis of environmental factor-responsive chimeric proteins capable of energy conversion between the desired forms. In this work, facile tuning of dynamic thermal response in plasmonic nanoparticles was facilitated by genetic engineering of the structure, size, and self-assembly of the shell silk-elastin-like protein polymers (SELPs). Recombinant DNA techniques were implemented to synthesize a new family of SELPs, S4E8Gs, with amino acid repeats of [(GVGVP)4(GGGVP)(GVGVP)3(GAGAGS)4] and tunable molecular weight. The temperature-reversible conformational switching between the hydrophilic random coils and the hydrophobic β-turns in the elastin blocks were programmed to between 50 and 60 °C by site-specific glycine mutation, as confirmed by variable-temperature proton NMR and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, to trigger the nanoparticle aggregation. The dynamic self-aggregation/disaggregation of the Au-SELPs nanoparticles was regulated in size and pattern by the β-sheet-forming, thermally stable silk blocks, as revealed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS). The thermally reversible, shell dimension dependent, interparticle plasmon coupling was investigated by both variable-temperature UV-vis spectroscopy and finite-difference time-domain (FDTD)-based simulations. Good agreement between the calculated and measured spectra sheds light on design and synthesis of responsive plasmonic nanostructures by independently tuning the refractive index and size of the SELPs through genetic engineering. PMID:24712906

  12. Genetically Programmable Thermoresponsive Plasmonic Gold/Silk-Elastin Protein Core/Shell Nanoparticles

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    The design and development of future molecular photonic/electronic systems pose the challenge of integrating functional molecular building blocks in a controlled, tunable, and reproducible manner. The modular nature and fidelity of the biosynthesis method provides a unique chemistry approach to one-pot synthesis of environmental factor-responsive chimeric proteins capable of energy conversion between the desired forms. In this work, facile tuning of dynamic thermal response in plasmonic nanoparticles was facilitated by genetic engineering of the structure, size, and self-assembly of the shell silk-elastin-like protein polymers (SELPs). Recombinant DNA techniques were implemented to synthesize a new family of SELPs, S4E8Gs, with amino acid repeats of [(GVGVP)4(GGGVP)(GVGVP)3(GAGAGS)4] and tunable molecular weight. The temperature-reversible conformational switching between the hydrophilic random coils and the hydrophobic β-turns in the elastin blocks were programmed to between 50 and 60 °C by site-specific glycine mutation, as confirmed by variable-temperature proton NMR and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, to trigger the nanoparticle aggregation. The dynamic self-aggregation/disaggregation of the Au-SELPs nanoparticles was regulated in size and pattern by the β-sheet-forming, thermally stable silk blocks, as revealed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS). The thermally reversible, shell dimension dependent, interparticle plasmon coupling was investigated by both variable-temperature UV–vis spectroscopy and finite-difference time-domain (FDTD)-based simulations. Good agreement between the calculated and measured spectra sheds light on design and synthesis of responsive plasmonic nanostructures by independently tuning the refractive index and size of the SELPs through genetic engineering. PMID:24712906

  13. 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.

  14. 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

    2016-01-01

    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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25761668

  19. Clinical Application of a Silk Fibroin Protein Biologic Scaffold for Abdominal Wall Fascial Reinforcement

    PubMed Central

    Downey, Susan; Agullo, Frank; Lehfeldt, Max R.; Kind, Gabriel M.; Palladino, Humberto; Marshall, Deirdre; Jewell, Mark L.; Mathur, Anshu B.; Bengtson, Bradley P.

    2014-01-01

    Background: Preclinical studies have demonstrated that macroporous silk fibroin protein scaffolds are capable of promoting physiologically durable supportive tissue, which favors application of these engineered tissues for clinical implantation. The safety and effectiveness of a long-lasting, transitory, 510(k)-cleared purified silk fibroin biologic scaffold (SBS) are investigated for soft-tissue support and repair of the abdominal wall. Methods: We conducted a multicenter retrospective review of all consecutive patients who underwent abdominal wall soft-tissue reinforcement with an SBS device between 2011 and 2013. Indications, comorbid conditions, surgical technique, complications, and outcomes were evaluated. Results: We reviewed the records of 172 consecutive patients who received an SBS for soft-tissue support. Of those, 77 patients underwent abdominal wall fascial repair, with a mean follow-up of 18.4 ± 7.5 months. Procedures using an SBS included reinforcement of an abdominal-based flap donor site (31.2%), ventral hernia repair (53.2%), and abdominoplasty (15.6%). The overall complication rate was 6.5%, consisting of 2 wound dehiscences, 1 with device exposure, 1 seroma, 1 infection with explantation, and a perioperative bulge requiring reoperation. There were no reports of hernia. Conclusions: Postoperative complication rates after 18 months were low, and most surgical complications were managed nonoperatively on an outpatient basis without mesh removal. To our knowledge, this is the only series to report on a long-lasting, transitory SBS for abdominal wall repair and reinforcement. Procedure-specific outcome studies are warranted to delineate optimal patient selection and define potential device characteristic advantages. PMID:25506529

  20. Quantification of the physiochemical constraints on the export of spider silk proteins by Salmonella type III secretion

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background The type III secretion system (T3SS) is a molecular machine in gram negative bacteria that exports proteins through both membranes to the extracellular environment. It has been previously demonstrated that the T3SS encoded in Salmonella Pathogenicity Island 1 (SPI-1) can be harnessed to export recombinant proteins. Here, we demonstrate the secretion of a variety of unfolded spider silk proteins and use these data to quantify the constraints of this system with respect to the export of recombinant protein. Results To test how the timing and level of protein expression affects secretion, we designed a hybrid promoter that combines an IPTG-inducible system with a natural genetic circuit that controls effector expression in Salmonella (psicA). LacO operators are placed in various locations in the psicA promoter and the optimal induction occurs when a single operator is placed at the +5nt (234-fold) and a lower basal level of expression is achieved when a second operator is placed at -63nt to take advantage of DNA looping. Using this tool, we find that the secretion efficiency (protein secreted divided by total expressed) is constant as a function of total expressed. We also demonstrate that the secretion flux peaks at 8 hours. We then use whole gene DNA synthesis to construct codon optimized spider silk genes for full-length (3129 amino acids) Latrodectus hesperus dragline silk, Bombyx mori cocoon silk, and Nephila clavipes flagelliform silk and PCR is used to create eight truncations of these genes. These proteins are all unfolded polypeptides and they encompass a variety of length, charge, and amino acid compositions. We find those proteins fewer than 550 amino acids reliably secrete and the probability declines significantly after ~700 amino acids. There also is a charge optimum at -2.4, and secretion efficiency declines for very positively or negatively charged proteins. There is no significant correlation with hydrophobicity. Conclusions We show that

  1. More than just fibers: an aqueous method for the production of innovative recombinant spider silk protein materials.

    PubMed

    Jones, Justin A; Harris, Thomas I; Tucker, Chauncey L; Berg, Kyle R; Christy, Stacia Y; Day, Breton A; Gaztambide, Danielle A; Needham, Nate J C; Ruben, Ashley L; Oliveira, Paula F; Decker, Richard E; Lewis, Randolph V

    2015-04-13

    Spider silk is a striking and robust natural material that has an unrivaled combination of strength and elasticity. There are two major problems in creating materials from recombinant spider silk proteins (rSSps): expressing sufficient quantities of the large, highly repetitive proteins and solvating the naturally self-assembling proteins once produced. To address the second problem, we have developed a method to rapidly dissolve rSSps in water in lieu of traditional organic solvents and accomplish nearly 100% solvation and recovery of the protein. Our method involves generating pressure and temperature in a sealed vial by using short, repetitive bursts from a conventional microwave. The method is scalable and has been successful with all rSSps used to date. From these easily generated aqueous solutions of rSSps, a wide variety of materials have been produced. Production of fibers, films, hydrogels, lyogels, sponges, and adhesives and studies of their mechanical and structural properties are reported. To our knowledge, ours is the only method that is cost-effective and scalable for mass production. This solvation method allows a choice of the physical form of product to take advantage of spider silks' mechanical properties without using costly and problematic organic solvents. PMID:25789668

  2. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

  4. 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

  5. A Juvenile Hormone Transcription Factor Bmdimm-Fibroin H Chain Pathway Is Involved in the Synthesis of Silk Protein in Silkworm, Bombyx mori*

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Xiao-Ming; Liu, Chun; Jiang, Li-Jun; Li, Qiong-Yan; Zhou, Meng-Ting; Cheng, Ting-Cai; Mita, Kazuei; Xia, Qing-You

    2015-01-01

    The genes responsible for silk biosynthesis are switched on and off at particular times in the silk glands of Bombyx mori. This switch appears to be under the control of endogenous and exogenous hormones. However, the molecular mechanisms by which silk protein synthesis is regulated by the juvenile hormone (JH) are largely unknown. Here, we report a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, Bmdimm, its silk gland-specific expression, and its direct involvement in the regulation of fibroin H-chain (fib-H) by binding to an E-box (CAAATG) element of the fib-H gene promoter. Far-Western blots, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and co-immunoprecipitation assays revealed that Bmdimm protein interacted with another basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, Bmsage. Immunostaining revealed that Bmdimm and Bmsage proteins are co-localized in nuclei. Bmdimm expression was induced in larval silk glands in vivo, in silk glands cultured in vitro, and in B. mori cell lines after treatment with a JH analog. The JH effect on Bmdimm was mediated by the JH-Met-Kr-h1 signaling pathway, and Bmdimm expression did not respond to JH by RNA interference with double-stranded BmKr-h1 RNA. These data suggest that the JH regulatory pathway, the transcription factor Bmdimm, and the targeted fib-H gene contribute to the synthesis of fibroin H-chain protein in B. mori. PMID:25371208

  6. Transcript profile analyses of maize silks reveal effective activation of genes involved in microtubule-based movement, ubiquitin-dependent protein degradation, and transport in the pollination process.

    PubMed

    Xu, Xiao Hui; Wang, Fang; Chen, Hao; Sun, Wei; Zhang, Xian Sheng

    2013-01-01

    Pollination is the first crucial step of sexual reproduction in flowering plants, and it requires communication and coordination between the pollen and the stigma. Maize (Zea mays) is a model monocot with extraordinarily long silks, and a fully sequenced genome, but little is known about the mechanism of its pollen-stigma interactions. In this study, the dynamic gene expression of silks at four different stages before and after pollination was analyzed. The expression profiles of immature silks (IMS), mature silks (MS), and silks at 20 minutes and 3 hours after pollination (20MAP and 3HAP, respectively) were compared. In total, we identified 6,337 differentially expressed genes in silks (SDEG) at the four stages. Among them, the expression of 172 genes were induced upon pollination, most of which participated in RNA binding, processing and transcription, signal transduction, and lipid metabolism processes. Genes in the SDEG dataset could be divided into 12 time-course clusters according to their expression patterns. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis revealed that many genes involved in microtubule-based movement, ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation, and transport were predominantly expressed at specific stages, indicating that they might play important roles in the pollination process of maize. These results add to current knowledge about the pollination process of grasses and provide a foundation for future studies on key genes involved in the pollen-silk interaction in maize.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. A structural view on spider silk proteins and their role in fiber assembly.

    PubMed

    Hagn, Franz

    2012-06-01

    Spider silk is the toughest known biomaterial and even outrivals modern synthetic high-performance materials. The question of understanding fiber formation is how the spider can prevent premature and fatal aggregation processes inside its own body and how the chemical and mechanical stimuli used to induce the fiber formation process translate into structural changes of the silk material, finally leading to controlled and irreversible aggregation. Here, the focus will be on the structure and function of the highly conserved N-domains and C-terminal domains of spider dragline silk which, unlike the very long repetitive sequence elements, adopt a folded conformation in solution and are therefore able to control intermolecular interactions and aggregation between other spider silk molecules. The structures of these domains add valuable details for the construction of a molecular picture of the complicated and highly optimized silk assembly process that might be beneficial for large-scale in vitro fiber formation attempts with recombinant silk material. PMID:22570231

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

    PubMed Central

    Teulé, Florence; Miao, Yun-Gen; Sohn, Bong-Hee; Kim, Young-Soo; Hull, J. Joe; Fraser, Malcolm J.; Lewis, Randolph V.; Jarvis, Donald L.

    2012-01-01

    The development of a spider silk-manufacturing process is of great interest. However, there are serious problems with natural manufacturing through spider farming, and standard recombinant protein production platforms have provided limited progress due to their inability to assemble spider silk proteins into fibers. Thus, we used piggyBac vectors 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 proteins integrated in an extremely stable manner. Furthermore, these composite fibers were, on average, tougher than the parental silkworm silk fibers and as tough as native dragline spider silk fibers. These results demonstrate that silkworms can be engineered to manufacture composite silk fibers containing stably integrated spider silk protein sequences, which significantly improve the overall mechanical properties of the parental silkworm silk fibers. PMID:22215590

  12. Recent progress in development of transgenic silkworms overexpressing recombinant human proteins with therapeutic potential in silk glands.

    PubMed

    Itoh, Kohji; Kobayashi, Isao; Nishioka, So-Ichiro; Sezutsu, Hideki; Machii, Hiroaki; Tamura, Toshiki

    2016-02-01

    Since 2000, transgenic silkworms have been developed to produce recombinant proteins with therapeutic potential for future clinical use, including antibody preparations. Lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs) are inherited metabolic disorders caused by mutations of lysosomal enzymes associated with excessive accumulation of natural substrates and neurovisceral symptoms. Over the past few years, enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with human lysosomal enzymes produced by genetically engineered mammalian cell lines has been used clinically to treat several patients with an LSD involving multi-organ symptoms. ERT is based on the incorporation of recombinant glycoenzymes by their binding to glycan receptors on the surface of target cells and their subsequent delivery to lysosomes. However, ERT has several disadvantages, including difficulty mass producing human enzymes, dangers of pathogen contamination, and high costs. Recently, the current authors have succeeded in producing transgenic silkworms overexpressing human lysosomal enzymes in the silk glands and the authors have purified catalytically active enzymes from the middle silk glands. Silk gland-derived human enzymes carrying high-mannose and pauci-mannose N-glycans were endocytosed by monocytes via the mannose receptor pathway and were then delivered to lysosomes. Conjugates with cell-penetrating peptides were also taken up by cultured fibroblasts derived from patients with enzyme deficiencies to restore intracellular catalytic activity and reduce the excessive accumulation of substrates in patient fibroblasts. Transgenic silkworms overexpressing human lysosomal enzymes in the silk glands could serve as future bioresources that provide safe therapeutic enzymes for the treatment of LSDs. Combining recent developments in transglycosylation technology with microbial endoglycosidases will promote the development of therapeutic glycoproteins as bio-medicines. PMID:26971553

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

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

  17. Mechanical Improvements to Reinforced Porous Silk Scaffolds

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-12

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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. PMID:27603150

  2. 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

  3. Silks produced by insect labial glands

    PubMed Central

    Sutherland, Tara

    2008-01-01

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

  4. Silk Fibroin Electrogelation Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Qiang; Huang, Yongli; Li, Mingzhong; Zuo, Baoqi; Lu, Shenzhou; Wang, Jiannan; Zhu, Hesun; Kaplan, David L.

