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Sample records for major ampullate silk

  1. 13C NMR of Nephila clavipes major ampullate silk gland.

    PubMed

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

    1996-12-01

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

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-05-19

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-01-01

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

  5. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Viney, Christopher

    1996-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Motriuk-Smith, Dagmara; Lewis, Randolph V

    2004-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Tian, Maozhen; Liu, Congzhou; Lewis, Randolph

    2004-01-01

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

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Savage, Ken N; Gosline, John M

    2008-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2007-10-01

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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2003-02-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-07

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

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-07-09

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-04-22

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-05-01

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

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-02

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-07

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

  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. 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.

  10. Simulation of flow in the silk gland.

    PubMed

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

    2009-01-12

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

  11. Designing Spider Silk Genes for Materials Applications

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-05-14

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

  12. Conformational Stability and Interplay of Helical N- and C-Terminal Domains with Implications on Major Ampullate Spidroin Assembly.

    PubMed

    Bauer, Joschka; Scheibel, Thomas

    2017-03-13

    Major ampullate spidroin (MaSp) assembly starts in the abdomen of the spider, where spidroins are stored as a liquid dope at a high concentration. The dope is squeezed into the spinning duct, and assembly is finished upon drawing of fibers. Unwanted aggregation of the spidroin solution in the gland is suppressed by prestructuring of the spidroins in micelle-like assemblies, with their hydrophobic stretches being hidden from the solvent and the hydrophilic nonrepetitive amino (NRN) and carboxy (NRC) terminal domains being exposed on the micelle surface. Conversion of the fluid dope into a solid fiber is induced within the spinning duct by acidification and ion exchange (sodium chloride against potassium phosphate), with the impact on the structure of the NRN and NRC domains acting as a regulatory switch for fiber assembly. While NRN dimerizes pH-dependently in an antiparallel fashion (i.e. quaternary structural changes), the tertiary structure of dimeric NRC is changed by shear stress and a drop in pH, inducing the alignment of the intrinsically unstructured core domains accompanied by β-sheet formation of motifs of the core domain. Here, the conformational stability of NRN1 and NRC1 of Latrodectus hesperus MaSp1 were studied using independent techniques such as circular dichroism, fluorescence and absorbance spectroscopy, and scanning electron, transmission electron, and atomic force microscopy. In this context, it could be shown that strong, non-natural acidification drives NRC1 to unfold and aggregate into β-sheet-rich structures, preventing recombinant spidroins from assembling into aligned fibrils. Interestingly, NRN1 and NRC1 apparently do not interact with each other, making spidroin assembly easy to control step-by-step and straightforward due to missing unproductive side reactions.

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-10-01

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

  14. Spider Silk Proteins

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1994-04-18

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    Sampath, Sujatha; Yarger, Jeffery L.

    2014-11-27

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-09-26

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-10-01

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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Blackledge, Todd A; Hayashi, Cheryl Y

    2006-07-01

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

  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. 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

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-10-12

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

  7. Small ampullate glands of Nephila clavipes.

    PubMed

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

    2000-02-01

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

  8. 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

  9. Shear-induced rigidity in spider silk glands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-11

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

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-12-01

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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Xu, M; Lewis, R V

    1990-01-01

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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Liu, Yi; Shao, Zhengzhong; Vollrath, Fritz

    2005-12-01

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

  20. Relationships between supercontraction and mechanical properties of spider silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Yi; Shao, Zhengzhong; Vollrath, Fritz

    2005-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-01-01

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

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-14

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

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-03-29

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Vollrath, F; Knight, D P

    1999-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  16. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-10-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edlund, Alan

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-06-20

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2015-02-11

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

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

    DOE PAGES

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

    2015-02-11

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

  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.

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

    PubMed

    Michal, C A; Jelinski, L W

    1998-08-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-09

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

  12. 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)

  13. Functionalised Silk Fibres

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-07-30

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

  14. Reinforcing Silk Scaffolds with Silk Particles

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    PubMed

    Stewart, Russell J; Wang, Ching Shuen

    2010-04-12

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Transgenic Silk Moths to Produce Spider Silk

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2008-01-24

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

  2. Microfibrillar Structure of Silks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1998-03-01

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

  3. Visual Literacy with Picture Books: The Silk Road

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bisland, Beverly Milner Lee

    2007-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Tian, Maozhen; Lewis, Randolph V

    2005-06-07

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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,...

  8. Functionalized Silk Materials

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-06-10

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

  9. 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'…

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

    PubMed

    Werner, Vera; Meinel, Lorenz

    2015-11-01

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

  11. Biomechanics of Spider Silks

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-03-02

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-22

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

  17. 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.

  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. 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.

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

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1994-09-01

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

  1. Structural Origins of Silk Piezoelectricity

    PubMed Central

    Yucel, Tuna; Cebe, Peggy

    2012-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tian, M.; Lewis, R. V.

    2006-02-01

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

  3. 21 CFR 184.1262 - Corn silk and corn silk extract.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 3 2013-04-01 2013-04-01 false Corn silk and corn silk extract. 184.1262 Section... SAFE Listing of Specific Substances Affirmed as GRAS § 184.1262 Corn silk and corn silk extract. (a) Corn silk is the fresh styles and stigmas of Zea mays L. collected when the corn is in milk....

  4. 21 CFR 184.1262 - Corn silk and corn silk extract.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 3 2011-04-01 2011-04-01 false Corn silk and corn silk extract. 184.1262 Section... SAFE Listing of Specific Substances Affirmed as GRAS § 184.1262 Corn silk and corn silk extract. (a) Corn silk is the fresh styles and stigmas of Zea mays L. collected when the corn is in milk....

  5. 21 CFR 184.1262 - Corn silk and corn silk extract.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 3 2012-04-01 2012-04-01 false Corn silk and corn silk extract. 184.1262 Section... SAFE Listing of Specific Substances Affirmed as GRAS § 184.1262 Corn silk and corn silk extract. (a) Corn silk is the fresh styles and stigmas of Zea mays L. collected when the corn is in milk....

  6. 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...

  7. 21 CFR 184.1262 - Corn silk and corn silk extract.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 3 2010-04-01 2009-04-01 true Corn silk and corn silk extract. 184.1262 Section... SAFE Listing of Specific Substances Affirmed as GRAS § 184.1262 Corn silk and corn silk extract. (a) Corn silk is the fresh styles and stigmas of Zea mays L. collected when the corn is in milk....

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Recombinant DNA production of spider silk proteins.

    PubMed

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

    2013-11-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-28

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

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

    PubMed

    Radtke, Christine

    2016-10-20

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

  14. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-12

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-07-21

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

  17. 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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Biocompatible silk step-index optical waveguides

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  7. Viscous friction between crystalline and amorphous phase of dragline silk.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    The hierarchical structure of spider dragline silk is composed of two major constituents, the amorphous phase and crystalline units, and its mechanical response has been attributed to these prime constituents. Silk mechanics, however, might also be influenced by the resistance against sliding of these two phases relative to each other under load. We here used atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to obtain friction forces for the relative sliding of the amorphous phase and crystalline units of Araneus diadematus spider silk. We computed the coefficient of viscosity of this interface to be in the order of 10(2) Ns/m(2) by extrapolating our simulation data to the viscous limit. Interestingly, this value is two orders of magnitude smaller than the coefficient of viscosity within the amorphous phase. This suggests that sliding along a planar and homogeneous surface of straight polyalanine chains is much less hindered than within entangled disordered chains. Finally, in a simple finite element model, which is based on parameters determined from MD simulations including the newly deduced coefficient of viscosity, we assessed the frictional behavior between these two components for the experimental range of relative pulling velocities. We found that a perfectly relative horizontal motion has no significant resistance against sliding, however, slightly inclined loading causes measurable resistance. Our analysis paves the way towards a finite element model of silk fibers in which crystalline units can slide, move and rearrange themselves in the fiber during loading.

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

  10. 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

  11. 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)

  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. Designing Spider Silk Proteins for Materials Applications

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2009-10-28

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

  14. The elaborate structure of spider silk

    PubMed Central

    Römer, Lin

    2008-01-01

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

  15. 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

  16. Coatings and films made of silk proteins.

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-24

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

  17. Spider silk has an ice nucleation activity.

    PubMed

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

    2001-03-01

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

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-10-16

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

  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.

  1. Tunable Silk: Using Microfluidics to Fabricate Silk Fibers with Controllable Properties

    PubMed Central

    Kinahan, Michelle E.; Filippidi, Emmanouela; Köster, Sarah; Hu, Xiao; Evans, Heather M.; Pfohl, Thomas; Kaplan, David L.; Wong, Joyce

    2011-01-01

    Despite widespread use of silk, it remains a significant challenge to fabricate fibers with properties similar to native silk. It has recently been recognized that the key to tuning silk fiber properties lies in controlling internal structure of assembled β-sheets. We report an advance in the precise control of silk fiber formation with control of properties via microfluidic solution spinning. We use an experimental approach combined with modeling to accurately predict and independently tune fiber properties including Young’s modulus and diameter to customize fibers. This is the first reported microfluidic approach capable of fabricating functional fibers with predictable properties and provides new insight into the structural transformations responsible for the unique properties of silk. Unlike bulk processes, our method facilitates the rapid and inexpensive fabrication of fibers from small volumes (50 μL) that can be characterized to investigate sequence-structure-property relationships to optimize recombinant silk technology to match and exceed natural silk properties. PMID:21438624

  2. 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

  3. Biocompatibility of silk-tropoelastin protein polymers.

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-01

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

  4. 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

  5. Composition of the silk lipids of the spider Nephila clavipes.

    PubMed

    Schulz, S

    2001-06-01

    A detailed analysis of the lipids of spider silk is given for the first time. Extracts of the silk from the golden orb weaver, Nephila clavipes, were studied by gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, and chemical derivatizations. The major group of the lipids consisted of methyl-branched 1-methoxyalkanes (methyl ethers) with up to four methyl groups in the chain (chain length between C28 and C34), which are unique to spiders. The position of the methyl branches was determined by conversion into cyanides, which allowed easy location of methyl branches. The second-largest group included alkanes with a wide structural variety; 2-methyl-branched, even-numbered hydrocarbons predominated. A general numerical method for the estimation of retention indices of alkanes and their derivatives is presented. Further components of the web included alkanols and alkanediols, fatty acids, and glyceryl ethers. Some comments on the biosynthesis of these compounds are also given.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-05

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

  7. 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

  8. Tissue Regeneration: A Silk Road.

    PubMed

    Jao, Dave; Mou, Xiaoyang; Hu, Xiao

    2016-08-05

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

  9. Stress/Strain Characteristics and Biochemical Correlates of Spider Silks

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-11-02

    we observed daily variability in silk from individuals of Nephila edulis and we can show that spider condition (starvation) affected silk properties...in particular that it tended to decrease breaking elongation. Reeling speed significantly affected silk properties in both Nephila edulis and...Analysis of our data from the different reeling speeds indicates that Nephila and Araneus dragline silks differ in basic properties.

  10. Insoluble and flexible silk films containing glycerol.

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-11

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

  11. Structural and Mechanical Properties of Cocoons of Antherina suraka (Saturniidae, Lepidoptera), an Endemic Species Used for Silk Production in Madagascar.

    PubMed

    Randrianandrasana, Maminirina; Wu, Wen-Yen; Carney, David A; Wagoner Johnson, Amy J; Berenbaum, May R

    2017-01-01

    Antherina suraka Boisduval (Saturniidae, Lepidoptera) produces a silken cocoon that has been the focus of efforts to create a commercial wild silk industry in Madagascar. In this study, structural and mechanical properties of the cocoon of A. suraka from two sites were measured and compared to the cocoon of Bombyx mori L. (Bombycidae, Lepidoptera) the world's most common source for silk. Results of environmental scanning electron microscopy and mechanical testing showed that the silk sheet of A. suraka cocoon is less compact, with greater thickness and lower tensile strength and stiffness than that of B. mori Confirming these results, stiffness and cell and thread density were found to be negatively correlated with thickness, and the cell and thread volumes were positively correlated with thickness. Antherina suraka showed no major differences between silk sheets from Kirindy and Isalo sites in either structural or mechanical properties, except for mean cell volume, which was greater in cocoons from Kirindy. Comparison between the two layers forming the cocoon showed that the inner layer has greater elastic modulus, denser silk distribution and lower porosity. Cocoons from both Kirindy and Isalo are suitable for sericulture. Although the inner layer of cocoon silk is of higher quality than the outer layer, the fact that both layers are of great but lower tensile strength than B. mori silk suggests that the current practice of sewing the two layers together for making one single layer fabric should be continued in efforts to produce a commercially viable product.

  12. Structural and Mechanical Properties of Cocoons of Antherina suraka (Saturniidae, Lepidoptera), an Endemic Species Used for Silk Production in Madagascar

    PubMed Central

    Randrianandrasana, Maminirina; Wu, Wen-Yen; Carney, David A.; Wagoner Johnson, Amy J.; Berenbaum, May R.

    2017-01-01

    Antherina suraka Boisduval (Saturniidae, Lepidoptera) produces a silken cocoon that has been the focus of efforts to create a commercial wild silk industry in Madagascar. In this study, structural and mechanical properties of the cocoon of A. suraka from two sites were measured and compared to the cocoon of Bombyx mori L. (Bombycidae, Lepidoptera) the world's most common source for silk. Results of environmental scanning electron microscopy and mechanical testing showed that the silk sheet of A. suraka cocoon is less compact, with greater thickness and lower tensile strength and stiffness than that of B. mori. Confirming these results, stiffness and cell and thread density were found to be negatively correlated with thickness, and the cell and thread volumes were positively correlated with thickness. Antherina suraka showed no major differences between silk sheets from Kirindy and Isalo sites in either structural or mechanical properties, except for mean cell volume, which was greater in cocoons from Kirindy. Comparison between the two layers forming the cocoon showed that the inner layer has greater elastic modulus, denser silk distribution and lower porosity. Cocoons from both Kirindy and Isalo are suitable for sericulture. Although the inner layer of cocoon silk is of higher quality than the outer layer, the fact that both layers are of great but lower tensile strength than B. mori silk suggests that the current practice of sewing the two layers together for making one single layer fabric should be continued in efforts to produce a commercially viable product. PMID:28130459

  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. 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...

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-02-02

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

  16. Silk Polymer Designs for Improved Expression and Processing

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-10-28

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

  17. Mechanics and Morphology of Silk Drawn from Anesthetized Spiders

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Madsen, B.; Vollrath, F.

    CO2 and N2 anesthetized Nephila spiders produced dragline silk with mechanical properties that differed from control silk as a function of time under anesthesia. Silk from CO2 spiders had a significantly lower breaking strain and breaking energy, significantly higher initial modulus, and marginally lower breaking stress. At the onset of anesthesia the silk diameter became highly variable. During deep anesthesia silk either became thinner or retained cross-section but fibrillated.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-08-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  20. Spider silk gut: development and characterization of a novel strong spider silk fiber.

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-05

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. The effect of water on the structure and dynamics of spider silk and silk-like polymers studied by magnetic resonance and x-ray diffraction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Zhitong

    Due to its unique combination of tensile strength and elasticity, the dragline silk of the orb-weaving spider Nephila clavipes has attracted much attention. Most importantly, it has a high energy to break that is unparalleled in other fibers. Though the basis for the strength of the silk fiber has been uncovered, the molecular reason of the fiber's large shrinkage in water is unknown. This has been a major hurdle in the practical applications of the fiber, and to any man-made copy of this material. Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) is used to probe of the long-range structures in the semicrystalline silk. Scattering patterns of wet and dry samples indicate that the crystalline regions stack along the fiber axis to form lamellar structures. These structures are sparsely dispersed in a softer matrix with a long spacing of 8.4 nm. This spacing increases reversibly by 4% when fibers are stretched by 10%, and shrinks to 5.8 nm when fibers shrink 45% in length on wetting. Solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) experiments are performed to reveal the microscopic details of the dynamics in the silk. Cross-polarization magic-angle spinning 13C NMR demonstrates that a substantial fraction of the glycine, glutamine, tyrosine, serine, and leucine residues experience dramatic increases in the rate of large-amplitude reorientation at the protein backbone when fibers are wet. Variable temperature deuterium NMR measurements were carried out on silk samples that incorporate leucine deuterated at the methyl group. Results show that only a subset of these leucine residues is strongly affected by water. Quantitative analysis and chemical considerations suggest that the highly conserved YGGLGS(N)QGAGR blocks, only found in the dragline silk protein, play a major role in the supercontraction process. Protein sequences are proposed to produce artificial spider silk with similar mechanical properties, but without the undesired phenomenon of supercontraction. The spinning and

  4. Production of silk sericin/silk fibroin blend nanofibers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-08-01

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

  5. 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

  6. Silk Electrogel Based Gastroretentive Drug Delivery System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Qianrui

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-03-01

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

  11. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-11-01

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

  14. Silver nanoparticle containing silk fibroin bionanotextiles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Calamak, Semih; Aksoy, Eda Ayse; Erdogdu, Ceren; Sagıroglu, Meral; Ulubayram, Kezban