    2012-01-01

    A silk fibroin gel system (e-gel), formed with weak electric fields has potential utility in medical materials and devices. The mechanism of silk e-gel formation was studied to gain additional insight into the process and control of the material properties. Silk fibroin nanoparticles with sizes of several ten nanometers, composed of metastable conformations, were involved in e-gel formation. Under electric fields, the nanoparticles rapidly assembled into larger nano- or microspheres with size ranges from tens nanometers to several microns. Repulsive forces from the negative surface charge of the acidic groups on the protein were screened by the local decrease in solution pH in the vicinity of the positive electrode. By controlling the formation and content of silk fibroin nanoparticles e-gel could be formed even from low concentration silk fibroin solutions (1%). When e-gel was reversed to the solution state, the aggregated nano- and microspheres dispersed into solution, a significant observation related to future applications for this process, such as for drug delivery. PMID:21345387

  5. 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.

  6. Properties of synthetic spider silk fibers based on Argiope aurantia MaSp2.

    PubMed

    Brooks, Amanda E; Stricker, Shane M; Joshi, Sangeeta B; Kamerzell, Timothy J; Middaugh, C Russell; Lewis, Randolph V

    2008-06-01

    Spiders have evolved a complex system of silk producing glands. Each of the glands produces silk with strength and elasticity tailored to its biological purpose. Sequence analysis of the major ampullate silk reveals four highly conserved concatenated blocks of amino acids: (GA) n , A n , GPGXX, and GGX. While the GPGXX motif, which has been hypothesized to be responsible for the extensibility of the fiber, displays natural variation in its precise sequence arrangement and content, correlating these differences with particular fiber properties has been difficult. Three genetic constructs based on the Argiope aurantia sequence were engineered to progressively increase the number of GPGXX repeats in a head-to-tail assembly prior to interruption by another motif. Circular dichroism and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy of synthetic spider silk spin dopes show secondary structures that correspond to an increase in the repeat number of GPGXX regions and an increase in the extensibility of synthetically spun recombinant fibers. PMID:18457450

  7. Elucidating metabolic pathways for amino acid incorporation into dragline spider silk using 13C enrichment and solid state NMR.

    PubMed

    Creager, Melinda S; Izdebski, Thomas; Brooks, Amanda E; Lewis, Randolph V

    2011-07-01

    Spider silk has been evolutionarily optimized for contextual mechanical performance over the last 400 Ma. Despite precisely balanced mechanical properties, which have yet to be reproduced, the underlying molecular architecture of major ampullate spider silk can be simplified being viewed as a versatile block copolymer. Four primary amino acid motifs: polyalanine, (GA)(n), GPGXX, and GGX (X = G,A,S,Q,L,Y) will be considered in this study. Although synthetic mimetics of many of these amino acid motifs have been produced in several biological systems, the source of spider silk's mechanical integrity remains elusive. Mechanical robustness may be a product not only of the amino acid structure but also of the tertiary structure of the silk. Historically, solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR) has been used to reveal the crystalline structure of the polyalanine motif; however, limitations in amino acid labeling techniques have obscured the structures of the GGX and GPGXX motifs thought to be responsible for the structural mobility of spider silk. We describe the use of metabolic pathways to label tyrosine for the first time as well as to improve the labeling efficiency of proline. These improved labeling techniques will allow the previously unknown tertiary structures of major ampullate silk to be probed. PMID:21334448

  8. 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. PMID:27531579

  9. Effect of BBX-B8 overexpression on development, body weight, silk protein synthesis and egg diapause of Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Xiaojian; Gong, Yongchang; Kumar, Dhiraj; Chen, Fei; Kuan, Sulan; Liang, Zi; Hu, Xiaolong; Cao, Guangli; Xue, Renyu; Gong, Chengliang

    2016-08-01

    Bombyxin (BBX) is an insulin-like peptide exists in the silkworm Bombyx mori. Our previous studies on the effects of inhibiting BBX-B8 expression found that BBX-B8 is important for the development of organ, reproduction and trehalose metabolism in the silkworms. In this paper, we investigated the expression profile of the BBX-B8 gene and effect of BBX-B8 overexpression on the development, body weight, silk protein synthesis and egg diapause of B. mori to further understand BBX-B8 functions. BBX-B8 gene expression could be detected in the brains, midguts, anterior silkglands, ovaries, testes, fat bodies, hemolymph, malpighian tubules and embryos by RT-PCR, however it was mainly expressed in the brain. Western blots showed that the change in BBX-B8 expression was not obvious in the brain of 1- to 4-day-old larvae of fifth instar silkworms, but expression increased substantially at 5- to 6-day-old larvae of fifth instar silkworms. Transgenic silkworms overexpressing BBX-B8 were obtained by introducing non-transposon transgenic vector pIZT-B8 containing a BBX-B8 gene driven by Orgyia pseudotsugata nucleopolyhedrovirus IE2 promoter into the genome. Development duration of the transgenic silkworms was delayed by 2.5-3.5 days. Cocoon shell weight of transgenic silkworms was reduced by 4.79 % in females and 7.44 % in males, pupal weight of transgenic silkworms was reduced 6.75 % in females and 13.83 % in males compared to non-transgenic silkworms, and 5.56-14.29 % of transgenic moths laid nondiapausing eggs. All results indicated that BBX-B8 plays an important role in the development, silk protein synthesis and egg diapause of silkworm. PMID:26951193

  10. Effect of BBX-B8 overexpression on development, body weight, silk protein synthesis and egg diapause of Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Xiaojian; Gong, Yongchang; Kumar, Dhiraj; Chen, Fei; Kuan, Sulan; Liang, Zi; Hu, Xiaolong; Cao, Guangli; Xue, Renyu; Gong, Chengliang

    2016-08-01

    Bombyxin (BBX) is an insulin-like peptide exists in the silkworm Bombyx mori. Our previous studies on the effects of inhibiting BBX-B8 expression found that BBX-B8 is important for the development of organ, reproduction and trehalose metabolism in the silkworms. In this paper, we investigated the expression profile of the BBX-B8 gene and effect of BBX-B8 overexpression on the development, body weight, silk protein synthesis and egg diapause of B. mori to further understand BBX-B8 functions. BBX-B8 gene expression could be detected in the brains, midguts, anterior silkglands, ovaries, testes, fat bodies, hemolymph, malpighian tubules and embryos by RT-PCR, however it was mainly expressed in the brain. Western blots showed that the change in BBX-B8 expression was not obvious in the brain of 1- to 4-day-old larvae of fifth instar silkworms, but expression increased substantially at 5- to 6-day-old larvae of fifth instar silkworms. Transgenic silkworms overexpressing BBX-B8 were obtained by introducing non-transposon transgenic vector pIZT-B8 containing a BBX-B8 gene driven by Orgyia pseudotsugata nucleopolyhedrovirus IE2 promoter into the genome. Development duration of the transgenic silkworms was delayed by 2.5-3.5 days. Cocoon shell weight of transgenic silkworms was reduced by 4.79 % in females and 7.44 % in males, pupal weight of transgenic silkworms was reduced 6.75 % in females and 13.83 % in males compared to non-transgenic silkworms, and 5.56-14.29 % of transgenic moths laid nondiapausing eggs. All results indicated that BBX-B8 plays an important role in the development, silk protein synthesis and egg diapause of silkworm.

  11. Composition and Hierarchical Organisation of a Spider Silk

    PubMed Central

    Sponner, Alexander; Vater, Wolfram; Monajembashi, Shamci; Unger, Eberhard; Grosse, Frank; Weisshart, Klaus

    2007-01-01

    Albeit silks are fairly well understood on a molecular level, their hierarchical organisation and the full complexity of constituents in the spun fibre remain poorly defined. Here we link morphological defined structural elements in dragline silk of Nephila clavipes to their biochemical composition and physicochemical properties. Five layers of different make-ups could be distinguished. Of these only the two core layers contained the known silk proteins, but all can vitally contribute to the mechanical performance or properties of the silk fibre. Understanding the composite nature of silk and its supra-molecular organisation will open avenues in the production of high performance fibres based on artificially spun silk material. PMID:17912375

  12. Silk from Crickets: A New Twist on Spinning

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:26455593

  15. 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

  16. Silk as an innovative biomaterial for cancer therapy.

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  17. Lithium-free processing of silk fibroin.

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  19. 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

  20. [Amplification, cloning and sequence analysis of spider dragline silk cDNA].

    PubMed

    Zhang, Li-Shu; Ma, He-Wen; Lu, Yi-Ming; Zhang, Yu-Jing

    2002-09-01

    Spider dragline silk is synthesized in special gland named major ampulate (MA) gland. The MA glands were dissected from the abdomen of the spiders Nephila clavata and the total RNA was extracted by the TRIZOL. The cDNA of dragline silk was amplificated by RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction), multiplex PCR and cloned. PCR identification, restriction analysis and DNA sequence analysis were carried out to verify the recombinant plasmids. The codon usage frequencies of the cloned cDNA were added up, and the predicted amino acid sequence was compared with Spidroin2 of Nephila clavipes. Predicted secondary structure of the predicted amino-acid sequence was analysized by DNAStar software. All results showed that the cloned cDNA we got (GenBank Accession No. AF441245) was the very fragment of spider dragline silk Spidroin2 cDNA.

  1. Molecular nanosprings in spider capture-silk threads

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Becker, Nathan; Oroudjev, Emin; Mutz, Stephanie; Cleveland, Jason P.; Hansma, Paul K.; Hayashi, Cheryl Y.; Makarov, Dmitrii E.; Hansma, Helen G.

    2003-04-01

    Spider capture silk is a natural material that outperforms almost any synthetic material in its combination of strength and elasticity. The structure of this remarkable material is still largely unknown, because spider-silk proteins have not been crystallized. Capture silk is the sticky spiral in the webs of orb-weaving spiders. Here we are investigating specifically the capture spiral threads from Araneus, an ecribellate orb-weaving spider. The major protein of these threads is flagelliform protein, a variety of silk fibroin. We present models for molecular and supramolecular structures of flagelliform protein, derived from amino acid sequences, force spectroscopy (molecular pulling) and stretching of bulk capture web. Pulling on molecules in capture-silk fibres from Araneus has revealed rupture peaks due to sacrificial bonds, characteristic of other self-healing biomaterials. The overall force changes are exponential for both capture-silk molecules and intact strands of capture silk.

  2. 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.

  3. Ex vivo rheology of spider silk.

    PubMed

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

    2006-11-01

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

  4. 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

  5. Silk Spinning in Silkworms and Spiders.

    PubMed

    Andersson, Marlene; Johansson, Jan; Rising, Anna

    2016-01-01

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

  6. Silk Spinning in Silkworms and Spiders.

    PubMed

    Andersson, Marlene; Johansson, Jan; Rising, Anna

    2016-08-09

    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.

  7. 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)

  8. 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

  9. Functionalized Silk Biomaterials for Wound Healing

    PubMed Central

    Gil, Eun Seok; Panilaitis, Bruce; Bellas, Evangelia

    2013-01-01

    Silk protein-biomaterial wound dressings with epidermal growth factor (EGF) and silver sulfadiazine were studied with a cutaneous excisional mouse wound model. Three different material designs (silk films, lamellar porous silk films, electrospun silk nanofibers) and two different drug functionalization techniques (drug coatings or drug loading into the materials) were studied to compare wound healing responses. Changes in wound size and histological assessments of wound tissues over time confirmed that functionalized silk biomaterial wound dressings increased wound healing rate, including reepithelialization, dermis proliferation, collagen synthesis, epidermal differentiation into hair follicles and sebaceous glands, and reduced scar formation, when compared to air-permeable Tegaderm™ tape (3M) (− control) and a commercially sold wound dressing (Tegaderm™ Hydrocolloid dressing) (+ control). All silk biomaterials studied were effective for wound healing, while the porous features of the silk biomaterials (lamellar porous films and electrospun nanofibers) and the incorporation of EGF/silver sulfadiazine, via drug loading or coating, provided the most rapid wound healing responses. This systematic approach to evaluate functionalized silk biomaterial wound dressings demonstrates a useful strategy to select formulations for further study towards new treatment options for chronic wounds. PMID:23184644

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

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

  12. 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

    2014-12-01

    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.

  13. Novel nanocomposites from spider silk–silica fusion (chimeric) proteins

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2006-01-01

    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 μm 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 μm 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. PMID:16769898

  14. 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. PMID:24659100

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

    PubMed

    Sasaki, K; Honda, W; Miyake, Y

    1998-01-01

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

  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. PMID:26689371

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

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

  19. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    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 E. 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. pyrogenes 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. PMID:23088839

  1. 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.

  2. Silk structure and degradation.

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. [Engineered spider silk: the intelligent biomaterial of the future. Part I].

    PubMed

    Florczak, Anna; Piekoś, Konrad; Kaźmierska, Katarzyna; Mackiewicz, Andrzej; Dams-Kozłowska, Hanna

    2011-01-01

    The unique properties of spider silk such as strength, extensibility, toughness, biocompatibility and biodegradability are the reasons for the recent development in silk biomaterial technology. For a long time scientific progress was impeded by limited access to spider silk. However, the development of the molecular biology strategy was a breaking point in synthetic spider silk protein design. The sequences of engineered spider silk are based on the consensus motives of the corresponding natural equivalents. Moreover, the engineered silk proteins may be modified in order to gain a new function. The strategy of the hybrid proteins constructed on the DNA level combines the sequence of engineered silk, which is responsible for the biomaterial structure, with the sequence of polypeptide which allows functionalization of the silk biomaterial. The functional domains may comprise receptor binding sites, enzymes, metal or sugar binding sites and others. Currently, advanced research is being conducted, which on the one hand focuses on establishing the particular silk structure and understanding the process of silk thread formation in nature. On the other hand, there are attempts to improve methods of engineered spider silk protein production. Due to acquired knowledge and recent progress in synthetic protein technology, the engineered silk will turn into intelligent biomaterial of the future, while its industrial production scale will trigger a biotechnological revolution. PMID:21734322

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Silk-based delivery systems of bioactive molecules

    PubMed Central

    Numata, Keiji; Kaplan, David L

    2010-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. Silk genes support the single origin of orb webs.