    2015-02-01

    Development of new generation bionanotextiles is an important growing field, and they have found applications as wound dressings, bandages, tissue scaffolds, etc. In this study, silver nanoparticle (AgNP) containing silk-based bionanotextiles were fabricated by electrospinning, and processing parameters were optimized and discussed in detail. AgNPs were in situ synthesized within fibroin nanofibers by UV reduction of silver ions to metallic silver. The influence of post-treatments via methanol treatment and glutaraldehyde (GA) vapor exhibited changes in the secondary structure of silk. Methanol treatment increased the tensile properties of fibers due to supported crystalline silk structure, while GA vapor promoted amorphous secondary structure. AgNP containing silk fibroin bionanotextiles had strong antibacterial activity against gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus and gram-negative Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

  15. Materials Fabrication from Bombyx mori Silk Fibroin

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  16. Dating silk by capillary electrophoresis mass spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Moini, Mehdi; Klauenberg, Kathryn; Ballard, Mary

    2011-10-01

    A new capillary electrophoresis mass spectrometry (CE-MS) technique is introduced for age estimation of silk textiles based on amino acid racemization rates. With an L to D conversion half-life of ~2500 years for silk (B. mori) aspartic acid, the technique is capable of dating silk textiles ranging in age from several decades to a few-thousand-years-old. Analysis required only ~100 μg or less of silk fiber. Except for a 2 h acid hydrolysis at 110 °C, no other sample preparation is required. The CE-MS analysis takes ~20 min, consumes only nanoliters of the amino acid mixture, and provides both amino acid composition profiles and D/L ratios for ~11 amino acids.

  17. Flexible Microsupercapacitors Using Silk and Cotton Substrates.

    PubMed

    Das, Chayanika; Krishnamoorthy, Kothandam

    2016-11-02

    Flexible microsupercapacitors (MSCs) are needed to power ultrasmall wearable electronic devices. Silk cocoons comprise microfibers of silk, which is an attractive natural resource to fabricate MSCs. These fibers are insulators; hence, they must be converted to conducting surfaces. Polyphenols from green tea have been used as a protective layer that also acted as a reducing agent for silver ions. The reduction of silver ions resulted in the formation of silver nanoparticles that subsequently reduced gold ions to gold. The gold film imparts conductivity to the silk fiber without affecting the mechanical strength of the silk fiber. The mechanical strength of uncoated silk fiber and gold coated silk fiber were found to be 5.2 and 5 GPa, respectively. A pseudocapacitive polymer, poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene), was used as the active material to fabricate MSCs. The MSCs showed an impressive gravimetric capacitance of 500 F/g and areal capacitance of 62 mF/cm(2). The power and energy densities were calculated to be 2458 W/kg and 44 Wh/kg, respectively. The device was coiled on a cylinder, and the performance of the device was found to be same as that of the uncoiled device. To demonstrate that the approach is not specific to silk, we also coated gold on cotton fibers using the protocol used to coat gold on silk. Coiled and uncoiled supercapacitors were fabricated using PEDOT coated cotton fibers. The gravimetric capacitance was found to be 250 F/g with energy and power densities of 5.5 Wh/kg and 1118 W/kg, respectively. We have also demonstrated that the devices can be connected in parallel and series to improve the performance of the miniaturized devices.

  18. Encapsulation of Volatile Compounds in Silk Microparticles.

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

  19. Electrodeposited silk coatings for bone implants

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  20. Water permeability of spider dragline silk.

    PubMed

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

    2009-05-11

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Christian, David

    2000-01-01

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

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Numata, Keiji; Katashima, Takuya; Sakai, Takamasa

    2011-06-13

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

  4. 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

  5. Treatment of intracranial aneurysms using flow-diverting silk stents (BALT): a single centre experience.

    PubMed

    Leonardi, M; Cirillo, L; Toni, F; Dall'olio, M; Princiotta, C; Stafa, A; Simonetti, L; Agati, R

    2011-09-01

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

  6. Atomic force microscopy of orb-spider-web-silks to measure surface nanostructuring and evaluate silk fibers per strand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kane, D. M.; Naidoo, N.; Staib, G. R.

    2010-10-01

    Atomic force microscopy (AFM) study is used to measure the surface topology and roughness of radial and capture spider silks on the micro- and nanoscale. This is done for silks of the orb weaver spider Argiope keyserlingi. Capture silk has a surface roughness that is five times less than that for radial silk. The capture silk has an equivalent flatness of λ /100 (5-6 nm deep surface features) as an optical surface. This is equivalent to a very highly polished optical surface. AFM does show the number of silk fibers that make up a silk thread but geometric distortion occurs during sample preparation. This prevented AFM from accurately measuring the silk topology on the microscale in this study.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-01

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

  8. Vortex-Induced Injectable Silk Fibroin Hydrogels

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  9. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nivedita, S.; Sivaprasad, V.

    2014-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-08

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

  13. 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.

  14. The impact behaviour of silk cocoons.

    PubMed

    Chen, Fujia; Hesselberg, Thomas; Porter, David; Vollrath, Fritz

    2013-07-15

    Silk cocoons, constructed by silkmoths (Lepidoptera), are protective structural composites. Some cocoons appear to have evolved towards structural and material optimisation in order to sustain impact strikes from predators and hinder parasite ingress. This study investigates the protective properties of silk cocoons with different morphologies by evaluating their impact resistance and damage tolerance. Finite element analysis was used to analyse empirical observations of the quasi-static impact response of the silk cocoons, and to evaluate the separate benefits of the structures and materials through the deformation and damage mechanism. We use design principles from composite engineering in order to understand the structure-property-function relationship of silkworm cocoons. Understanding the highly evolved survival strategies of the organisms building natural cocoons will hopefully lead to inspiration that in turn could lead to improved composite design.

  15. Sows' ears, silk purses and goats' milk: new production methods and medical applications for silk.

    PubMed

    Williams, David

    2003-06-01

    Silk is a good example of a self-assembled natural material with attractive characteristics. Attempts are now being made to produce recombinant forms, through transgenic animals, that have potential in a number of medical technologies.

  16. Human amniotic epithelial cells combined with silk fibroin scaffold in the repair of spinal cord injury

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Ting-gang; Xu, Jie; Zhu, Ai-hua; Lu, Hua; Miao, Zong-ning; Zhao, Peng; Hui, Guo-zhen; Wu, Wei-jiang

    2016-01-01

    Treatment and functional reconstruction after central nervous system injury is a major medical and social challenge. An increasing number of researchers are attempting to use neural stem cells combined with artificial scaffold materials, such as fibroin, for nerve repair. However, such approaches are challenged by ethical and practical issues. Amniotic tissue, a clinical waste product, is abundant, and amniotic epithelial cells are pluripotent, have low immunogenicity, and are not the subject of ethical debate. We hypothesized that amniotic epithelial cells combined with silk fibroin scaffolds would be conducive to the repair of spinal cord injury. To test this, we isolated and cultured amniotic epithelial cells, and constructed complexes of these cells and silk fibroin scaffolds. Implantation of the cell-scaffold complex into a rat model of spinal cord injury resulted in a smaller glial scar in the damaged cord tissue than in model rats that received a blank scaffold, or amniotic epithelial cells alone. In addition to a milder local immunological reaction, the rats showed less inflammatory cell infiltration at the transplant site, milder host-versus-graft reaction, and a marked improvement in motor function. These findings confirm that the transplantation of amniotic epithelial cells combined with silk fibroin scaffold can promote the repair of spinal cord injury. Silk fibroin scaffold can provide a good nerve regeneration microenvironment for amniotic epithelial cells. PMID:27904501

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-03-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  2. Curcumin-functionalized silk biomaterials for anti-aging utility.

    PubMed

    Yang, Lei; Zheng, Zhaozhu; Qian, Cheng; Wu, Jianbing; Liu, Yawen; Guo, Shaozhe; Li, Gang; Liu, Meng; Wang, Xiaoqin; Kaplan, David L

    2017-02-02

    Curcumin is a natural antioxidant that is isolated from turmeric (Curcuma longa) and exhibits strong free radical scavenging activity, thus functional for anti-aging. However, poor stability and low solubility of curcumin in aqueous conditions limit its biomedical applications. Previous studies have shown that the anti-oxidation activity of curcumin embedded in silk fibroin films could be well preserved, resulting in the promoted adipogenesis from human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) cultured on the surface of the films. In the present study, curcumin was encapsulated in both silk fibroin films (silk/cur films) and nanoparticles (silk/cur NPs), and their anti-aging effects were compared with free curcumin in solution, with an aim to elucidate the mechanism of anti-aging of silk-associated curcumin and to better serve biomedical applications in the future. The morphology and structure of silk/cur film and silk/cur NP were characterized using SEM, FTIR and DSC, indicating characteristic stable beta-sheet structure formation in the materials. Strong binding of curcumin molecules to the beta-sheet domains of silk fibroin resulted in the slow release of curcumin with well-preserved activity from the materials. For cell aging studies, rat bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (rBMSCs) were cultured in the presence of free curcumin (FC), silk/cur film and silk/cur NP, and cell proliferation and markers of aging (P53, P16, HSP70 gene expression and β-Galactosidase activity) were examined. The results indicated that cell aging was retarded in all FC, silk/cur NP and silk/cur film samples, with the silk-associated curcumin superior to the FC.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-05

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

  4. Silk fibroin microtubes for blood vessel engineering.

    PubMed

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

    2007-12-01

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

  5. Constructing Knowledge with Silk Road Visuals

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bisland, Beverly Milner

    2008-01-01

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

  6. Silk-Screening a la Andy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mathes, Len

    2000-01-01

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

  7. The Ancient Art of Silk Painting

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Yonker, Kim

    2010-01-01

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

  8. Silk Fibroin for Flexible Electronic Devices.

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-01

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

  9. Greatly Increased Toughness of Infiltrated Spider Silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-04-01

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

  10. Sequence of Spider Aciniform and Piriform Silks

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2001-09-19

    distinctly different. It appears to have a repeat sequence of A cDNA library from Nephila clavipes has been constructed from the acinform/piriform...any other silk. We have also constructed a cDNA library from Nephila clavipes that includes both the aciniform and piriform glands as they cannot be

  11. Cytocompatibility of a silk fibroin tubular scaffold.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Inkjet printing of silk nest arrays for cell hosting.

    PubMed

    Suntivich, Rattanon; Drachuk, Irina; Calabrese, Rossella; Kaplan, David L; Tsukruk, Vladimir V

    2014-04-14

    An inkjet printing approach is presented for the facile fabrication of microscopic arrays of biocompatible silk "nests" capable of hosting live cells for prospective biosensors. The patterning of silk fibroin nests were constructed by the layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly of silk polyelectrolytes chemically modified with poly-(l-lysine) and poly-(l-glutamic acid) side chains. The inkjet-printed silk circular regions with a characteristic "nest" shape had diameters of 70-100 μm and a thickness several hundred nanometers were stabilized by ionic pairing and by the formation of the silk II crystalline secondary structure. These "locked-in" silk nests remained anchored to the substrate during incubation in cell growth media to provide a biotemplated platform for printing-in, immobilization, encapsulation and growth of cells. The process of inkjet-assisted printing is versatile and can be applied on any type of substrate, including rigid and flexible, with scalability and facile formation.

  16. Thin Film Assembly of Spider Silk-like Block Copolymers

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-01-01

    generated from the synthetic systems such as PEO-PS. Silk fibers obtained from silkworms and spiders are considered the strongest materials found in...the silkworm , Bombyx mori,13 and polyalanine (An) repeats in the spider Nephila clavipes,12 with less crystalline domains segregating these regions to...Assembly. In an earlier study, we showed stable monolayer silk films9 could be generated from silkworm silk at an air-water interface. ATR-FTIR

  17. Investigating the Mechanisms and Potential of Silk Fiber Metallization

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-09-30

    molecular mechanisms underlying the metallization-induced mechanical enhancement of spider silk fibers. (a) Papers published in peer-reviewed journals (N/A...properties of biological materials1. Native spider silk fibers are unparalleled in their combination of 1. REPORT DATE (DD-MM-YYYY) 4. TITLE AND...ORGANIZATION NAMES AND ADDRESSES U.S. Army Research Office P.O. Box 12211 Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2211 15. SUBJECT TERMS silk, spider , fiber

  18. Development of Synthetic Spider Silk Fibers for High Performance Applications

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-08-08

    the conditions for syringe pump extrusion of silk fibers often seen in literature do not translate to industrial scale wet spinning. The magnitudes...REPORT Development of Synthetic Spider Silk Fibers for High Performance Applications 14. ABSTRACT 16. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF: The overall goal of...this project is to demonstrate the feasibility of synthetic production of high-performance spider silk fibers for use in next-generation automotives

  19. Cloning and Structure of Different Types of Spider Silk

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1991-11-10

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

  20. Cloning and Structure of Different Types of Spider Silk

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1988-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-10

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

  2. Bioengineered Silk Gene Delivery System for Nuclear Targeting

    PubMed Central

    Yigit, Sezin; Tokareva, Olena; Varone, Antonio; Georgakoudi, Irene

    2015-01-01

    Gene delivery research has gained momentum with the use of lipophilic vectors that mimic viral systems to increase transfection efficiency. However, maintaining cell viability with these systems remains a major challenge. Therefore biocompatible and nontoxic biopolymers that are designed by combining non-immunological viral mimicking components with suitable carriers have been explored to address these limitations. In the present study recombinant DNA technology was used to design a multi-functional gene delivery system for nuclear targeting, while also supporting cell viability. Spider dragline silk recombinant proteins were modified with DNA condensing units and the proton sponge endosomal escape pathway was utilized for enhanced delivery. Short-term transfection efficiency in a COS-7 cell line (adherent kidney cells isolated from African green monkey) was enhanced compared to lipofectamine and polyethyleneimine (PEI), as was cell viability with these recombinant bio-polyplexes. Endosomal escape and consequent nuclear targeting were shown with fluorescence microscopy. PMID:24889658

  3. Total X-Ray Scattering of Spider Dragline Silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-04-01

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

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. Silk fibroin membrane used for guided bone tissue regeneration.

    PubMed

    Cai, Yurong; Guo, Junmao; Chen, Cen; Yao, Chenxue; Chung, Sung-Min; Yao, Juming; Lee, In-Seop; Kong, Xiangdong

    2017-01-01

    With the aim to develop a novel membrane with an appropriate mechanical property and degradation rate for guided bone tissue regeneration, lyophilized and densified silk fibroin membrane was fabricated and its mechanical behavior as well as biodegradation property were investigated. The osteoconductive potency of the silk fibroin membranes were evaluated in a defect rabbit calvarial model. Silk fibroin membrane showed the modulated biodegradable and mechanical properties via ethanol treatment with different concentration. The membrane could prevent soft tissue invasion from normal tissue healing, and the amounts of new bone and defect closure with silk fibroin membrane were similar to those of commercially available collagen membrane.

  8. 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.

  9. Cloning and Structure of Different Types of Spider Silk

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1989-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  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. 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

  13. Silk scaffolds for musculoskeletal tissue engineering

    PubMed Central

    Yao, Danyu

    2015-01-01

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

  14. Silk scaffolds for musculoskeletal tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Yao, Danyu; Liu, Haifeng; Fan, Yubo

    2016-02-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Silk-based blood stabilization for diagnostics

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  18. 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

  19. Mechanical Properties of Robust Ultrathin Silk Fibroin Films

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-01-01

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

  20. Geographic Perspectives with Elementary Students: The Silk Road

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bisland, Beverly Milner

    2006-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-12-12

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

  2. First investigation of spider silk as a braided microsurgical suture.

    PubMed

    Kuhbier, Joern W; Reimers, Kerstin; Kasper, Cornelia; Allmeling, Christina; Hillmer, Anja; Menger, Björn; Vogt, Peter M; Radtke, Christine

    2011-05-01

    Inhibition of axonal outgrowth accompanied by neuroma formation appears in microsurgical nerve repair as reaction to common microsuture materials like silk, nylon, or polyglycolic acid. In contrast, recent findings revealed advantages of spider silk fibers in guiding Schwann cells in nerve regeneration. Here, we asked if we could braid microsutures from native spider silk fibers. Microsutures braided of native spider dragline silk were manufactured, containing either 2 × 15 or 3 × 10 single fibres strands. Morphologic appearance was studied and tensile strength and stress-strain ratio (SSR) were calculated. The constructed spider silk sutures showed a median thickness of 25 μm, matching the USP definition of 10-0. Maximum load and tensile strength for both spider silk microsutures were significantly more than 2-fold higher than for nylon suture; SSR was 1.5-fold higher. All values except elasticity were higher in 3 × 10 strand sutures compared to 2 × 15 strand sutures, but not significantly. In this pilot study, we demonstrate the successful manufacture of microsutures from spider silk. With regards to the mechanical properties, these sutures were superior to nylon sutures. As spider silk displays high biocompatibility in nerve regeneration, its usage in microsurgical nerve repair should be considered.