    PubMed

    Garb, Jessica E; Dimauro, Teresa; Vo, Victoria; Hayashi, Cheryl Y

    2006-06-23

    The orb web is a spectacular evolutionary innovation that enables spiders to catch flying prey. This elegant, geometric structure is woven with silk fibers that are renowned for their superior mechanical properties. We used silk gland expression libraries to address a long-standing controversy concerning the evolution of the orb-web architecture. Contrary to the view that the orb-web design evolved multiple times, we found that the distribution and phylogeny of silk proteins support a single, ancient origin of the orb web at least 136 million years ago. Furthermore, we substantially expanded the repository of silk sequences that can be used for the synthesis of high-performance biomaterials.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-22

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

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25412301

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-23

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-23

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

  16. 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

  17. Early Events in the Evolution of Spider Silk Genes

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  18. Hierarchical biomineralization of calcium carbonate regulated by silk microspheres.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xiuli; Fan, Zhihai; Lu, Qiang; Huang, Yongli; Kaplan, David L; Zhu, Hesun

    2013-06-01

    As an analog of the main protein contained in nacre regenerated Bombyx mori silk fibroin has a significant influence on the morphology and polymorphic nature of CaCO3 in the biomineralization process. A number of studies have implied that the self-assembling aggregate structure of silk fibroin is a key factor in controlling CaCO3 aggregation. Further insight into this role is necessary with a particular need to prepare silk fibroin aggregates with homogeneous structures to serve as templates for the mineralization process. Here we have prepared homogeneous silk microspheres to serve as templates for CaCO3 mineralization in order to provide an experimental insight into silk-regulated crystallization processes. CaCO3 particles with different nano- and microstructures, and their polymorphs, were successfully formed by controlling the mineralization process. The key function of silk aggregation in controlling the morphology and polymorphic nature of CaCO3 particles was confirmed. A regulating effect of silk on the spatial features was also observed. A two-step process for silk fibroin-regulated biomineralization was found, with different levels of heterogeneous nucleation and aggregation. A full understanding of silk fibroin-regulated biomineralization mechanisms would help in understanding the function of organic polymers in natural biomineralization, and provide a way forward in the design and synthesis of new materials in which organic-inorganic interfaces are the keys to function, biological interfaces and many related material features. PMID:23518477

  19. Multifunctional silk-tropoelastin biomaterial systems

    PubMed Central

    Ghezzi, Chiara E.; Rnjak-Kovacina, Jelena; Weiss, Anthony S.; Kaplan, David L.

    2015-01-01

    New multifunctional, degradable, polymeric biomaterial systems would provide versatile platforms to address cell and tissue needs in both in vitro and in vivo environments. While protein-based composites or alloys are the building blocks of biological organisms, similar systems have not been largely exploited to dates to generate ad hoc biomaterials able to control and direct biological functions, by recapitulating their inherent structural and mechanical complexities. Therefore, we have recently proposed silk-tropoelastin material platforms able to conjugate a mechanically robust and durable protein, silk, to a highly flexible and biologically active protein, tropoelastin. This review focuses on the elucidation of the interactions between silk and tropoelastin in order to control material structure, properties, and ultimately functions. In addition, an approach is provided for novel material designs to provide tools to control biological outcomes via surface roughness, elasticity, and net charge for neuronal and mesenchymal stem cell-based tissue engineering. PMID:26005219

  20. 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.

  1. Water-Insoluble Silk Films with Silk I Structure

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  2. Water-insoluble silk films with silk I structure.

    PubMed

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

    2010-04-01

    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 degrees C, without crystallization above the T(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.

  3. Precise patterning of silk microstructures using photolithography.

    PubMed

    Kurland, Nicholas E; Dey, Tuli; Kundu, Subhas C; Yadavalli, Vamsi K

    2013-11-20

    Photolithography is used in conjunction with a "silk fibroin photoresist" to form precise protein microstructures directly and rapidly on a variety of substrates. High-resolution features in two and three dimensions with line widths down to one micrometer are formed. Photo-crosslinked protein structures guide cell adhesion, providing precise spatial control of cells without requiring adhesive ligands.

  4. Advanced silk material spun by a transgenic silkworm promotes cell proliferation for biomedical application.

    PubMed

    Wang, Feng; Xu, Hanfu; Wang, Yuancheng; Wang, Riyuan; Yuan, Lin; Ding, Huan; Song, Chunnuan; Ma, Sanyuan; Peng, Zhixin; Peng, Zhangchuan; Zhao, Ping; Xia, Qingyou

    2014-12-01

    Natural silk fiber spun by the silkworm Bombyx mori is widely used not only for textile materials, but also for biofunctional materials. In the present study, we genetically engineered an advanced silk material, named hSFSV, using a transgenic silkworm, in which the recombinant human acidic fibroblast growth factor (hFGF1) protein was specifically synthesized in the middle silk gland and secreted into the sericin layer to surround the silk fiber using our previously optimized sericin1 expression system. The content of the recombinant hFGF1 in the hSFSV silk was estimated to be approximate 0.07% of the cocoon shell weight. The mechanical properties of hSFSV raw silk fiber were enhanced slightly compared to those of the wild-type raw silk fiber, probably due to the presence of the recombinant of hFGF1 in the sericin layer. Remarkably, the hSFSV raw silk significantly stimulated the cell growth and proliferation of NIH/3T3 mouse embryonic fibroblast cells, suggesting that the mitogenic activity of recombinant hFGF1 was well maintained and functioned in the sericin layer of hSFSV raw silk. These results show that the genetically engineered raw silk hSFSV could be used directly as a fine biomedical material for mass application. In addition, the strategy whereby functional recombinant proteins are expressed in the sericin layer of silk might be used to create more genetically engineered silks with various biofunctions and applications.

  5. Development of a silk cable-reinforced gelatin/silk fibroin hybrid scaffold for ligament tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Fan, Hongbin; Liu, Haifeng; Wang, Yue; Toh, Siew Lok; Goh, James Cho Hong

    2008-01-01

    The objective of this study was to develop a silk cable-reinforced gelatin/silk fibroin hybrid scaffold for ligament tissue engineering. The scaffold was fabricated by lyophilizing the cross-linked gelatin and silk fibroin mixture with braided silk cables. Scanning electronic microscopy (SEM) observation showed that microporous gelatin/silk fibroin sponges formed around silk cables mimicked the microstructures of ligament extracellular matrix (ECM). The silk cables significantly increased the tensile strength of the scaffold to meet the mechanical requirements for ligament tissue engineering. The scaffold possessed good cell adhesion property, and when mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were seeded on it, cells proliferated profusely. After 2 weeks of culture, seeded MSCs were distributed uniformly throughout the scaffold and were highly viable. Occurrence of cell death during culture was not significant. Deposition of collagen on the scaffold was found to increase with time. Differentiation of MSCs into ligament fibroblasts was verified by expressions of ligament ECM specific genes including collagen type I, collagen type III, and tenascin-C in mRNA and protein level. Immunohistochemistry stains also confirmed the production of key ligament ECM components on the scaffold. The results demonstrate that silk cable-reinforced gelatin/silk fibroin scaffold possesses the appropriate mechanical properties and has enlarged surface area. It is also capable of supporting cell proliferation and differentiation for ligament tissue engineering.

  6. Peroxinectin catalyzed dityrosine crosslinking in the adhesive underwater silk of a casemaker caddisfly larvae, Hysperophylax occidentalis.

    PubMed

    Wang, Ching-Shuen; Ashton, Nicholas N; Weiss, Robert B; Stewart, Russell J

    2014-11-01

    Aquatic caddisfly larvae use sticky silk fibers as an adhesive tape to construct protective composite structures under water. Three new silk fiber components were identified by transcriptome and proteome analysis of the silk gland: a heme-peroxidase in the peroxinectin (Pxt) sub-family, a superoxide dismutase 3 (SOD3) that generates the H2O2 substrate of the silk fiber Pxt from environmental reactive oxygen species (eROS), and a novel structural component with sequence similarity to the elastic PEVK region of the muscle protein, titin. All three proteins are co-drawn with fibroins to form silk fibers. The Pxt and SOD3 enzymes retain activity in drawn fibers. In native fibers, Pxt activity and dityrosine crosslinks are co-localized at the boundary of a peripheral layer and the silk fiber core. To our knowledge, dityrosine crosslinks, heme peroxidase, and SOD3 activities have not been previously reported in an insect silk. The PEVK-like protein is homogeneously distributed throughout the fiber core. The results are consolidated into a model in which caddisfly silk Pxt-catalyzed dityrosine crosslinking occurs post-draw using H2O2 generated within the silk fibers by SOD3. The ROS substrate of caddisfly silk SOD3 occurs naturally in aquatic environments, from biotic and abiotic sources. The radially inhomogeneous dityrosine crosslinking and a potential titin-like PEVK protein network have important implications for the mechanical properties of caddifly silk fibers. PMID:25220661

  7. 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. PMID:23827592

  8. 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.

  9. 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,...

  10. 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'…

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  13. 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

  14. Carbonic anhydrase generates a pH gradient in Bombyx mori silk glands.

    PubMed

    Domigan, L J; Andersson, M; Alberti, K A; Chesler, M; Xu, Q; Johansson, J; Rising, A; Kaplan, D L

    2015-10-01

    Silk is a protein of interest to both biological and industrial sciences. The silkworm, Bombyx mori, forms this protein into strong threads starting from soluble silk proteins using a number of biochemical and physical cues to allow the transition from liquid to fibrous silk. A pH gradient has been measured along the gland, but the methodology employed was not able to precisely determine the pH at specific regions of interest in the silk gland. Furthermore, the physiological mechanisms responsible for the generation of this pH gradient are unknown. In this study, concentric ion selective microelectrodes were used to determine the luminal pH of B. mori silk glands. A gradient from pH 8.2 to 7.2 was measured in the posterior silk gland, with a pH 7 throughout the middle silk gland, and a gradient from pH 6.8 to 6.2 in the beginning of the anterior silk gland where silk processing into fibers occurs. The small diameter of the most anterior region of the anterior silk gland prevented microelectrode access in this region. Using a histochemical method, the presence of active carbonic anhydrase was identified in the funnel and anterior silk gland of fifth instar larvae. The observed pH gradient collapsed upon addition of the carbonic anhydrase inhibitor methazolamide, confirming an essential role for this enzyme in pH regulation in the B. mori silk gland. Plastic embedding of whole silk glands allowed clear visualization of the morphology, including the identification of four distinct epithelial cell types in the gland and allowed correlations between silk gland morphology and silk stages of assembly related to the pH gradient. B. mori silk glands have four different epithelial cell types, one of which produces carbonic anhydrase. Carbonic anhydrase is necessary for the mechanism that generates an intraluminal pH gradient, which likely regulates the assembly of silk proteins and then the formation of fibers from soluble silk proteins. These new insights into native silk

  15. Tissue Regeneration: A Silk Road.

    PubMed

    Jao, Dave; Mou, Xiaoyang; Hu, Xiao

    2016-01-01

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

  16. Tissue Regeneration: A Silk Road.

    PubMed

    Jao, Dave; Mou, Xiaoyang; Hu, Xiao

    2016-01-01

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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Controlling silk fibroin particle features for drug delivery

    PubMed Central

    Lammel, Andreas; Hu, Xiao; Park, Sang-Hyug; Kaplan, David L.; Scheibel, Thomas

    2010-01-01

    Silk proteins are a promising material for drug delivery due to their aqueous processability, biocompatibility, and biodegradability. A simple aqueous preparation method for silk fibroin particles with controllable size, secondary structure and zeta potential is reported. The particles were produced by salting out a silk fibroin solution with potassium phosphate. The effect of ionic strength and pH of potassium phosphate solution on the yield and morphology of the particles was determined. Secondary structure and zeta potential of the silk particles could be controlled by pH. Particles produced by salting out with 1.25 M potassium phosphate pH 6 showed a dominating silk II (crystalline) structure whereas particles produced at pH 9 were mainly composed of silk I (less crystalline). The results show that silk I rich particles possess chemical and physical stability and secondary structure which remained unchanged during post treatments even upon exposure to 100% ethanol or methanol. A model is presented to explain the process of particle formation based on intra- and intermolecular interactions of the silk domains, influenced by pH and kosmotrope salts. The reported silk fibroin particles can be loaded with small molecule model drugs, such as alcian blue, rhodamine B, and crystal violet, by simple absorption based on electrostatic interactions. In vitro release of these compounds from the silk particles depends on charge – charge interactions between the compounds and the silk. With crystal violet we demonstrated that the release kinetics are dependent on the secondary structure of the particles. PMID:20219241

  1. The Thr- and Ala-rich hyperactive antifreeze protein from inchworm folds as a flat silk-like β-helix.

    PubMed

    Lin, Feng-Hsu; Davies, Peter L; Graham, Laurie A

    2011-05-31

    Inchworm larvae of the pale beauty geometer moth, Campaea perlata, exhibit strong (6.4 °C) freezing point depression activity, indicating the presence of hyperactive antifreeze proteins (AFPs). We have purified two novel Thr- and Ala-rich AFPs from the larvae as small (∼3.5 kDa) and large (∼8.3 kDa) variants and have cloned the cDNA sequences encoding both. They have no homology to known sequences in current BLAST databases. However, these proteins and the newly characterized AFP from the Rhagium inquisitor beetle both contain stretches rich in alternating Thr and Ala residues. On the basis of these repeats, as well as the discontinuities between them, a detailed structural model is proposed for the 8.3 kDa variant. This 88-residue protein is organized into an extended parallel-stranded β-helix with seven strands connected by classic β-turns. The alternating β-strands form two β-sheets with a thin core composed of interdigitating Ala and Ser residues, similar to the thin hydrophobic core proposed for some silks. The putative ice-binding face of the protein has a 4 × 5 regular array of Thr residues and is remarkably flat. In this regard, it resembles the nonhomologous Thr-rich AFPs from other moths and some beetles, which contain two longer rows of Thr in contrast to the five shorter rows in the inchworm protein. Like that of some other hyperactive AFPs, the spacing between these ice-binding Thr residues is a close match to the spacing of oxygen atoms on several planes of ice. PMID:21486083

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. High-Q silk fibroin whispering gallery microresonator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-09-01

    We have experimentally demonstrated an on-chip all-silk fibroin whispering gallery mode microresonator by using a simple molding and solution-casting technique. The quality factors of the fabricated silk protein microresonators are up to 10^5. A high-sensitivity thermal sensor was realized in this silk fibroin microtoroid with sensitivity of 1.17 nm/K, 8 times higher than previous WGM resonator based thermal sensors. This opens the way to fabricate biodegradable and biocompatible protein based microresonators on a flexible chip for biophotonics applications.