  3. 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

  4. Silk-Based Biomaterials for Sustained Drug Delivery

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  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. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Dry-Spun Silk Produces Native-Like Fibroin Solutions

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Silk’s outstanding mechanical properties and energy efficient solidification mechanisms provide inspiration for biomaterial self-assembly as well as offering a diverse platform of materials suitable for many biotechnology applications. Experiments now reveal that the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori secretes its silk in a practically “unspun” state that retains much of the solvent water and exhibits a surprisingly low degree of molecular order (β-sheet crystallinity) compared to the state found in a fully formed and matured fiber. These new observations challenge the general understanding of silk spinning and in particular the role of the spinning duct for structure development. Building on this discovery we report that silk spun in low humidity appears to arrest a molecular annealing process crucial for β-sheet formation. This, in turn, has significant positive implications, enabling the production of a high fidelity reconstituted silk fibroin with properties akin to the gold standard of unspun native silk. PMID:27526078

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

    PubMed

    Vollrath, Fritz

    2016-08-15

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-08

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

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

    PubMed

    Sasaki, S; Nakagaki, I

    1980-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. Inter-specific sequence conservation and intra-individual sequence variation in a spider silk gene.

    PubMed

    Tai, Pei-Ling; Hwang, Guang-Yuh; Tso, I-Min

    2004-10-01

    Currently, studies on major ampullate spidroin 1 (MaSp1) genes of non-orb weaving spiders are few, and it is not clear whether genes of these organisms exhibit the same characteristics as those of orb-weavers. In addition, many studies have proposed that MaSp1 might be a single gene with allelic variants, but supporting evidence is still lacking. In this study, we compared partial DNA and amino acid sequences of MaSp1 cloned from different spider guilds. We also cloned partial MaSp1 sequences from genomic DNA and cDNA of the same individuals of spiders using the same primer combination to see if different molecular forms existed. In the repetitive region of partial MaSp1 sequences obtained, GGX, GA and poly-A motifs were present in all Araneomorphae and Mygalomorpae species examined. An extreme similarity in MaSp1 non-repetitive portions was found in sequences of ecribellate, cribellate and Mygalomorphae web-builders and such a result suggested that this sequence might exhibit an important function. A comparison of sequences amplified from the same individual showed that substitutions in amino acids occurred in both repetitive and non-repetitive regions, with a much higher variation in the former. These results suggest that the MaSp1 of Araneomorphae spiders exhibits several forms in an individual spider and it might be either a multiple gene or a single gene with a multiple exon/intron organization.

  15. Modular evolution of egg case silk genes across orb-weaving spider superfamilies

    PubMed Central

    Garb, Jessica E.; Hayashi, Cheryl Y.

    2005-01-01

    Spider silk proteins (fibroins) are renowned for their extraordinary mechanical properties and biomimetic potential. Despite extensive evolutionary, ecological, and industrial interest in these fibroins, only a fraction of the known silk types have been characterized at the molecular level. Here we report cDNA and genomic sequences of the fibroin TuSp1, which appears to be the major component of tubuliform gland silk, a fiber exclusively synthesized by female spiders for egg case construction. We obtained TuSp1 sequences from 12 spider species that represent the extremes of phylogenetic diversity within the Orbicularia (orb-weaver superfamilies, Araneoidea and Deinopoidea) and finer scale sampling within genera. TuSp1 encodes tandem arrays of an ≈200-aa-long repeat unit and individual repeats are readily aligned, even among species that diverged >125 million years ago. Analyses of these repeats across species reveal the strong influence of concerted evolution, resulting in intragenic homogenization. However, deinopoid TuSp1 repeats also contain insertions of coding, minisatellite-like sequences, an apparent result of replication slippage and nonreciprocal recombination. Phylogenetic analyses of 37 spider fibroin sequences support the monophyly of TuSp1 within the spider fibroin gene family, consistent with a single origin of this ortholog group. The diversity of taxa and silks examined here confirms that repetitive architecture is a general feature of this gene family. Moreover, we show that TuSp1 provides a clear example of modular evolution across a range of phylogenetic levels. PMID:16061817

  16. Dielectric relaxation spectroscopy of hydrated and dehydrated silk fibroin cast from aqueous solution.

    PubMed

    Yu, Lei; Hu, Xiao; Kaplan, David; Cebe, Peggy

    2010-10-11

    The dynamics of silk protein in the presence and absence of water has been investigated by dielectric relaxation spectroscopy (DRS). The silk fibroin film cast from its water solution contains 4-7 wt % bound water molecules, which can be removed by dehydration at 165 °C. Temperature and frequency scans were performed on the hydrated and dehydrated samples over the temperature range from -100 to 280 °C, and frequency range from 20 to 1 MHz. Temperature scans of hydrated samples show three relaxation peaks, including β- and α-relaxations, related to bound water and to the glass transition. A new third peak, denoted as α', was seen in hydrated sample at around 60 °C, and its intensity increases with decreasing frequency. On the other hand, in the completely dehydrated sample, the β- and α'-relaxation peaks both disappeared, which reveals their origin from bound water molecules. The α' process is attributed to the removal of bound water, after which the glass transition of dehydrated silk appears at higher temperature as the α process. Real-time DRS has also been performed to monitor isothermal crystallization. Both the dielectric constant, ε', and conductivity, σ, decrease gradually as the crystallization proceeds. Analysis of dielectric modulus shows that both conductivity and the α-relaxation are observed at the beginning of crystallization. As the crystal grows, the α-relaxation starts gradually to diminish both in strength and in rate. Before crystallization, α-helices and random coils with dipole moments are the major components in silk fibroin. During crystallization, α-helices can be transformed into antiparallel β-sheets, which possess no dipole moment, causing the decreasing trend in the dielectric parameters as crystallization proceeds.

  17. A maize QTL for silk maysin levels contains duplicated Myb-homologous genes which jointly regulate flavone biosynthesis.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Peifen; Wang, Yibin; Zhang, Jianbo; Maddock, Sheila; Snook, Maurice; Peterson, Thomas

    2003-05-01

    The maize p1 locus coincides with a major QTL (quantitative trait locus) determining levels of maysin, a C-glycosyl flavone that deters feeding by corn ear-worm. The p1 gene is tightly linked with a second gene, p2, and both genes encode similar Myb-domain proteins. We show here that maize cell cultures transformed with either the p1 or p2 genes expressed under a constitutive promoter accumulate transcripts for flavonoid biosynthetic genes, and synthesize phenylpropanoids and C-glycosyl flavones related to maysin. Additionally, maize plants that are deleted for the p1 gene have reduced maysin levels and moderate silk-browning reaction, whereas plants with a deletion of both p1 and p2 have non-detectable silk maysin and non-browning silks. We conclude that both p1 and p2 induce maysin biosynthesis in silk, although the two genes differ in their expression and pigmentation effects in other tissues. These results show that a QTL for flavone biosynthesis actually comprises two tightly linked genes with related functions.

  18. Electricity from the Silk Cocoon Membrane

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-06-01

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

  19. Electricity from the silk cocoon membrane.

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-25

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

  20. Effects of silk fibroin in murine dry eye

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Chae Eun; Lee, Ji Hyun; Yeon, Yeung Kyu; Park, Chan Hum; Yang, JaeWook

    2017-01-01

    The study aimed to investigate the effects of silk fibroin in a mouse model of dry eye. The experimental dry eye mouse model was developed using more than twelve-weeks-old NOD.B10.H2b mice exposing them to 30–40% ambient humidity and injecting them with scopolamine hydrobromide for 10 days. Tear production and corneal irregularity score were measured by the instillation of phosphate buffered saline or silk fibroin. Corneal detachment and conjunctival goblet cell density were observed by hematoxylin and eosin or periodic acid Schiff staining in the cornea or conjunctiva. The expression of inflammatory markers was detected by immunohistochemistry in the lacrimal gland. The silk group tear production was increased, and corneal smoothness was improved. The corneal epithelial cells and conjunctival goblet cells were recovered in the silk groups. The expression of inflammatory factors was inhibited in the lacrimal gland of the silk group. These results show that silk fibroin improved the cornea, conjunctiva, and lacrimal gland in the mouse model of dry eye. These findings suggest that silk fibroin has anti-inflammatory effects in the experimental models of dry eye. PMID:28281688

  1. Effects of silk fibroin in murine dry eye

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Chae Eun; Lee, Ji Hyun; Yeon, Yeung Kyu; Park, Chan Hum; Yang, Jaewook

    2017-03-01

    The study aimed to investigate the effects of silk fibroin in a mouse model of dry eye. The experimental dry eye mouse model was developed using more than twelve-weeks-old NOD.B10.H2b mice exposing them to 30–40% ambient humidity and injecting them with scopolamine hydrobromide for 10 days. Tear production and corneal irregularity score were measured by the instillation of phosphate buffered saline or silk fibroin. Corneal detachment and conjunctival goblet cell density were observed by hematoxylin and eosin or periodic acid Schiff staining in the cornea or conjunctiva. The expression of inflammatory markers was detected by immunohistochemistry in the lacrimal gland. The silk group tear production was increased, and corneal smoothness was improved. The corneal epithelial cells and conjunctival goblet cells were recovered in the silk groups. The expression of inflammatory factors was inhibited in the lacrimal gland of the silk group. These results show that silk fibroin improved the cornea, conjunctiva, and lacrimal gland in the mouse model of dry eye. These findings suggest that silk fibroin has anti-inflammatory effects in the experimental models of dry eye.