  8. High-Q silk fibroin whispering gallery microresonator.

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-01

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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Porous nitrogen-doped carbon derived from silk fibroin protein encapsulating sulfur as a superior cathode material for high-performance lithium-sulfur batteries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Jiawei; Cai, Yurong; Zhong, Qiwei; Lai, Dongzhi; Yao, Juming

    2015-10-01

    The features of a carbon substrate are crucial for the electrochemical performance of lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries. Nitrogen doping of carbon materials is assumed to play an important role in sulfur immobilisation. In this study, natural silk fibroin protein is used as a precursor of nitrogen-rich carbon to fabricate a novel, porous, nitrogen-doped carbon material through facile carbonisation and activation. Porous carbon, with a reversible capacity of 815 mA h g-1 at 0.2 C after 60 cycles, serves as the cathode material in Li-S batteries. Porous carbon retains a reversible capacity of 567 mA h g-1, which corresponds to a capacity retention of 98% at 1 C after 200 cycles. The promising electrochemical performance of porous carbon is attributed to its mesoporous structure, high specific surface area and nitrogen doping into the carbon skeleton. This study provides a general strategy to synthesise nitrogen-doped carbons with a high specific surface area, which is crucial to improve the energy density and electrochemical performance of Li-S batteries.

  16. Evaluation of an injectable silk fibroin enhanced calcium phosphate cement loaded with human recombinant bone morphogenetic protein-2 in ovine lumbar interbody fusion.

    PubMed

    Gu, Yong; Chen, Liang; Yang, Hui-Lin; Luo, Zong-Ping; Tang, Tian-Si

    2011-05-01

    The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of an injectable calcium phosphate cement/silk fibroin/human recombinant bone morphogenetic protein-2 composite (CPC/SF/rhBMP-2) in an ovine interbody fusion model. Twenty-four mature sheep underwent anterior lumbar interbody fusion at the levels of L1/2, L3/4, and L5/6 with random implantation of CPC/SF, CPC/rhBMP-2, CPC/SF/rhBMP-2, or autogenous iliac bone. After the sheep were sacrificed, the fusion segments were evaluated by manual palpation, CT scan, undestructive biomechanical testing, undecalcified histology, and histomorphology. The fusion rates of CPC/SF/rhBMP-2 were 55.56% and 77.78% at 6 and 12 months, respectively. The fusion was superior to all the biomaterial grafts in stiffness, and reached the same stiffness as the autograft at 12 months. The new bone formation was less than autograft at 6 months, but similar with that at 12 months. However, the ceramic residue volume of CPC/SF/rhBMP-2 was significantly decreased compared with CPC/SF and CPC/rhBMP-2 at both times. The results indicated that CPC/SF/rhBMP-2 composite had excellent osteoconduction and osteoinduction, and balanced degradation and osteogenesis.

  17. 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. PMID:24825592

  18. Porous nitrogen-doped carbon derived from silk fibroin protein encapsulating sulfur as a superior cathode material for high-performance lithium-sulfur batteries.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jiawei; Cai, Yurong; Zhong, Qiwei; Lai, Dongzhi; Yao, Juming

    2015-11-14

    The features of a carbon substrate are crucial for the electrochemical performance of lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries. Nitrogen doping of carbon materials is assumed to play an important role in sulfur immobilisation. In this study, natural silk fibroin protein is used as a precursor of nitrogen-rich carbon to fabricate a novel, porous, nitrogen-doped carbon material through facile carbonisation and activation. Porous carbon, with a reversible capacity of 815 mA h g(-1) at 0.2 C after 60 cycles, serves as the cathode material in Li-S batteries. Porous carbon retains a reversible capacity of 567 mA h g(-1), which corresponds to a capacity retention of 98% at 1 C after 200 cycles. The promising electrochemical performance of porous carbon is attributed to its mesoporous structure, high specific surface area and nitrogen doping into the carbon skeleton. This study provides a general strategy to synthesise nitrogen-doped carbons with a high specific surface area, which is crucial to improve the energy density and electrochemical performance of Li-S batteries.

  19. 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.

  20. Segmented nanofibers of spider dragline silk: atomic force microscopy and single-molecule force spectroscopy.

    PubMed

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

    2002-04-30

    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.

  1. 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. PMID:24610728

  2. Effect of Sequence Features on Assembly of Spider Silk Block Copolymers

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:24613991

  3. Unravelling the biodiversity of nanoscale signatures of spider silk fibres.

    PubMed

    Silva, Luciano P; Rech, Elibio L

    2013-01-01

    Living organisms are masters at designing outstanding self-assembled nanostructures through a hierarchical organization of modular proteins. Protein-based biopolymers improved and selected by the driving forces of molecular evolution are among the most impressive archetypes of nanomaterials. One of these biomacromolecules is the myriad of compound fibroins of spider silks, which combine surprisingly high tensile strength with great elasticity. However, no consensus on the nano-organization of spider silk fibres has been reached. Here we explore the biodiversity of spider silk fibres, focusing on nanoscale characterization with high-resolution atomic force microscopy. Our results reveal an evolution of the nanoroughness, nanostiffness, nanoviscoelastic, nanotribological and nanoelectric organization of microfibres, even when they share similar sizes and shapes. These features are related to unique aspects of their molecular structures. The results show that combined nanoscale analyses of spider silks may enable the screening of appropriate motifs for bioengineering synthetic fibres from recombinant proteins. PMID:24345771

  4. Unravelling the biodiversity of nanoscale signatures of spider silk fibres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silva, Luciano P.; Rech, Elibio L.

    2013-12-01

    Living organisms are masters at designing outstanding self-assembled nanostructures through a hierarchical organization of modular proteins. Protein-based biopolymers improved and selected by the driving forces of molecular evolution are among the most impressive archetypes of nanomaterials. One of these biomacromolecules is the myriad of compound fibroins of spider silks, which combine surprisingly high tensile strength with great elasticity. However, no consensus on the nano-organization of spider silk fibres has been reached. Here we explore the biodiversity of spider silk fibres, focusing on nanoscale characterization with high-resolution atomic force microscopy. Our results reveal an evolution of the nanoroughness, nanostiffness, nanoviscoelastic, nanotribological and nanoelectric organization of microfibres, even when they share similar sizes and shapes. These features are related to unique aspects of their molecular structures. The results show that combined nanoscale analyses of spider silks may enable the screening of appropriate motifs for bioengineering synthetic fibres from recombinant proteins.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Spider silk: understanding the structure-function relationship of a natural fiber.

    PubMed

    Humenik, Martin; Scheibel, Thomas; Smith, Andrew

    2011-01-01

    Spider silk is of great interest because of its extraordinary physical properties, such as strength and toughness. Here we discuss how these physical properties relate to the way in which spiders have utilized this material in prey capture, forcing its evolution to a high-performance fiber. Female spiders can produce up to seven different types of silk, and all these have different physical properties, which relate to their various functions. The variation in properties are due to underlying differences in the proteins making up these silks. As our understanding of spider silk has increased in the recent years, it has been possible to produce recombinant versions of the respective proteins. Recombinant proteins open up the potential to produce synthetic silk fibers with properties similar to those of the natural spider silk threads. PMID:21999996

  10. Modulation of Bone-Specific Tissue Regeneration by Incorporating Bone Morphogenetic Protein and Controlling the Shell Thickness of Silk Fibroin/Chitosan/Nanohydroxyapatite Core-Shell Nanofibrous Membranes.

    PubMed

    Shalumon, K T; Lai, Guo-Jyun; Chen, Chih-Hao; Chen, Jyh-Ping

    2015-09-30

    The presence of both osteoconductive and osteoinductive factors is important in promoting stem cell differentiation toward the osteogenic lineage. In this study, we prepared silk fibroin/chitosan/nanohydroxyapatite/bone morphogenetic protein-2 (SF/CS/nHAP/BMP-2, SCHB2) nanofibrous membranes (NFMs) by incorporating BMP-2 in the core and SF/CS/nHAP as the shell layer of a nanofiber with two different shell thicknesses (SCHB2-thick and SCHB-thin). The physicochemical properties of SCHB2 membranes were characterized and compared with those of SF/CS and SF/CS/nHAP NFMs. When tested in release studies, the release rate of BMP-2 and the concentration of BMP-2 in the release medium were higher for SCHB2-thin NFMs because of reduced shell thickness. The BMP-2 released from the nanofiber retained its osteoinductive activity toward human-bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). Compared with SF/CS and SF/CS/nHAP NFMs, the incorporation of BMP-2-promoted osteogenic differentiation of hMSCs and the SCHB-thin NFM is the best scaffold during in vitro cell culture. Gene expression analysis by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction detected the evolution of both early and late marker genes of bone formation. The relative mRNA expression is in accordance with the effect of BMP-2 incorporation and shell thickness, while the same was reconfirmed through the quantification of bone marker protein osteocalcin. In vivo experiments were carried out by subcutaneously implanting hMSC-seeded SCHB2-thin NFMs and acellular controls on the back sides of nude mice. Immunohistochemical and histological staining confirmed ectopic bone formation and osteogenesis of hMSCs in SCHB2-thin NFMs. In conclusion, the SCHB2-thin NFM could be suggested as a promising scaffold for bone tissue engineering. PMID:26355766

  11. Development of an enzyme-linked-immunosorbent-assay technique for accurate identification of poorly preserved silks unearthed in ancient tombs.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Qin; Wu, Xiaofeng; Zheng, Hailing; Zhou, Yang

    2015-05-01

    We report the preparation of a specific fibroin antibody and its use for the identification of unearthed ancient silk relics. Based on the 12-amino-acid repeat sequence "GAGAGSGAGAGS", which is found in fibroin of the silkworm Bombyx mori, a specific antibody against fibroin was prepared in rabbits through peptide synthesis and carrier-protein coupling. This antibody was highly specific for fibroin found in silk. Using this antibody we have successfully identified four silk samples from different time periods. Our results reveal, for the first time, a method capable of detecting silk from a few milligrams of archaeological fabric that has been buried for thousands of years, confirming that the ancient practice of wearing silk products while praying for rebirth dated back to at least 400 BCE. This method also complements current approaches in silk detection, especially for the characterization of poorly preserved silks, promoting the investigation of silk origins and of ancient clothing cultures.

  12. Development of an enzyme-linked-immunosorbent-assay technique for accurate identification of poorly preserved silks unearthed in ancient tombs.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Qin; Wu, Xiaofeng; Zheng, Hailing; Zhou, Yang

    2015-05-01

    We report the preparation of a specific fibroin antibody and its use for the identification of unearthed ancient silk relics. Based on the 12-amino-acid repeat sequence "GAGAGSGAGAGS", which is found in fibroin of the silkworm Bombyx mori, a specific antibody against fibroin was prepared in rabbits through peptide synthesis and carrier-protein coupling. This antibody was highly specific for fibroin found in silk. Using this antibody we have successfully identified four silk samples from different time periods. Our results reveal, for the first time, a method capable of detecting silk from a few milligrams of archaeological fabric that has been buried for thousands of years, confirming that the ancient practice of wearing silk products while praying for rebirth dated back to at least 400 BCE. This method also complements current approaches in silk detection, especially for the characterization of poorly preserved silks, promoting the investigation of silk origins and of ancient clothing cultures. PMID:25804731

  13. Proteomic Analysis of Silk Viability in Maize Inbred Lines and Their Corresponding Hybrids

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yafei; Zhao, Xiaofeng; Zhang, Fangfang; Tang, Jihua; Fu, Zhiyuan

    2015-01-01

    A long period of silk viability is critical for a good seed setting rate in maize (Zea mays L.), especially for inbred lines and hybrids with a long interval between anthesis and silking. To explore the molecular mechanism of silk viability and its heterosis, three inbred lines with different silk viability characteristics (Xun928, Lx9801, and Zong3) and their two hybrids (Xun928×Zong3 and Lx9801×Zong3) were analyzed at different developmental stages by a proteomic method. The differentially accumulated proteins were identified by mass spectrometry and classified into metabolism, protein biosynthesis and folding, signal transduction and hormone homeostasis, stress and defense responses, and cellular processes. Proteins involved in nutrient (methionine) and energy (ATP) supply, which support the pollen tube growth in the silk, were important for silk viability and its heterosis. The additive and dominant effects at a single locus, as well as complex epistatic interactions at two or more loci in metabolic pathways, were the primary contributors for mid-parent heterosis of silk viability. Additionally, the proteins involved in the metabolism of anthocyanins, which indirectly negatively regulate local hormone accumulation, were also important for the mid-parent heterosis of silk viability. These results also might imply the developmental dependence of heterosis, because many of the differentially accumulated proteins made distinct contributions to the heterosis of silk viability at specific developmental stages. PMID:26630375

  14. Piriform Spider Silk Sequences Reveal Unique Repetitive Elements

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    Orb-weaving spider silk fibers are assembled from very large, highly repetitive proteins. The repeated segments contain, in turn, short, simple 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 to 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 messenger RNA is larger than 11kb 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 pirifom sequences form an ortholog group. PMID:20954740

  15. Piriform spider silk sequences reveal unique repetitive elements.

    PubMed

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

    2010-11-01

    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.

  16. Evidence for antimicrobial activity associated with common house spider silk

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Spider silk is one of the most versatile materials in nature with great strength and flexibility. Native and synthetically produced silk has been used in a wide range of applications including the construction of artificial tendons and as substrates for human cell growth. In the literature there are anecdotal reports that suggest that native spider silk may also have antimicrobial properties. Findings In this study we compared the growth of a Gram positive and a Gram negative bacterium in the presence and absence of silk produced by the common house spider Tegenaria domestica. We demonstrate that native web silk of Tegenaria domestica can inhibit the growth of the Gram positive bacterium, Bacillus subtilis. No significant inhibition of growth was detected against the Gram negative bacterium, Escherichia coli. The antimicrobial effect against B. subtilis appears to be short lived thus the active agent potentially acts in a bacteriostatic rather than bactericidal manner. Treatment of the silk with Proteinase K appears to reduce the ability to inhibit bacterial growth. This is consistent with the active agent including a protein element that is denatured or cleaved by treatment. Tegenaria silk does not appear to inhibit the growth of mammalian cells in vitro thus there is the potential for therapeutic applications. PMID:22731829

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-05-06

    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.

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  20. Innovative multifunctional silk fibroin and hydrotalcite nanocomposites: a synergic effect of the components.

    PubMed

    Posati, Tamara; Benfenati, Valentina; Sagnella, Anna; Pistone, Assunta; Nocchetti, Morena; Donnadio, Anna; Ruani, Giampiero; Zamboni, Roberto; Muccini, Michele

    2014-01-13

    Novel hybrid functional materials are formed by combining hydrotalcite-like compounds and silk fibroin (SF-HTlc) via an environmental friendly aqueous process. The nanocomposites can be prepared with different weight ratio of the constituting components and preserve the conformational properties of the silk protein and the lamellar structure of hydrotalcites. Optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy analyses show a good dispersion degree of the inorganic nanoparticles into the organic silk matrix. A mutual benefit on the stability of both organic and inorganic components was observed in the nanocomposites. SF-HTlc displayed limited dissolution of hydrotalcite in acidic medium, enhanced mechanical properties, and higher protease resistance of silk protein. The transparency, flexibility, and acidic environment resistance of silk fibroin combined to the protective and reinforcing properties of hydrotalcites generate a hybrid material, which is very attractive for applications in recently reported silk based opto-electronic and photonics technologies. PMID:24313841

  1. 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.