  2. Wet-spinning of osmotically stressed silk fibroin.

    PubMed

    Sohn, Sungkyun; Gido, Samuel P

    2009-08-10

    Based on the phase diagram constructed for water-silk fibroin-LiBr using the osmotic stress method, wet-spinning of osmotically stressed, regenerated Bombyx mori silk fibroin was performed, without the necessity of using expensive or toxic organic solvents. The osmotic stress was applied to prestructure the regenerated silk fibroin molecule from its original random coil state to a more oriented state, manipulating the phase of the silk solution in the phase diagram before the start of spinning. Various starting points for spinning were selected from the phase diagram to evaluate the spinning performance and also physical properties of fibers produced. Monofilament fiber with a diameter of 20 microm was produced. It was found that the fibers whose starting point in the phase diagram were around the phase boundary between silk I and silk II, at very low LiBr concentrations, showed the best spinning process stability and physical properties. This underpins the prediction that the enhanced control over structure and phase behavior using the osmotic stress method helps improve the physical properties of wet-spun regenerated silk fibroin fibers.

  3. Silk scaffolds with tunable mechanical capability for cell differentiation

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  4. Nanofeatured silk fibroin membranes for dermal wound healing applications.

    PubMed

    Karahaliloğlu, Zeynep; Ercan, Batur; Denkbaş, Emir B; Webster, Thomas J

    2015-01-01

    As an effort to create the next generation of improved skin graft materials, in this study, we modified the surfaces of a previously investigated material, silk fibroin, using a NaOH alkaline treatment to obtain a biologically inspired nanofeatured surface morphology. Such surfaces were characterized for roughness, energy, and chemistry. In addition, keratinocyte (skin-forming cells) adhesion and proliferation on such nanofeatured silk fibroin wound dressings were studied in an initial attempt to determine the promotion of an epidermal cover on the wound bed to form a new epidermal barrier. Dermal fibroblast adhesion and proliferation were also studied to assess the ability of nanostructured silk fibroin to replace damaged dermal tissue in chronic wounds (i.e., for diabetic foot ulcers). Results demonstrated for the first time that keratinocyte and fibroblast cell density was greater on nanofeatured silk fibroin membranes compared with non-treated silk fibroin surfaces. The enhancement in cellular functions was correlated with an increase in silk surface nanotopography, wettability and change in chemistry after NaOH treatment. Due to the present promising results, the newly developed nanofeatured silk fibroin membranes are exciting alternative skin graft materials which should be further studied for various skin patch and wound dressing applications.

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

    PubMed

    Cranford, Steven W

    2013-05-06

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

  6. Stabilization and release of enzymes from silk films.

    PubMed

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

    2010-04-08

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-12

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

  8. Bioengineered Chimeric Spider Silk-Uranium Binding Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Krishnaji, Sreevidhya Tarakkad; Kaplan, David L.

    2014-01-01

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

  9. Palaeontology: spider-web silk from the Early Cretaceous.

    PubMed

    Zschokke, Samuel

    2003-08-07

    The use of viscid silk in aerial webs as a means to capture prey was a key innovation of araneoid spiders and has contributed largely to their ecological success. Here I describe a single silk thread from a spider's web that bears glue droplets and has been preserved in Lebanese amber from the Early Cretaceous period for about 130 million years. This specimen not only demonstrates the antiquity of viscid silk and of the spider superfamily Araneoidea, but is also some 90 million years older than the oldest viscid spider thread previously reported in Baltic amber from the Eocene epoch.

  10. Silk-Quality, Spinnability and Low Temperature Behavior

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-12-02

    AFRL-AFOSR-VA-TR-2015-0408 Silk-Quality, Spinnability and Low Temperature Behavior Fritz Vollrath THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD Final Report 12/02/2015...Performance 3. DATES COVERED (From - To) 01-06-2012 to 31-05-2015 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Silk-Quality, Spinnability and Low Temperature Behaviour 5a...period:  06/01/2012  -­‐05/31/2015   SILK  QUALITY,  SPINNABILITY  AND  LOW   TEMPERATURE  BEHAVIOUR.   PROF  FRITZ  VOLLRATH

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reed, Emily Jane

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

  12. Multilayered silk scaffolds for meniscus tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Mandal, Biman B; Park, Sang-Hyug; Gil, Eun S; Kaplan, David L

    2011-01-01

    Removal of injured/damaged meniscus, a vital fibrocartilaginous load-bearing tissue, impairs normal knee function and predisposes patients to osteoarthritis. Meniscus tissue engineering solution is one option to improve outcomes and relieve pain. In an attempt to fabricate knee meniscus grafts three layered wedge shaped silk meniscal scaffold system was engineered to mimic native meniscus architecture. The scaffolds were seeded with human fibroblasts (outside) and chondrocytes (inside) in a spatial separated mode similar to native tissue, in order to generate meniscus-like tissue in vitro. In chondrogenic culture in the presence of TGF-b3, cell-seeded constructs increased in cellularity and extracellular matrix (ECM) content. Histology and Immunohistochemistry confirmed maintenance of chondrocytic phenotype with higher levels of sulfated glycosaminoglycans (sGAG) and collagen types I and II. Improved scaffold mechanical properties along with ECM alignment with time in culture suggest this multiporous silk construct as a useful micro-patterned template for directed tissue growth with respect to form and function of meniscus-like tissue.

  13. Multilayered silk scaffolds for meniscus tissue engineering

    PubMed Central

    Mandal, Biman B.; Park, Sang-Hyug; Gil, Eun Seok

    2010-01-01

    Removal of injured/damaged meniscus, a vital fibrocartilaginous load-bearing tissue, impairs normal knee function and predisposes patients to osteoarthritis. Meniscus tissue engineering solution is one option to improve outcomes and relieve pain. In an attempt to fabricate knee meniscus grafts three layered wedge shaped silk meniscal scaffold system was engineered to mimic native meniscus architecture. The scaffolds were seeded with human fibroblasts (outside) and chondrocytes (inside) in a spatial separated mode similar to native tissue, in order to generate meniscus-like tissue in vitro. In chondrogenic culture in the presence of TGF-b3, cell seeded constructs increased in cellularity and extracellular matrix (ECM) content. Histology and Immunohistochemistry confirmed maintenance of chondrocytic phenotype with higher levels of sulphated glycosaminoglycans (sGAG) and collagen types I and II. Improved scaffold mechanical properties along with ECM alignment with time in culture suggest this multiporous silk construct as a useful micro-patterned template for directed tissue growth with respect to form and function of meniscus-like tissue. PMID:20926132

  14. Injectable silk foams for soft tissue regeneration.

    PubMed

    Bellas, Evangelia; Lo, Tim J; Fournier, Eric P; Brown, Joseph E; Abbott, Rosalyn D; Gil, Eun S; Marra, Kacey G; Rubin, J Peter; Leisk, Gary G; Kaplan, David L

    2015-02-18

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

  15. Injectable Silk Foams for Soft Tissue Regeneration

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-08-01

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

  17. Identification of multiple ear-colonizing insect and disease resistance in CIMMYT maize inbred lines with varying levels of silk maysin

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ninety four corn inbred lines selected from International Center for the Improvement of Maize and Wheat (CIMMYT) in Mexico were evaluated for levels of silk maysin in 2001 and 2002. Damage by major ear-feeding insects [i.e., the corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), the m...

  18. Synthetic Adhesive Attachment Discs based on Spider Pyriform Silk Architecture

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jain, Dharamdeep; Sahni, Vasav; Dhinojwala, Ali

    2014-03-01

    Among the variety of silks produced by spiders, pyriform silk is used in conjunction with the dragline silk to attach webs to different surfaces. Cob weaver spiders employ different architectural patterns to utilize the pyriform silk and form attachment joints with each pattern having a characteristic adhesive performance. The staple pin architecture is a one of the strongest attachment designs employed by spiders to attach their webs. Here we use a synthetic approach to create the a similar patterned architecture attachment discs on aluminum substrate using thermoplastic polyurethane. Measurable pull off forces are generated when the synthetic discs are peeled off a surface. This innovative adhesive strategy can be a source of design in various biomedical applications. Financial Support from National Science Foundation.