  2. Evolution of supercontraction in spider silk: structure-function relationship from tarantulas to orb-weavers.

    PubMed

    Boutry, Cecilia; Blackledge, Todd Alan

    2010-10-15

    Spider silk is a promising biomaterial with impressive performance. However, some spider silks also 'supercontract' when exposed to water, shrinking by up to ∼50% in length. Supercontraction may provide a critical mechanism to tailor silk properties, both for future synthetic silk production and by the spiders themselves. Several hypotheses are proposed for the mechanism and function of supercontraction, but they remain largely untested. In particular, supercontraction may result from a rearrangement of the GPGXX motif within the silk proteins, where G represents glycine, P proline and X is one of a small subset of amino acids. Supercontraction may prevent sagging in wet orb-webs or allow spiders to tailor silk properties for different ecological functions. Because both the molecular structures of silk proteins and how dragline is used in webs differ among species, we can test these hypotheses by comparing supercontraction of silk across diverse spider taxa. In this study we measured supercontraction in 28 spider taxa, ranging from tarantulas to orb-weaving spiders. We found that silk from all species supercontracted, except that of most tarantulas. This suggests that supercontraction evolved at least with the origin of the Araneomorphae, over 200 million years ago. We found differences in the pattern of evolution for two components of supercontraction. Stress generated during supercontraction of a restrained fiber is not associated with changes in silk structure and web architecture. By contrast, the shrink of unrestrained supercontracting fibers is higher for Orbiculariae spiders, whose silk contains high ratios of GPGXX motifs. These results support the hypothesis that supercontraction is caused by a rearrangement of GPGXX motifs in silk, and that it functions to tailor silk material properties.

  3. Evolution of supercontraction in spider silk: structure-function relationship from tarantulas to orb-weavers.

    PubMed

    Boutry, Cecilia; Blackledge, Todd Alan

    2010-10-15

    Spider silk is a promising biomaterial with impressive performance. However, some spider silks also 'supercontract' when exposed to water, shrinking by up to ∼50% in length. Supercontraction may provide a critical mechanism to tailor silk properties, both for future synthetic silk production and by the spiders themselves. Several hypotheses are proposed for the mechanism and function of supercontraction, but they remain largely untested. In particular, supercontraction may result from a rearrangement of the GPGXX motif within the silk proteins, where G represents glycine, P proline and X is one of a small subset of amino acids. Supercontraction may prevent sagging in wet orb-webs or allow spiders to tailor silk properties for different ecological functions. Because both the molecular structures of silk proteins and how dragline is used in webs differ among species, we can test these hypotheses by comparing supercontraction of silk across diverse spider taxa. In this study we measured supercontraction in 28 spider taxa, ranging from tarantulas to orb-weaving spiders. We found that silk from all species supercontracted, except that of most tarantulas. This suggests that supercontraction evolved at least with the origin of the Araneomorphae, over 200 million years ago. We found differences in the pattern of evolution for two components of supercontraction. Stress generated during supercontraction of a restrained fiber is not associated with changes in silk structure and web architecture. By contrast, the shrink of unrestrained supercontracting fibers is higher for Orbiculariae spiders, whose silk contains high ratios of GPGXX motifs. These results support the hypothesis that supercontraction is caused by a rearrangement of GPGXX motifs in silk, and that it functions to tailor silk material properties. PMID:20889831

  4. Electrospinning Bombyx mori silk with poly(ethylene oxide).

    PubMed

    Jin, Hyoung-Joon; Fridrikh, Sergey V; Rutledge, Gregory C; Kaplan, David L

    2002-01-01

    Electrospinning for the formation of nanoscale diameter fibers has been explored for high-performance filters and biomaterial scaffolds for vascular grafts or wound dressings. Fibers with nanoscale diameters provide benefits due to high surface area. In the present study we explore electrospinning for protein-based biomaterials to fabricate scaffolds and membranes from regenerated silkworm silk, Bombyx mori, solutions. To improve processability of the protein solution, poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) with molecular weight of 900,000 was blended with the silk fibroin. A variety of compositions of the silk/PEO aqueous blends were successfully electrospun. The morphology of the fibers was characterized using high-resolution scanning electron microscopy. Fiber diameters were uniform and less than 800 nm. The composition was estimated by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to characterize silk/PEO surface content. Aqueous-based electrospining of silk and silk/PEO blends provides potentially useful options for the fabrication of biomaterial scaffolds based on this unique fibrous protein.

  5. The elaborate structure of spider silk: structure and function of a natural high performance fiber.

    PubMed

    Römer, Lin; Scheibel, Thomas

    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. 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. PMID:24607851

  7. Hierarchical Chain Model of Spider Capture Silk Elasticity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhou, Haijun; Zhang, Yang

    2005-01-01

    Spider capture silk is a biomaterial with both high strength and high elasticity, but the structural design principle underlying these remarkable properties is still unknown. It was revealed recently by atomic force microscopy that an exponential force-extension relationship holds both for capture silk mesostructures and for intact capture silk fibers [N. Becker et al.,

    Nat. Mater. 2, 278 (2003)1476-1122
    ]. In this Letter a simple hierarchical chain model was proposed to understand and reproduce this striking observation. In the hierarchical chain model, a polymer is composed of many structural motifs which organize into structural modules and supramodules in a hierarchical manner. Each module in this hierarchy has its own characteristic force. The repetitive patterns in the amino-acid sequence of the major flagelliform protein of spider capture silk is in support of this model.

  8. Silk genes support the single origin of orb webs.

    PubMed

    Garb, Jessica E; Dimauro, Teresa; Vo, Victoria; Hayashi, Cheryl Y

    2006-06-23

    The orb web is a spectacular evolutionary innovation that enables spiders to catch flying prey. This elegant, geometric structure is woven with silk fibers that are renowned for their superior mechanical properties. We used silk gland expression libraries to address a long-standing controversy concerning the evolution of the orb-web architecture. Contrary to the view that the orb-web design evolved multiple times, we found that the distribution and phylogeny of silk proteins support a single, ancient origin of the orb web at least 136 million years ago. Furthermore, we substantially expanded the repository of silk sequences that can be used for the synthesis of high-performance biomaterials. PMID:16794073

  9. Evidence from flagelliform silk cDNA for the structural basis of elasticity and modular nature of spider silks.

    PubMed

    Hayashi, C Y; Lewis, R V

    1998-02-01

    Orb-web weaving spiders rely on their aerial nets to entrap flying prey. A key mechanical feature of orb-web design is the high elasticity of the capture spiral. We report the cloning of substantial cDNA for flagelliform gland silk protein, which forms the core fiber of the catching spiral. Like all silks, the flagelliform protein is composed largely of iterated sequences. The dominant repeat of this protein is Gly-Pro-Gly-Gly-X, which can appear up to 63 times in tandem arrays. This motif likely forms Pro2-Gly3 type II beta-turns and the resulting series of concatenated beta-turns are thought to form a beta-spiral. We propose that this spring-like helix is the basis for the elasticity of silk. The variable fifth position of the motif (X) is occupied by a small subset of residues (Ala, Ser, Tyr, Val). Moreover, these X amino acids occur in specific patterns throughout the repeats. This ordered variation strongly suggests that with hydration, the beta-spirals form hydrogen-bonded networks that increase the elasticity of flagelliform silk. The self-assembly of flagelliform protein monomers into silk fibers may be promoted by beta-spiral/beta-spiral interactions. Additionally, the other two motifs in the flagelliform protein, Gly-Gly-X and a spacer that disrupts the glycine-rich regions, may contribute to the alignment of monomers into fibers. The flagelliform protein cDNA was compared to the other members of the spider silk gene family. We show that all spider silk proteins can be characterized as sets of shared structural modules. The occurrence of these modules among the proteins is inconsistent with the phylogenetic relationships inferred from the C-terminal regions. This observation, along with the high level of variation among individual flagelliform protein repeats, but striking lack of such variation in the other silk proteins, suggests that unusual homogenization processes are involved in silk protein evolution. PMID:9480768

  10. Evidence from flagelliform silk cDNA for the structural basis of elasticity and modular nature of spider silks.

    PubMed

    Hayashi, C Y; Lewis, R V

    1998-02-01

    Orb-web weaving spiders rely on their aerial nets to entrap flying prey. A key mechanical feature of orb-web design is the high elasticity of the capture spiral. We report the cloning of substantial cDNA for flagelliform gland silk protein, which forms the core fiber of the catching spiral. Like all silks, the flagelliform protein is composed largely of iterated sequences. The dominant repeat of this protein is Gly-Pro-Gly-Gly-X, which can appear up to 63 times in tandem arrays. This motif likely forms Pro2-Gly3 type II beta-turns and the resulting series of concatenated beta-turns are thought to form a beta-spiral. We propose that this spring-like helix is the basis for the elasticity of silk. The variable fifth position of the motif (X) is occupied by a small subset of residues (Ala, Ser, Tyr, Val). Moreover, these X amino acids occur in specific patterns throughout the repeats. This ordered variation strongly suggests that with hydration, the beta-spirals form hydrogen-bonded networks that increase the elasticity of flagelliform silk. The self-assembly of flagelliform protein monomers into silk fibers may be promoted by beta-spiral/beta-spiral interactions. Additionally, the other two motifs in the flagelliform protein, Gly-Gly-X and a spacer that disrupts the glycine-rich regions, may contribute to the alignment of monomers into fibers. The flagelliform protein cDNA was compared to the other members of the spider silk gene family. We show that all spider silk proteins can be characterized as sets of shared structural modules. The occurrence of these modules among the proteins is inconsistent with the phylogenetic relationships inferred from the C-terminal regions. This observation, along with the high level of variation among individual flagelliform protein repeats, but striking lack of such variation in the other silk proteins, suggests that unusual homogenization processes are involved in silk protein evolution.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Scrutinizing the datasets obtained from nanoscale features of spider silk fibres

    PubMed Central

    Silva, Luciano P; Rech, Elibio L

    2014-01-01

    Spider silk fibres share unprecedented structural and mechanical properties which span from the macroscale to nanoscale and beyond. This is possible due to the molecular features of modular proteins termed spidroins. Thus, the investigation of the organizational scaffolds observed for spidroins in spider silk fibres is of paramount importance for reverse bioengineering. This dataset consists in describing a rational screening procedure to identify the nanoscale features of spider silk fibres. Using atomic force microscopy operated in multiple acquisition modes, we evaluated silk fibres from nine spider species. Here we present the complete results of the analyses and decrypted a number of novel features that could even rank the silk fibres according to desired mechanostructural features. This dataset will allow other researchers to select the most appropriate models for synthetic biology and also lead to better understanding of spider silk fibres extraordinary performance that is comparable to the best manmade materials. PMID:25977795

  15. Scrutinizing the datasets obtained from nanoscale features of spider silk fibres.

    PubMed

    Silva, Luciano P; Rech, Elibio L

    2014-01-01

    Spider silk fibres share unprecedented structural and mechanical properties which span from the macroscale to nanoscale and beyond. This is possible due to the molecular features of modular proteins termed spidroins. Thus, the investigation of the organizational scaffolds observed for spidroins in spider silk fibres is of paramount importance for reverse bioengineering. This dataset consists in describing a rational screening procedure to identify the nanoscale features of spider silk fibres. Using atomic force microscopy operated in multiple acquisition modes, we evaluated silk fibres from nine spider species. Here we present the complete results of the analyses and decrypted a number of novel features that could even rank the silk fibres according to desired mechanostructural features. This dataset will allow other researchers to select the most appropriate models for synthetic biology and also lead to better understanding of spider silk fibres extraordinary performance that is comparable to the best manmade materials. PMID:25977795

  16. 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.

  17. Functional silk: colored and luminescent.

    PubMed

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

    2012-03-15

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

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 1H, 13C and 15N NMR assignments of the aciniform spidroin (AcSp1) repetitive domain of Argiope trifasciata wrapping silk.

    PubMed

    Xu, Lingling; Tremblay, Marie-Laurence; Meng, Qing; Liu, Xiang-Qin; Rainey, Jan K

    2012-10-01

    Spider silk is one of nature's most remarkable biomaterials due to extraordinary strength and toughness not found in today's synthetic materials. Of the seven types of silk, wrapping silk (AcSp1) is the most extensible of the types of silks and has no sequence similarity to the other types. Here we report the chemical shifts for the AcSp1 199 amino acid protein repeat unit and its anticipated secondary structure based on secondary chemical shifts. PMID:21989955

  3. Production of scFv-Conjugated Affinity Silk Powder by Transgenic Silkworm Technology

    PubMed Central

    Sato, Mitsuru; Kojima, Katsura; Sakuma, Chisato; Murakami, Maria; Aratani, Eriko; Takenouchi, Takato; Tamada, Yasushi; Kitani, Hiroshi

    2012-01-01

    Bombyx mori (silkworm) silk proteins are being utilized as unique biomaterials for medical applications. Chemical modification or post-conjugation of bioactive ligands expand the applicability of silk proteins; however, the processes are elaborate and costly. In this study, we used transgenic silkworm technology to develop single-chain variable fragment (scFv)-conjugated silk fibroin. The cocoons of the transgenic silkworm contain fibroin L-chain linked with scFv as a fusion protein. After dissolving the cocoons in lithium bromide, the silk solution was dialyzed, concentrated, freeze-dried, and crushed into powder. Immunoprecipitation analyses demonstrate that the scFv domain retains its specific binding activity to the target molecule after multiple processing steps. These results strongly suggest the promise of scFv-conjugated silk fibroin as an alternative affinity reagent, which can be manufactured using transgenic silkworm technology at lower cost than traditional affinity carriers. PMID:22496833

  4. 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

  5. Spider silk reduces insect herbivory.

    PubMed

    Rypstra, Ann L; Buddle, Christopher M

    2013-02-23

    The role of predators in food webs extends beyond their ability to kill and consume prey. Such trait-mediated effects occur when signals of the predator influence the behaviour of other animals. Because all spiders are silk-producing carnivores, we hypothesized that silk alone would signal other arthropods and enhance non-lethal effects of spiders. We quantified the herbivory inflicted by two beetle species on green bean plants (Phaseolus vulgaris) in the presence of silkworm silk and spider silk along with no silk controls. Single leaflets were treated and enclosed with herbivores in the laboratory and field. Another set of leaflets were treated and left to experience natural herbivory in the field. Entire plants in the field were treated with silk and enclosed with herbivores or left exposed to herbivory. In all cases, the lowest levels of herbivory occurred with spider silk treatments and, in general, silkworm silk produced intermediate levels of leaf damage. These results suggest that silk may be a mechanism for the trait-mediated impacts of spiders and that it might contribute to integrated pest management programmes.

  6. 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. PMID:22020792

  7. 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.

  8. Bimorph Silk Microsheets with Programmable Actuating Behavior: Experimental Analysis and Computer Simulations.

    PubMed

    Ye, Chunhong; Nikolov, Svetoslav V; Geryak, Ren D; Calabrese, Rossella; Ankner, John F; Alexeev, Alexander; Kaplan, David L; Tsukruk, Vladimir V

    2016-07-13

    Microscaled self-rolling construct sheets from silk protein material have been fabricated, containing a silk bimorph composed of silk ionomers as an active layer and cross-linked silk β-sheet as the passive layer. The programmable morphology was experimentally explored along with a computational simulation to understand the mechanism of shape reconfiguration. The neutron reflectivity shows that the active silk ionomers layer undergoes remarkable swelling (eight times increase in thickness) after deprotonation while the passive silk β-sheet retains constant volume under the same conditions and supports the bimorph construct. This selective swelling within the silk-on-silk bimorph microsheets generates strong interfacial stress between layers and out-of-plane forces, which trigger autonomous self-rolling into various 3D constructs such as cylindrical and helical tubules. The experimental observations and computational modeling confirmed the role of interfacial stresses and allow programming the morphology of the 3D constructs with particular design. We demonstrated that the biaxial stress distribution over the 2D planar films depends upon the lateral dimensions, thickness and the aspect ratio of the microsheets. The results allow the fine-tuning of autonomous shape transformations for the further design of complex micro-origami constructs and the silk based rolling/unrolling structures provide a promising platform for polymer-based biomimetic devices for implant applications. PMID:27308946

  9. 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

  10. Silk Microgels Formed by Proteolytic Enzyme Activity

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  11. 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

  12. Silk microgels formed by proteolytic enzyme activity.

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

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

  13. Nanoconfinement of spider silk fibrils begets superior strength, extensibility, and toughness.

    PubMed

    Giesa, Tristan; Arslan, Melis; Pugno, Nicola M; Buehler, Markus J

    2011-11-01

    Silk is an exceptionally strong, extensible, and tough material made from simple protein building blocks. The molecular structure of dragline spider silk repeat units consists of semiamorphous and nanocrystalline β-sheet protein domains. Here we show by a series of computational experiments how the nanoscale properties of silk repeat units are scaled up to create macroscopic silk fibers with outstanding mechanical properties despite the presence of cavities, tears, and cracks. We demonstrate that the geometric confinement of silk fibrils to diameters of 50 ± 30 nm is critical to facilitate a powerful mechanism by which hundreds of thousands of protein domains synergistically resist deformation and failure to provide enhanced strength, extensibility, and toughness at the macroscale, closely matching experimentally measured mechanical properties. Through this mechanism silk fibers exploit the full potential of the nanoscale building blocks, regardless of the details of microscopic loading conditions and despite the presence of large defects. Experimental results confirm that silk fibers are composed of silk fibril bundles with diameters in the range of 20-150 nm, in agreement with our predicted length scale. Our study reveals a general mechanism to map nanoscale properties to the macroscale and provides a potent design strategy toward novel fiber and bulk nanomaterials through hierarchical structures. PMID:21967633

  14. Silk-based blood stabilization for diagnostics.

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-24

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

  15. 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...

  16. 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.

  17. Synthetic spider silk production on a laboratory scale.

    PubMed

    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

  18. 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.

  19. Potential of non-mulberry silk protein fibroin blended and grafted poly(Є-caprolactone) nanofibrous matrices for in vivo bone regeneration.

    PubMed

    Bhattacharjee, Promita; Naskar, Deboki; Maiti, Tapas K; Bhattacharya, Debasis; Das, Piyali; Nandi, Samit Kumar; Kundu, Subhas C

    2016-07-01

    An in vivo investigation is conducted to evaluate effectiveness of poly(Є-caprolactone) (PCL) nanofibrous matrices, with non-mulberry silk fibroin (NSF) (from Antheraea mylitta) inclusion, for bone tissue engineering. Inclusion is achieved by either blending NSF with PCL prior to electrospinning substrates or by grafting NSF onto electrospun PCL substrates. Proceeding from our previous in vitro results, showing that NSF grafted matrices have an edge when it comes to aiding cellular adhesion and proliferation, animal trials using rabbits are planned. As this is first in vivo trial of nanofibrous scaffolds with silk fibroin from A. mylitta, aim is to both evaluate the grafted and blended scaffolds independently and compare the method of silk fibroin introduction into the nanofibrous structures. The scaffolds are implanted at bone defect site in distal metaphysis region of the rabbits' femur. Host tissue immuno-compatibility of implants is assessed from measurements of IL-2, IL-6 and TNF-α level through 4 weeks after implantation. Barring an initial inflammatory response, IL-2, IL-6 and TNF-α levels fall back at baseline values in 2 or 4 weeks, thus confirming long term compatibility. Substantial interfacial bonding strength between grafts and host bone is evidenced from mechanical push-out test. Formation of bone tissue for both implant varieties is confirmed using histological and radiological examinations along with fluorochrome labelling and scanning electron microscopy. Significantly better bone formation is observed for NSF grafted matrices. The cumulative results from in vivo tests indicate suitability of NSF grafted PCL nanofibrous matrix as an ECM for bone repair and regrowth. PMID:27037780

  20. Nanomaterial building blocks based on spider silk-oligonucleotide conjugates.

    PubMed

    Humenik, Martin; Scheibel, Thomas

    2014-02-25

    Self-assembling protein nanofibrils are promising structures for the "bottom-up" fabrication of bionanomaterials. Here, the recombinant protein eADF4(C16), a variant of Araneus diadematus dragline silk ADF4, which self-assembles into nanofibrils, and short oligonucleotides were modified for site-specific azide-alkyne coupling. Corresponding oligonuleotide-eADF4(C16) "click" conjugates were hybridized in linear or branched fashion according to the designed complementarities of the DNA moieties. Self-assembly properties of higher ordered structures of the spider silk-DNA conjugates were dominated by the silk component. Assembled β-sheet rich conjugate fibrils were similar in appearance to fibrils of unmodified eADF4(C16) but enabled the specific attachment of neutravidin-modified gold nanoparticles on their surface directed by complementary biotin-oligonucleotides, providing the basis for functionalization of such conjugates.

  1. Sericin Composition in the Silk of Antheraea yamamai.

    PubMed

    Zurovec, Michal; Yonemura, Naoyuki; Kludkiewicz, Barbara; Sehnal, František; Kodrik, Dalibor; Vieira, Ligia Cota; Kucerova, Lucie; Strnad, Hynek; Konik, Peter; Sehadova, Hana

    2016-05-01

    The silks produced by caterpillars consist of fibroin proteins that form two core filaments, and sericin proteins that seal filaments into a fiber and conglutinate fibers in the cocoon. Sericin genes are well-known in Bombyx mori (Bombycidae) but have received little attention in other insects. This paper shows that Antheraea yamamai (Saturniidae) contains five sericin genes very different from the three sericin genes of B. mori. In spite of differences, all known sericins are characterized by short exons 1 and 2 (out of 3-12 exons), expression in the middle silk gland section, presence of repeats with high contents of Ser and charged amino acid residues, and secretion as a sticky silk component soluble in hot water. The B. mori sericins represent tentative phylogenetic lineages (I) BmSer1 and orthologs in Saturniidae, (II) BmSer2, and (III) BmSer3 and related sericins of Saturniidae and of the pyralid Galleria mellonella. The lineage (IV) seems to be limited to Saturniidae. Concerted evolution of the sericin genes was apparently associated with gene amplifications as well as gene loses. Differences in the silk fiber morphology indicate that the cocktail of sericins linking the filaments and coating the fiber is modified during spinning. Silks are composite biomaterials of conserved function in spite of great diversity of their composition. PMID:27049111

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Silk electrogel coatings for titanium dental implants.

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Cranford, Steven W

    2013-05-01

    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

  7. 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. PMID:22297972

  8. Histomorphometric and transcriptomic features characterize silk glands' development during the molt to intermolt transition process in silkworm.

    PubMed

    Hu, Wenbo; Liu, Chun; Cheng, Tingcai; Li, Wei; Wang, Niannian; Xia, Qingyou

    2016-09-01

    The molt-intermolt cycle is an essential feature in holometabolous and hemimetabolous insects' development. In the silkworm, silk glands are under dramatic morphological and functional changes with fibroin genes' transcription being repeatedly turned off and on during the molt-intermolt cycles. However, the molecular mechanisms controlling it are still unknown. Here, silk gland's histomorphology and transcriptome analysis were used to characterize changes in its structure and gene expression patterns from molt to intermolt stages. By using section staining and transmission electron microscope, a renewable cell damage was detected in the silk gland at the molt stage, and an increased number of autophagosomes and lysosomes were found in silk gland cells' cytoplasm. Next, by using RNA sequencing, 54,578,413 reads were obtained, of which 85% were mapped to the silkworm reference genome. The expression level analysis of silk protein genes and silk gland transcription factors revealed that fibroin heavy chain, fibroin light chain, P25/fhx, sericin1, sericin3 and Dimm had consistent alteration trends in temporal expression. In addition, differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified, and most of the DEGs associated with ecdysone signal transduction, mRNA degradation, protein proteolysis, and autophagy were significantly down-regulated in the transition from molt to intermolt, suggesting that these pathways were activated for the silk gland renewal. These findings provide insights into the molecular mechanisms of silk gland development and silk protein genes transcriptional regulation during the molt to intermolt transition process. PMID:27395780

  9. In situ Raman spectroscopic study of Al-infiltrated spider dragline silk under tensile deformation.

    PubMed

    Lee, Seung-Mo; Pippel, Eckhard; Moutanabbir, Oussama; Kim, Jae-Hyun; Lee, Hak-Joo; Knez, Mato

    2014-10-01

    Natural materials consisting of protein structures impregnated with a tiny amount of metals often exhibit impressive mechanical behavior, which represents a new design paradigm for the development of biomimetic materials. Here, we produced Al-infiltrated silks by applying a modified Al2O3 atomic layer deposition process to the dragline silk of the Nephila pilipes spider, which showed unusual mechanical properties. The deformation behavior of the molecular structure of the Al-infiltrated silk was investigated by performing in situ Raman spectroscopy, where Raman shifts were measured concurrently with macroscopic mechanical deformations. For identifying the role of the infiltrated Al atoms, the study was performed in parallel with untreated silk, and the results were compared. Our experimental results revealed that superior mechanical properties of the Al-infiltrated silk are likely to be caused by the alterations of the sizes of the β-sheet crystals and their distribution.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. In situ Raman spectroscopic study of Al-infiltrated spider dragline silk under tensile deformation.

    PubMed

    Lee, Seung-Mo; Pippel, Eckhard; Moutanabbir, Oussama; Kim, Jae-Hyun; Lee, Hak-Joo; Knez, Mato

    2014-10-01

    Natural materials consisting of protein structures impregnated with a tiny amount of metals often exhibit impressive mechanical behavior, which represents a new design paradigm for the development of biomimetic materials. Here, we produced Al-infiltrated silks by applying a modified Al2O3 atomic layer deposition process to the dragline silk of the Nephila pilipes spider, which showed unusual mechanical properties. The deformation behavior of the molecular structure of the Al-infiltrated silk was investigated by performing in situ Raman spectroscopy, where Raman shifts were measured concurrently with macroscopic mechanical deformations. For identifying the role of the infiltrated Al atoms, the study was performed in parallel with untreated silk, and the results were compared. Our experimental results revealed that superior mechanical properties of the Al-infiltrated silk are likely to be caused by the alterations of the sizes of the β-sheet crystals and their distribution. PMID:25203848

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-10-01

    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

  14. 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).

  15. Physical Characterization of Functionalized Silk Material for Electronic Application and Devices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steven, Eden; Jobiliong, Eric; Park, Jin Gyu; Paravastu, Anant; Davidson, Michael; Baird, Michelle; Alamo, Rufina; Kaner, Papatya; Brooks, James; Siegrist, Theo

    2012-02-01

    Naturally harvested spider silk fibers are investigated for their physical properties under ambient, humidified, iodine-doped, pyrolized, sputtered gold and carbon nanotube coated conditions. The functional properties include: humidity activated conductivity; enhanced flexibility and carbon yield of pyrolized iodized silk fibers; full metallic conductivity and flexibility of micron-sized gold-sputtered silk fibers; and high strain sensitivity of carbon nanotube coated silk fibers. Magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance (MAS-NMR) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) are used to explore the nature of ambient and functionalized spider silk fiber, and significant changes in amino acid-protein backbone signature are correlated with gold sputtering, and iodine-doped conditions. The application of gold-sputtered neat spider silk fibers for making four terminal flexible, clean, ohmic contacts to organic superconductor samples and carbon nanotube coated silk fibers for heart pulse monitoring sensor are demonstrated. The role of silk thin film in organic thin film transistor will be briefly discussed.

  16. 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

  17. Neural Responses to Electrical Stimulation on Patterned Silk Films

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Peripheral nerve injury is a critical issue for trauma patients. 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 minutes each day for 7 days. Responses were compared to 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 to the flat film groups. Axon outgrowth was greater (p < 0.05) on electronic films on day 5 and day 7 compared to the unstimulated groups. In conclusion, electrical stimulation, at 120 mV, 1 kHz, for 45 minutes daily, in addition to surface patterning, of 3.5 μm wide × 500 nm deep grooves, offered control of nerve axon outgrowth and alignment. PMID:23401351

  18. 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.

  19. Functionalized silk-based biomaterials for bone formation.

    PubMed

    Sofia, S; McCarthy, M B; Gronowicz, G; Kaplan, D L

    2001-01-01

    Silks are being reassessed as biomaterial scaffolds due to their unique mechanical properties, opportunities for genetic tailoring of structure and thus function, and recent studies clarifying biocompatibility. We report on the covalent decoration of silk films with integrin recognition sequences (RGD) as well as parathyroid hormone (PTH, 1-34 amino acids) and a modified PTH 1-34 (mPTH) involved in the induction of bone formation. Osteoblast-like cell (Saos-2) responses to the decorated silk films indicate that the proteins serve as suitable bone-inducing matrices. Osteoblast-like cell adhesion was significantly increased on RGD and PTH compared to plastic, mPTH, and the control peptide RAD. At 2 weeks of culture, message levels of alkaline phosphatase were similar on all substrates, but by 4 weeks, alkaline phosphatase mRNA was greatest on RGD. At 2 weeks of culture, alpha 1(I) procollagen mRNA was elevated on silk, RGD, RAD, and PTH, and hardly detectable on mPTH and plastic. However, by 4 weeks RGD demonstrated the highest level compared to the other substrates. Osteocalcin message levels detected by RT-PCR were greatest on RGD at both time points. Calcification was also significantly elevated on RGD compared to the other substrates with an increase in number and size of the mineralized nodules in culture. Thus, RGD covalently decorated silk appears to stimulate osteoblast-based mineralization in vitro.