  19. [Research on the infrared spectrometry of aging silk fabrics].

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xiao-mei; Yuan, Si-xun

    2004-12-01

    The detection of deterioration degree of ancient silk fabrics will be helpful to the selection and developing of conservation methods. This paper carried out some research on the deterioration extent and mechanism of silk fabrics by means of infrared spectrometry. The samples artificially aged and excavated from Hubei, Innermongolia and Qinghai province, were analyzed. The artificially aging was done by simulating three main natural aging factors: light, heat and hydrolysis. The infrared spectrometric analysis results show that although the infrared spectrometry is a half-quantitative analysis method, for the hydrolysis-aged silk fabrics, it can give good qualitative and better half-quantitative analysis results because of the increase of carboxyl. So the infrared spectrometric analysis is of practical value for the conservation state and aging mechanism studies of ancient silk.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. Studies on Application of Aroma Finish on Silk Fabric

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hipparagi, Sanganna Aminappa; Srinivasa, Thirumalappa; Das, Brojeswari; Naik, Subhas Venkatappa; Purushotham, Serampur Parappa

    2016-10-01

    Aromatic treatments on textiles have gained importance in the recent years. In the present article work has been done on fragrance finish application on silk material. Silk is an expensive natural fibre used for apparel purpose and known for its feel and appeal. Incorporation of fragrance material in silk product, will add more value to it. Present work focuses to impart durable aroma finish for silk products to be home washed or subjected to dry cleaning. Microencapsulated aroma chemical has been used for the treatment. Impregnation method, Exhaust method, Dip-Pad-Dry method and Spray method have been used to see the influence of application method on the uptake and performance. Evaluation of the aroma treated material has been done through subjective evaluation as per Odor Intensity Reference Scaling (OIRS). Effect of the aroma finishing on the physical properties of the fabric has also been studied. No adverse effect has been observed on the stiffness of the fabric after the aroma treatment.

  3. VIEW ALONG SEVENTEENTH STREET. NOTE THE MATURE SILK OAK TREES ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    VIEW ALONG SEVENTEENTH STREET. NOTE THE MATURE SILK OAK TREES LINING THE STREET, WHICH DO NOT PROVIDE A CANOPY VIEW FACING NORTHWEST. - Hickam Field, Hickam Historic Housing, Honolulu, Honolulu County, HI

  4. Silk fibroin and polyethylene glycol-based biocompatible tissue adhesives

    PubMed Central

    Serban, Monica A.; Panilaitis, Bruce; Kaplan, David L.

    2012-01-01

    Tissue sealants have emerged in recent years as strong candidates for hemostasis. A variety of formulations are currently commercially available and though they satisfy many of the markets’ needs there are still key aspects of each that need improvement. Here we present a new class of blends, based on silk fibroin and chemically active polyethylene glycols (PEGs) with strong adhesive properties. These materials are cytocompatible, crosslink within seconds via chemical reaction between thiols and maleimides present on the constituent PEGs and have the potential to further stabilize through β-sheet formation by silk. Based on the silk concentration in the final formulation, the adhesive properties of these materials are comparable or better than the current leading PEG-based sealant. In addition, the silk-PEG based materials show decreased swelling and longer degradation times. Such properties would make them suitable for applications for which the current sealants are contraindicated. PMID:21681949

  5. Fabrication of silk sericin nanofibers from a silk sericin-hope cocoon with electrospinning method.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xianhua; Khan, Md Majibur Rahman; Yamamoto, Toshio; Tsukada, Masuhiro; Morikawa, Hideaki

    2012-03-01

    In this study, silk sericin nanofibers from sericin hope-silkworm, whose cocoons consist almost exclusively of sericin were successfully prepared by electrospinning method. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to observe the morphology of the fibers. The effect of spinning conditions, including the concentration of sericin cocoon solution, acceleration voltage, spinning distance and flow rate on the fiber morphologies and the size distribution of sericin nanofibers were examined. The structure and physical properties were also observed by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TG). The optimum conditions for producing finely thinner fibrous sericin nanofibers without beads were the concentration of sericin solution above 6-8 wt%, acceleration voltage ranging from 25 to 32 kV, spinning distance above 9 cm, and flow rate above 0.06 cm min(-1). The mean diameter of as spun sericin fibers varied from 114 to 430 nm at the different spinning conditions. In the as-spun fibers, silk sericin was present in a random coil conformation, while after methanol treatment, the molecular structure of silk sericin was transformed into a β-sheet containing structure. Sericin hope nanofiber demonstrated thermal degradation at lower temperature than the sericin hope cocoon, which probably due to the randomly coiled rich structure of the sericin hope nanofiber.

  6. The effects of corn silk on glycaemic metabolism

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-28

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

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

    PubMed

    Keten, Sinan; Buehler, Markus J

    2010-12-06

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

  9. Recombinant spider silk genetically functionalized with affinity domains.

    PubMed

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

    2014-05-12

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

  10. 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.

  11. Biomolecular Evidence of Silk from 8,500 Years Ago

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Pottery, bone implements, and stone tools are routinely found at Neolithic sites. However, the integrity of textiles or silk is susceptible to degradation, and it is therefore very difficult for such materials to be preserved for 8,000 years. Although previous studies have provided important evidence of the emergence of weaving skills and tools, such as figuline spinning wheels and osseous lamellas with traces of filament winding, there is a lack of direct evidence proving the existence of silk. In this paper, we explored evidence of prehistoric silk fibroin through the analysis of soil samples collected from three tombs at the Neolithic site of Jiahu. Mass spectrometry was employed and integrated with proteomics to characterize the key peptides of silk fibroin. The direct biomolecular evidence reported here showed the existence of prehistoric silk fibroin, which was found in 8,500-year-old tombs. Rough weaving tools and bone needles were also excavated, indicating the possibility that the Jiahu residents may possess the basic weaving and sewing skills in making textile. This finding may advance the study of the history of silk, and the civilization of the Neolithic Age. PMID:27941996

  12. Transmission Electron Microscopy of Bombyx Mori Silk Fibers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shen, Y.; Martin, D. C.

    1997-03-01

    The microstructure of B. Mori silk fibers before and after degumming was examined by TEM, selected area electron diffraction (SAED), WAXS and low voltage SEM. SEM micrographs of the neat cocoon revealed a network of pairs of twisting filaments. After degumming, there were only individual filaments showing a surface texture consistent with an oriented fibrillar structure in the fiber interior. WAXS patterns confirmed the oriented beta-sheet crystal structure common to silkworm and spider silks. Low dose SAED results were fully consistent with the WAXS data, and revealed that the crystallographic texture did not vary significantly across the fiber diameter. TEM observations of microtomed fiber cross sections indicated a somewhat irregular shape, and also revealed a 0.5-2 micron sericin coating which was removed by the degumming process. TEM observations of the degummed silk fiber showed banded features with a characteristic spacing of nominally 600 nm along the fiber axis. These bands were oriented in a roughly parabolic or V-shape pointing along one axis within a given fiber. We hypothesize that this orientation is induced by the extrusion during the spinning process. Equatorial DF images revealed that axial and lateral sizes of the β-sheet crystallites in silk fibroin ranged from 20 to 170 nm and from 1 to 24 nm, respectively. Crazes developed in the degummed silk fiber parallel to the fiber direction. The formation of these crazes suggests that there are significant lateral interactions between fibrils in silk fibers.

  13. 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

  14. Piriform spider silk sequences reveal unique repetitive elements.

    PubMed

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

    2010-11-08

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

  15. Amorphous Silk Fibroin Membranes for Separation of CO2

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Aberg, Christopher M.; Patel, Anand K.; Gil, Eun Seok; Spontak, Richard J.; Hagg, May-Britt

    2009-01-01

    Amorphous silk fibroin has shown promise as a polymeric material derivable from natural sources for making membranes for use in removing CO2 from mixed-gas streams. For most applications of silk fibroin, for purposes other than gas separation, this material is used in its highly crystalline, nearly natural form because this form has uncommonly high tensile strength. However, the crystalline phase of silk fibroin is impermeable, making it necessary to convert the material to amorphous form to obtain the high permeability needed for gas separation. Accordingly, one aspect of the present development is a process for generating amorphous silk fibroin by treating native silk fibroin in an aqueous methanol/salt solution. The resulting material remains self-standing and can be prepared as thin film suitable for permeation testing. The permeability of this material by pure CO2 has been found to be highly improved, and its mixed-gas permeability has been found to exceed the mixed-gas permeabilities of several ultrahigh-CO2-permeable synthetic polymers. Only one of the synthetic polymers poly(trimethylsilylpropyne) [PTMSP] may be more highly permeable by CO2. PTMSP becomes unstable with time, whereas amorphous silk should not, although at the time of this reporting this has not been conclusively proven.