  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. PMID:22352921

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-01

    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.

  2. 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. PMID:27322909

  3. Processing of β-glucosidase-silk fibroin nanoparticle bioconjugates and their characteristics.

    PubMed

    Cao, Ting-Ting; Zhou, Zhen-Zhen; Zhang, Yu-Qing

    2014-05-01

    Silk fibroin derived from Bombyx mori is a biomacromolecular protein with excellent biocompatibility. The aim of this work was to develop silk fibroin nanoparticles (SFNs) derived from the fibrous protein, which is a novel vector for enzyme modification in food processing. Silk fibroin was dissolved in highly concentrated CaCl2 and subjected to lengthy desalting in water. The resulting liquid silk, which contained water-soluble polypeptides with molecular mass ranging from 10 to 200 kDa, and β-glucosidase were added rapidly into acetone. The β-glucosidase molecules were embedded into silk fibroin nanoparticles, forming β-glucosidase-silk fibroin nanoparticles (βG-SFNs) with a diameter of 50-150 nm. The enzyme activity of the βG-SFN bioconjugates was determined with p-nitrophenyl-β-D-glucoside as the substrate, and the optimum conditions for the preparation of βG-SFNs were investigated. The enzyme activity recovery of βG-SFNs was 59.2 % compared to the free enzyme (specific activity was 1 U mg(-1)). The kinetic parameters of the βG-SFNs and the free β-glucosidase were the same. The βG-SFNs had good operational stability and could be used repeatedly. These results confirmed that silk protein nanoparticles were good carriers as bioconjugates for the modification of enzymes with potential value for research and development. The method used in this study has potential applications in food processing and the production of flavour agents. PMID:24671567

  4. Comparison of fibroin cDNAs from webspinning insects: insight into silk formation and function.

    PubMed

    Collin, Matthew A; Edgerly, Janice S; Hayashi, Cheryl Y

    2011-09-01

    Embiopterans (webspinning insects) are renowned for their prolific use of silk. These organisms spin silk to construct elaborate networks of tubes in which they live, forage, and reproduce. The silken galleries are essential for protecting these soft-bodied insects from predators and other environmental hazards. Despite the ecological importance of embiopteran silk, very little is known about its constituent proteins. Here, we characterize the silk protein cDNAs from four embiopteran species to better understand the function and evolution of these adaptive molecules. We show that webspinner fibroins (silk proteins) are highly repetitive in sequence and possess several conserved characteristics, despite differences in habitat preferences across species. The most striking similarities are in the codon usage biases of the fibroin genes, particularly in the repetitive regions, as well as sequence conservation of the carboxyl-terminal regions of the fibroins. Based on analyses of the silk genes, we propose hypotheses regarding codon bias and its effect on the translation and replication of these unusual genes. Furthermore, we discuss the significance of specific fibroin motifs to the mechanical and structural characteristics of silk fibers. Lastly, we report that the conservation of webspinner fibroin carboxyl-terminal regions suggests that fiber formation may occur through a mechanism analogous to that found in Lepidoptera. From these results, insight is gained into the tempo and mode of evolution that has shaped embiopteran fibroins.

  5. 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.

  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. Carbon nanotubes on a spider silk scaffold.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  9. Carbon nanotubes on a spider silk scaffold

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-09-01

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

  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. 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.

  12. 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. PMID:24924388

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  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. PMID:26736132

  16. 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.

  17. Silk-Based Gene Carriers with Cell Membrane-Destabilizing Peptides

    PubMed Central

    Numata, Keiji; Kaplan, David L

    2010-01-01

    Complexes of recombinant silk-polylysine molecules with ppTG1 peptide, a lysine-rich cell membrane-destabilizing peptide to bind plasmid DNA (pDNA), are designed as less-cytotoxic and highly efficient gene carriers. The peptide destabilizes the cell membrane and promotes gene transfer. Our particular interest is in how ppTG1 enhances transfection efficiency of the silk-based delivery system into human cells. Genetically engineered silk proteins containing polylysine and the monomeric and dimeric ppTG1 sequences are synthesized in Escherichia coli, followed by transfection experiments. The pDNA complexes of Silk-polylysine-ppTG1 dimer recombinant proteins prepared at an N/P 2 (the ratio of number of amines/ phosphates from pDNA) shows the highest transfection efficiency into human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells, the level of which is comparable to the transfection reagent Lipofectamine 2000. The assemblies show a globular morphology with an average hydrodynamic diameter of 99 nm and almost no beta-sheet structure. Additionally, the silk-based pDNA complexes demonstrate excellent DNase resistance as well as efficient release of the pDNA by enzymes that degrade silk proteins. Also, comparison with beta-sheet induced silk-based pDNA complexes indicates that the beta-sheet structure content of the silk sequence of the pDNA complexes controls the enzymatic degradation rate of the complexes, and hence can regulate the release profile of genes from the complexes. The bioengineered silk-based gene delivery vehicles containing cell membrane-destabilizing peptides are therefore concluded to have potential for a less-toxic and controlled-release gene delivery system. PMID:20942485

  18. Bioconjugation of silk fibroin nanoparticles with enzyme and Peptide and their characterization.

    PubMed

    Wang, Fei; Zhang, Yu-Qing

    2015-01-01

    Bombyx mori silk fibroin is a type of protein-based polymer with unique characteristics that is widely used in the research and development of medical biomaterials. The degummed filament of silk fibroin can be dissolved in a highly concentrated salt solution. After desalination, the regenerated liquid silk fibroin (LSF) solution could be made into various forms of silk biomaterials, such as powder, fiber, film, porous matrix, 3D scaffold, and hydrogel, depending on its application. In this study, we mixed the liquid silk solution with enzymes, including oxidase and hydrolase, and rapidly injected the mixture into an excess of acetone. The enzyme retained most of its enzymatic activity and was also captured in silk fibroin nanoparticles (SFNs), which instantly formed via a configuration transition of the regenerated silk protein from a random coil and α-helix to a β-sheet. The resulting enzyme-captured SFNs displayed a fine crystal structure with a high activity recovery and good thermal stability. Moreover, the affinities of these modified enzymes to their substrate did not evidently suffer from the capture. When only the liquid silk solution was rapidly injected into acetone, the resulting globular SFNs with the same crystallinity were also a good carrier that was covalently conjugated to enzymes and insulin. Thus, silk protein nanoparticles are of potential value as an enzyme or peptide delivery system for the research and development of medical biomaterials. In this report, the bioconjugation of SFNs with glucose oxidase, superoxidase, β-glucosidase, L-asparaginase, neutral protease, and insulin and their characterization are described in detail.

  19. Mechanical Response of Silk Crystalline Units from Force-Distribution Analysis

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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 β-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 β-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. PMID:19450471

  20. 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. PMID:23646825

  1. Phase behavior and hydration of silk fibroin.

    PubMed

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

    2004-01-01

    The osmotic stress method was applied to study the thermodynamics of supramolecular self-assembly phenomena in crystallizable segments of Bombyx mori silkworm silk fibroin. By 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 are crowded together to form silk I structure and then with further increase in osmotic pressure become an antiparallel beta-sheet structure, silk II. A partial ternary phase diagram of water-silk fibroin-LiBr was constructed based on the results. The results provide quantitative evidence that the silk I structure must contain water of hydration. The enhanced control over structure and phase behavior using osmotic stress, as embodied in the phase diagram, could potentially be utilized to design a new route for water-based wet spinning of regenerated silk fibroin.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Spectral analysis of induced color change on periodically nanopatterned silk films.

    PubMed

    Amsden, Jason J; Perry, Hannah; Boriskina, Svetlana V; Gopinath, Ashwin; Kaplan, David L; Dal Negro, Luca; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G

    2009-11-01

    We demonstrate controllable structural color based on periodic nanopatterned 2D lattices in pure protein films of silk fibroin. We show here periodic lattices in silk fibroin films with feature sizes of hundreds of nanometers that exhibit different colors as a function of varying lattice spacing. Further, when varying the index of refraction contrast between the nanopatterned lattice and its surrounding environment by applying liquids on top of the lattices, colorimetric shifts are observed. The effect is characterized experimentally and theoretically and a simple example of glucose concentration sensing is presented. This is the first example of a functional sensor based on silk fibroin optics. PMID:19997366

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Regulation of silk material structure by temperature-controlled water vapor annealing.

    PubMed

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

    2011-05-01

    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 (α helix dominated silk I structure), to highest content of ∼60% crystallinity at 100 °C (β-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 that 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.

  9. Thin film assembly of spider silk-like block copolymers.

    PubMed

    Krishnaji, Sreevidhya T; Huang, Wenwen; Rabotyagova, Olena; Kharlampieva, Eugenia; Choi, Ikjun; Tsukruk, Vladimir V; Naik, Rajesh; Cebe, Peggy; Kaplan, David L

    2011-02-01

    We report the self-assembly of monolayers of spider silk-like block copolymers. Langmuir isotherms were obtained for a series of bioengineered variants of the spider silks, and stable monolayers were generated. Langmuir-Blodgett films were prepared by transferring the monolayers onto silica substrates and were subsequently analyzed by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Static contact angle measurements were performed to characterize interactions across the interface (thin film, water, air), and molecular modeling was used to predict 3D conformation of spider silk-like block copolymers. The influence of molecular architecture and volume fraction of the proteins on the self-assembly process was assessed. At high surface pressure, spider silk-like block copolymers with minimal hydrophobic block (f(A) = 12%) formed oblate structures, whereas block copolymer with a 6-fold larger hydrophobic domain (f(A) = 46%) formed prolate structures. The varied morphologies obtained with increased hydrophobicity offer new options for biomaterials for coatings and related options. The design and use of bioengineered protein block copolymers assembled at air-water interfaces provides a promising approach to compare 2D microstructures and molecular architectures of these amphiphiles, leading to more rationale designs for a range of nanoengineered biomaterial needs as well as providing a basis of comparison to more traditional synthetic block copolymer systems. PMID:21207952

  10. Photoresponsive retinal-modified silk-elastin copolymer.

    PubMed

    Sun, Zhongyuan; Qin, Guokui; Xia, Xiaoxia; Cronin-Golomb, Mark; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G; Kaplan, David L

    2013-03-01

    The chimeric proteins, silk-elastin-like protein polymers (SELPs), consist of repeating units of silk and elastin to retain the mechanical strength of silk, while incorporating the dynamic environmental sensitivity of elastin. A retinal-modified SELP was prepared, modified, and studied for photodynamic responses. The protein was designed, cloned, expressed, and purified with lysine present in the elastin repeats. The purified protein was then chemically modified with the biocompatible moiety retinal via the lysine side chains. Structural changes with the polymer were assessed before and after retinal modification using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and circular dichroism spectroscopy. Optical studies and spectral analysis were performed before and after retinal modification. The random-coil fraction of the protein increased after retinal modification while the β-sheet fraction significantly decreased. Birefringence of the modified protein was induced when irradiated with a linearly polarized 488 nm laser light. Retinal modification of this protein offers a useful strategy for potential use in biosensors, controlled drug delivery, and other areas of biomedical engineering. PMID:23383965

  11. Enhanced Cellular Adhesion on Titanium by Silk Functionalized with titanium binding and RGD peptides

    PubMed Central

    Vidal, Guillaume; Blanchi, Thomas; Mieszawska, Aneta J.; Calabrese, Rossella; Rossi, Claire; Vigneron, Pascale; Duval, Jean-Luc; Kaplan, David L.; Egles, Christophe

    2012-01-01

    Soft tissue adhesion on titanium represents a challenge for implantable materials. In order to improve adhesion at the cell/material interface we used a new approach based on the molecular recognition of titanium by specific peptides. Silk fibroin protein was chemically grafted with titanium binding peptide (TiBP) to increase adsorption of these chimeric proteins to the metal surface. Quartz Crystal Microbalance was used to quantify the specific adsorption of TiBP-functionalized silk and an increase in protein deposition by more than 35% was demonstrated due to the presence of the binding peptide. A silk protein grafted with TiBP and fibronectin-derived RGD peptide was then prepared. The adherence of fibroblasts on the titanium surface modified with the multifunctional silk coating demonstrated an increase in the number of adhering cells by 60%. The improved adhesion was demonstrated by Scanning Electron Microscopy and immunocytochemical staining of focal contact points. Chick embryo organotypic culture also revealed strong adhesion of endothelial cells expanding on the multifunctional silk-peptide coating. These results demonstrated that silk functionalized with TiBP and RGD represents a promising approach to modify cell-biomaterial interfaces, opening new perspectives for implantable medical devices, especially when reendothelialization is required. PMID:22975628

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Tuning chemical and physical cross-links in silk electrogels for morphological analysis and mechanical reinforcement.

    PubMed

    Lin, Yinan; Xia, Xiaoxia; Shang, Ke; Elia, Roberto; Huang, Wenwen; Cebe, Peggy; Leisk, Gary; Omenetto, Fiorenzo; Kaplan, David L

    2013-08-12

    Electrochemically controlled, reversible assembly of biopolymers into hydrogel structures is a promising technique for on-demand cell or drug encapsulation and release systems. An electrochemically sol-gel transition has been demonstrated in regenerated Bombyx mori silk fibroin, offering a controllable way to generate biocompatible and reversible adhesives and other biomedical materials. Despite the involvement of an electrochemically triggered electrophoretic migration of the silk molecules, the mechanism of the reversible electrogelation remains unclear. It is, however, known that the freshly prepared silk electrogels (e-gels) adopt a predominantly random coil conformation, indicating a lack of cross-linking as well as thermal, mechanical, and morphological stabilities. In the present work, the tuning of covalent and physical β-sheet cross-links in silk hydrogels was studied for programming the structural properties. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed delicate morphology, including locally aligned fibrillar structures, in silk e-gels, preserved by combining glutaraldehyde-cross-linking and ethanol dehydration. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopic analysis of either electrogelled, vortex-induced or spontaneously formed silk hydrogels showed that the secondary structure of silk e-gels was tunable between non-β-sheet-dominated and β-sheet-dominated states. Dynamic oscillatory rheology confirmed the mechanical reinforcement of silk e-gels provided by controlled chemical and physical cross-links. The selective incorporation of either chemical or physical or both cross-links into the electrochemically responsive, originally unstructured silk e-gel should help in the design for electrochemically responsive protein polymers. PMID:23859710

  16. Lumbar interbody fusion with porous biphasic calcium phosphate enhanced by recombinant bone morphogenetic protein-2/silk fibroin sustained-released microsphere: an experimental study on sheep model.

    PubMed

    Chen, Liang; Liu, Hai-Long; Gu, Yong; Feng, Yu; Yang, Hui-Lin

    2015-03-01

    Biphasic calcium phosphate (BCP) has been investigated extensively as a bone substitute nowadays. However, the bone formation capacity of BCP is limited owing to lack of osteoinduction. Silk fibroin (SF) has a structure similar to type I collagen, and could be developed to a microsphere for the sustained-release of rhBMP-2. In our previous report, bioactivity of BCP could be enhanced by rhBMP-2/SF microsphere (containing 0.5 µg rhBMP-2) in vitro. However, the bone regeneration performance of the composite in vivo was not investigated. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of BCP/rhBMP-2/SF in a sheep lumbar fusion model. A BCP and rhBMP-2/SF microsphere was developed, and then was integrated into a BCP/rhBMP-2/SF composite. BCP, BCP/rhBMP-2 and BCP/rhBMP-2/SF were implanted randomly into the disc spaces of 30 sheep at the levels of L1/2, L3/4 and L5/6. After sacrificed, the fusion segments were evaluated by manual palpation, CT scan, biomechanical testing and histology at 3 and 6 months, respectively. The composite demonstrated a burst-release of rhBMP-2 (39.1 ± 2.8 %) on the initial 4 days and a sustained-release (accumulative 81.3 ± 4.9 %) for more than 28 days. The fusion rates, semi-quantitative CT scores, fusion stiffness in bending in all directions and histologic scores of BCP/rhBMP-2/SF were significantly greater than BCP and BCP/rhBMP-2 at each time point, respectively (P < 0.05). These findings indicate that the SF microspheres containing a very low dose of rhBMP-2 improve fusion in sheep using BCP constructs.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Review structure of silk by raman spectromicroscopy: from the spinning glands to the fibers.

    PubMed

    Lefèvre, Thierry; Paquet-Mercier, François; Rioux-Dubé, Jean-François; Pézolet, Michel

    2012-06-01

    Raman spectroscopy has long been proved to be a useful tool to study the conformation of protein-based materials such as silk. Thanks to recent developments, linearly polarized Raman spectromicroscopy has appeared very efficient to characterize the molecular structure of native single silk fibers and spinning dopes because it can provide information relative to the protein secondary structure, molecular orientation, and amino acid composition. This review will describe recent advances in the study of the structure of silk by Raman spectromicroscopy. A particular emphasis is put on the spider dragline and silkworm cocoon threads, other fibers spun by orb-weaving spiders, the spinning dope contained in their silk glands and the effect of mechanical deformation. Taken together, the results of the literature show that Raman spectromicroscopy is particularly efficient to investigate all aspects of silk structure and production. The data provided can lead to a better understanding of the structure of the silk dope, transformations occurring during the spinning process, and structure and mechanical properties of native fibers.

  20. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-09

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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)

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

    PubMed

    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

  5. 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

  6. Mechanisms of silk fibroin sol-gel transitions.

    PubMed

    Matsumoto, Akira; Chen, Jingsong; Collette, Adam L; Kim, Ung-Jin; Altman, Gregory H; Cebe, Peggy; Kaplan, David L

    2006-11-01

    Silk fibroin sol-gel transitions were studied by monitoring the process under various physicochemical conditions with optical spectroscopy at 550 nm. The secondary structural change of the fibroin from a disordered state in solution to a beta-sheet-rich conformation in the gel state was assessed by FTIR and CD over a range of fibroin concentrations, temperatures, and pH values. The structural changes were correlated to the degree of gelation based on changes in optical density at 550 nm. No detectable changes in the protein secondary structure (FTIR, CD) were found up to about 15% gelation (at 550 nm), indicating that these early stages of gelation are not accompanied by the formation of beta-sheets. Above 15%, the fraction of beta-sheet linearly increased with the degree of gelation. A pH dependency of gelation time was found with correlation to the predominant acidic side chains in the silk. Electrostatic interactions were related to the rate of gelation above neutral pH. The overall independencies of processing parameters including concentration, temperature, and pH on gel formation and protein structure can be related to primary sequence-specific features in the molecular organization of the fibroin protein. These findings clarify aspects of the self-assembly of this unique family of proteins as a route to gain control of material properties, as well as for new insight into the design of synthetic silk-biomimetic polymers with predictable solution and assembly properties.

  7. 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.

  8. PEGylated Silk Nanoparticles for Anticancer Drug Delivery.

    PubMed

    Wongpinyochit, Thidarat; Uhlmann, Petra; Urquhart, Andrew J; Seib, F Philipp

    2015-11-01

    Silk has a robust clinical track record and is emerging as a promising biopolymer for drug delivery, including its use as nanomedicine. However, silk-based nanomedicines still require further refinements for full exploitation of their potential; the application of "stealth" design principals is especially necessary to support their evolution. The aim of this study was to develop and examine the potential of PEGylated silk nanoparticles as an anticancer drug delivery system. We first generated B. mori derived silk nanoparticles by driving β-sheet assembly (size 104 ± 1.7 nm, zeta potential -56 ± 5.6 mV) using nanoprecipitation. We then surface grafted polyethylene glycol (PEG) to the fabricated silk nanoparticles and verified the aqueous stability and morphology of the resulting PEGylated silk nanoparticles. We assessed the drug loading and release behavior of these nanoparticles using clinically established and emerging anticancer drugs. Overall, PEGylated silk nanoparticles showed high encapsulation efficiency (>93%) and a pH-dependent release over 14 days. Finally, we demonstrated significant cytotoxicity of drug loaded silk nanoparticles applied as single and combination nanomedicines to human breast cancer cells. In conclusion, these results, taken together with prior silk nanoparticle data, support a viable future for silk-based nanomedicines. PMID:26418537

  9. PEGylated Silk Nanoparticles for Anticancer Drug Delivery.

    PubMed

    Wongpinyochit, Thidarat; Uhlmann, Petra; Urquhart, Andrew J; Seib, F Philipp

    2015-11-01

    Silk has a robust clinical track record and is emerging as a promising biopolymer for drug delivery, including its use as nanomedicine. However, silk-based nanomedicines still require further refinements for full exploitation of their potential; the application of "stealth" design principals is especially necessary to support their evolution. The aim of this study was to develop and examine the potential of PEGylated silk nanoparticles as an anticancer drug delivery system. We first generated B. mori derived silk nanoparticles by driving β-sheet assembly (size 104 ± 1.7 nm, zeta potential -56 ± 5.6 mV) using nanoprecipitation. We then surface grafted polyethylene glycol (PEG) to the fabricated silk nanoparticles and verified the aqueous stability and morphology of the resulting PEGylated silk nanoparticles. We assessed the drug loading and release behavior of these nanoparticles using clinically established and emerging anticancer drugs. Overall, PEGylated silk nanoparticles showed high encapsulation efficiency (>93%) and a pH-dependent release over 14 days. Finally, we demonstrated significant cytotoxicity of drug loaded silk nanoparticles applied as single and combination nanomedicines to human breast cancer cells. In conclusion, these results, taken together with prior silk nanoparticle data, support a viable future for silk-based nanomedicines.

  10. 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

  11. Recombinant Dragline Silk-Like Proteins—Expression and Purification

    PubMed Central

    Gaines, William A.; Marcotte, William R.

    2011-01-01

    Spider dragline silk is a proteinaceous fiber with impressive physical characteristics making it attractive for use in advanced materials. The fiber is composed of two proteins (spidroins MaSp1 and MaSp2), each of which contains a large central repeat array flanked by non-repetitive N- and C-terminal domains. The repeat arrays appear to be largely responsible for the tensile properties of the fiber, suggesting that the N- and C-terminal domains may be involved in self-assembly. We recently isolated the MaSp1 and MaSp2 N-terminal domains from Nephila clavipes and have incorporated these into mini-silk genes for expression in transgenic systems. Current efforts involve the development of expression vectors that will allow purification using a removable affinity tag for scalable protein purification. PMID:23914141

  12. 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.

  13. Sunlight-Induced Coloration of Silk.

    PubMed

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

    2016-12-01

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

  14. Thromboelastometric and platelet responses to silk biomaterials

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  15. The natural silk spinning process. A nucleation-dependent aggregation mechanism?

    PubMed

    Li, G; Zhou, P; Shao, Z; Xie, X; Chen, X; Wang, H; Chunyu, L; Yu, T

    2001-12-01

    The spinning mechanism of natural silk has been an open issue. In this study, both the conformation transition from random coil to beta sheet and the beta sheet aggregation growth of silk fibroin are identified in the B. mori regenerated silk fibroin aqueous solution by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. A nucleation-dependent aggregation mechanism, similar to that found in prion protein, amyloid beta (Abeta) protein, and alpha-synuclein protein with the conformation transition from a soluble protein to a neurotoxic, insoluble beta sheet containing aggregate, is a novel suggestion for the silk spinning process. We present evidence that two steps are involved in this mechanism: (a) nucleation, a rate-limiting step involving the conversion of the soluble random coil to insoluble beta sheet and subsequently a series of thermodynamically unfavorable association of beta sheet unit, i.e. the formation of a nucleus or seed; (b) once the nucleus forms, further growth of the beta sheet unit becomes thermodynamically favorable, resulting a rapid extension of beta sheet aggregation. The aggregation growth follows a first order kinetic process with respect to the random coil fibroin concentration. The increase of temperature accelerates the beta sheet aggregation growth if the beta sheet seed is introduced into the random coil fibroin solution. This work enhances our understanding of the natural silk spinning process in vivo.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. NMR study of the structures of repeated sequences, GAGXGA (X = S, Y, V), in Bombyx mori liquid silk.

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Yu; Yamazaki, Toshimasa; Aoki, Akihiro; Shindo, Heisaburo; Asakura, Tetsuo

    2014-01-13

    The silk fibroin stored in the silk gland of the Bombyx mori silkworm, called "liquid silk", is spun out and converted into the silk fiber with extremely high strength and high toughness. Therefore it is important to determine the silk structure before spinning called Silk I at an atomic level to clarify the fiber formation mechanism. We proposed the repeated type II β-turn structure as Silk I in the solid state with the model peptide (AG)15 and several solid state NMR techniques previously. In this paper, the solution structure of native "liquid silk" was determined with solution NMR, especially for tandem repeated sequences with (GAGXGA)n (X = S, Y, V) and GAASGA motifs in the B. mori silk fibroin. The assignment of the (13)C, (15)N, and (1)H solution NMR spectra for the repetitive sequence motifs was achieved, and the chemical shifts were obtained. The program, TALOS-N, to predict the backbone torsion angles from the chemical shifts of proteins was applied to these motifs with (13)Cα, (13)Cβ, (13)CO, (1)Hα, (1)HN, and (15)N chemical shifts. The twenty-five best matches of torsion angles (ϕ, φ) were well populated and mainly fell into the regions for typical type II β-turn structures in the (ϕ, φ) map for the GAGXGA (X = S, Y, V) motifs. In contrast, (ϕ, φ) plots for motif GAASGA were scattered, indicating that the motif is in a disordered structure. Furthermore, inter-residue HN-Hα NOE cross peaks between i-th and (i+2)th residues in GAGXGA (X = S, Y, V) motifs were observed, supporting the repeated type II β-turn structure. Thus, we could show the presence of the repeated type II β-turn structure in "liquid silk".

  19. Dissecting the structural determinants for the difference in mechanical stability of silk and amyloid beta-sheet stacks.

    PubMed

    Xiao, Senbo; Xiao, Shijun; Gräter, Frauke

    2013-06-14

    Stacking of β-sheets results in a protein super secondary structure with remarkable mechanical properties. β-Stacks are the determinants of a silk fiber's resilience and are also the building blocks of amyloid fibrils. While both silk and amyloid-type crystals are known to feature a high resistance against rupture, their structural and mechanical similarities and particularities are yet to be fully understood. Here, we systematically compare the rupture force and stiffness of amyloid and spider silk poly-alanine β-stacks of comparable sizes using Molecular Dynamics simulations. We identify the direction of force application as the primary determinant of the rupture strength; β-sheets in silk are orientated along the fiber axis, i.e. the pulling direction, and consequently require high forces in the several nanoNewton range for shearing β-strands apart, while β-sheets in amyloid are oriented vertically to the fiber, allowing a zipper-like rupture at sub-nanoNewton forces. A secondary factor rendering amyloid β-stacks softer and weaker than their spider silk counterparts is the sub-optimal side-chain packing between β-sheets due to the sequence variations of amyloid-forming proteins as opposed to the perfectly packed poly-alanine β-sheets of silk. Taken together, amyloid fibers can reach the stiffness of silk fibers in spite of their softer and weaker β-sheet arrangement as they are missing a softening amorphous matrix.

  20. 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

  1. Comparative Study of Ultrasonication-Induced and Naturally Self-Assembled Silk Fibroin-Wool Keratin Hydrogel Biomaterials.

    PubMed

    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

  2. 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

  3. To spin or not to spin: spider silk fibers and more.

    PubMed

    Doblhofer, Elena; Heidebrecht, Aniela; Scheibel, Thomas

    2015-11-01

    Spider silk fibers have a sophisticated hierarchical structure composed of proteins with highly repetitive sequences. Their extraordinary mechanical properties, defined by a unique combination of strength and extensibility, are superior to most man-made fibers. Therefore, spider silk has fascinated mankind for thousands of years. However, due to their aggressive territorial behavior, farming of spiders is not feasible on a large scale. For this reason, biotechnological approaches were recently developed for the production of recombinant spider silk proteins. These recombinant proteins can be assembled into a variety of morphologies with a great range of properties for technical and medical applications. Here, the different approaches of biotechnological production and the advances in material processing toward various applications will be reviewed.

  4. Biomimetic spinning of silk fibers and in situ cell encapsulation.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Jie; Park, DoYeun; Jun, Yesl; Lee, JaeSeo; Hyun, Jinho; Lee, Sang-Hoon

    2016-07-01

    In situ embedding of sensitive materials (e.g., cells and proteins) in silk fibers without damage presents a significant challenge due to the lack of mild and efficient methods. Here, we report the development of a microfluidic chip-based method for preparation of meter-long silk fibroin (SF) hydrogel fibers by mimicking the silkworm-spinning process. For the spinning of SF fibers, alginate was used as a sericin-like material to induce SF phase separation and entrap liquid SFs, making it possible to shape the outline of SF-based fibers under mild physicochemical conditions. L929 fibroblasts were encapsulated in the fibric hydrogel and displayed excellent viability. Cell-laden SF fibric hydrogels prepared using our method offer a new type of SF-based biomedical device with potential utility in biomedicine.

  5. Silk Film Topography Directs Collective Epithelial Cell Migration

    PubMed Central

    Rosenblatt, Mark I.

    2012-01-01

    The following study provides new insight into how surface topography dictates directed collective epithelial cell sheet growth through the guidance of individual cell movement. Collective cell behavior of migrating hu