  16. Silk fabrics in the management of atopic dermatitis.

    PubMed

    Ricci, Giampaolo; Neri, Iria; Ricci, Lorenza; Patrizi, Annalisa

    2012-03-01

    Many factors may worsen atopic dermatitis (AD) including sweating, skin infections, food, inhalant allergens, climatic conditions, stress, and chemical or physical irritants. Especially in children, clothing can be an effective barrier against flare-inducing factors and persistent scratching, allowing more rapid improvement of the eczematous lesions. On the contrary, some fabrics used for clothing may exacerbate skin conditions due to their rough fibers, such as wool and nylon. Conventional silk has smooth fibers that are generally woven for textiles in the manufacturing of clothes, but this material is not particularly useful in the management of children with AD since it reduces transpiration and may cause discomfort. Herein, we evaluate the data concerning a special silk fabric (MICROAIR DermaSilk®) shown to be suitable for patients with AD. The unique properties of this knitted silk allow the skin to breathe and lack irritative potential. Moreover, this fabric is treated with a water-resistant antimicrobial finish known as AEGIS AEM 5772/5. This novel knitted silk fabric appears to be useful in managing children with AD due to its non-irritating and antibacterial features. Additionally, a synthetic silk-like fabric (DermaTherapy®) has received US FDA clearance as a Class I medical device and is commercially available as bedding; their use by AD patients has shown interesting results.

  17. Silk Fiber Mechanics from Multiscale Force Distribution Analysis

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    Here we decipher the molecular determinants for the extreme toughness of spider silk fibers. Our bottom-up computational approach incorporates molecular dynamics and finite element simulations. Therefore, the approach allows the analysis of the internal strain distribution and load-carrying motifs in silk fibers on scales of both molecular and continuum mechanics. We thereby dissect the contributions from the nanoscale building blocks, the soft amorphous and the strong crystalline subunits, to silk fiber mechanics. We identify the amorphous subunits not only to give rise to high elasticity, but to also ensure efficient stress homogenization through the friction between entangled chains, which also allows the crystals to withstand stresses as high as 2 GPa in the context of the amorphous matrix. We show that the maximal toughness of silk is achieved at 10–40% crystallinity depending on the distribution of crystals in the fiber. We also determined a serial arrangement of the crystalline and amorphous subunits in lamellae to outperform a random or a parallel arrangement, putting forward what we believe to be a new structural model for silk and other semicrystalline materials. The multiscale approach, not requiring any empirical parameters, is applicable to other partially ordered polymeric systems. Hence, it is an efficient tool for the design of artificial silk fibers. PMID:21354403

  18. Compliant threads maximize spider silk connection strength and toughness.

    PubMed

    Meyer, Avery; Pugno, Nicola M; Cranford, Steven W

    2014-09-06

    Millions of years of evolution have adapted spider webs to achieve a range of functionalities, including the well-known capture of prey, with efficient use of material. One feature that has escaped extensive investigation is the silk-on-silk connection joints within spider webs, particularly from a structural mechanics perspective. We report a joint theoretical and computational analysis of an idealized silk-on-silk fibre junction. By modifying the theory of multiple peeling, we quantitatively compare the performance of the system while systematically increasing the rigidity of the anchor thread, by both scaling the stress-strain response and the introduction of an applied pre-strain. The results of our study indicate that compliance is a virtue-the more extensible the anchorage, the tougher and stronger the connection becomes. In consideration of the theoretical model, in comparison with rigid substrates, a compliant anchorage enormously increases the effective adhesion strength (work required to detach), independent of the adhered thread itself, attributed to a nonlinear alignment between thread and anchor (contact peeling angle). The results can direct novel engineering design principles to achieve possible load transfer from compliant fibre-to-fibre anchorages, be they silk-on-silk or another, as-yet undeveloped, system.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Presence of phosphorus in Nephila clavipes dragline silk.

    PubMed

    Michal, C A; Simmons, A H; Chew, B G; Zax, D B; Jelinski, L W

    1996-01-01

    Solid-state 31P-NMR of Nephila clavipes dragline silk indicates the presence of phosphorus in at least two chemically distinct environments. Amino acid analyses of acid-hydrolyzed silk confirm the presence of phosphotyrosine as one of the phosphorus-containing components. The unusual chemical shift (18.9 ppm downfield from 85% H3PO4), proton chemical shift, and acid lability of a second component suggest that it is part of a strained five-membered cyclic phosphate that might be found on a beta-D-ribose. The five-membered cyclic phosphate is not removed from the silk fibers by exhaustive aqueous extraction. It is absent in nascent silk fibroin from the glands, suggesting that its formation is part of the fiber processing that occurs in the ducts leading to the spinnerets. High-resolution NMR spectra of silk dissolved in propionic acid/12 N HCl (50:50 v/v) show five phosphorus sites assigned to phosphorylated tyrosine residues, phosphorylated serine residues, inorganic phosphate, and two hydrolysis products of the cyclic phosphate compound. The observed posttranslational phosphorylation may be important in the processing and modulation of the physical properties of dragline silk.

  2. Biomolecular Evidence of Silk from 8,500 Years Ago.

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    Pottery, bone implements, and stone tools are routinely found at Neolithic sites. However, the integrity of textiles or silk is susceptible to degradation, and it is therefore very difficult for such materials to be preserved for 8,000 years. Although previous studies have provided important evidence of the emergence of weaving skills and tools, such as figuline spinning wheels and osseous lamellas with traces of filament winding, there is a lack of direct evidence proving the existence of silk. In this paper, we explored evidence of prehistoric silk fibroin through the analysis of soil samples collected from three tombs at the Neolithic site of Jiahu. Mass spectrometry was employed and integrated with proteomics to characterize the key peptides of silk fibroin. The direct biomolecular evidence reported here showed the existence of prehistoric silk fibroin, which was found in 8,500-year-old tombs. Rough weaving tools and bone needles were also excavated, indicating the possibility that the Jiahu residents may possess the basic weaving and sewing skills in making textile. This finding may advance the study of the history of silk, and the civilization of the Neolithic Age.

  3. Compliant threads maximize spider silk connection strength and toughness

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, Avery; Pugno, Nicola M.; Cranford, Steven W.

    2014-01-01

    Millions of years of evolution have adapted spider webs to achieve a range of functionalities, including the well-known capture of prey, with efficient use of material. One feature that has escaped extensive investigation is the silk-on-silk connection joints within spider webs, particularly from a structural mechanics perspective. We report a joint theoretical and computational analysis of an idealized silk-on-silk fibre junction. By modifying the theory of multiple peeling, we quantitatively compare the performance of the system while systematically increasing the rigidity of the anchor thread, by both scaling the stress–strain response and the introduction of an applied pre-strain. The results of our study indicate that compliance is a virtue—the more extensible the anchorage, the tougher and stronger the connection becomes. In consideration of the theoretical model, in comparison with rigid substrates, a compliant anchorage enormously increases the effective adhesion strength (work required to detach), independent of the adhered thread itself, attributed to a nonlinear alignment between thread and anchor (contact peeling angle). The results can direct novel engineering design principles to achieve possible load transfer from compliant fibre-to-fibre anchorages, be they silk-on-silk or another, as-yet undeveloped, system. PMID:25008083

  4. Formation of different gold nanostructures by silk nanofibrils.

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

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

  5. Silk fibroin scaffolds for urologic tissue engineering

    PubMed Central

    Sack, Bryan S.; Mauney, Joshua R.; Estrada, Carlos R.

    2016-01-01

    Urologic tissue engineering efforts have been largely focused on bladder and urethral defect repair. The current surgical gold standard for treatment of poorly compliant pathological bladders and severe urethral stricture disease is enterocystoplasty and onlay urethroplasty with autologous tissue, respectively. The complications associated with autologous tissue use and harvesting have led to efforts to develop tissue-engineered alternatives. Natural and synthetic materials have been used with varying degrees of success, but none has proved consistently reliable for urologic tissue defect repair in humans. Silk fibroin (SF) scaffolds have been tested in bladder and urethral repair because of their favorable biomechanical properties including structural strength, elasticity, biodegradability and biocompatibility. SF scaffolds have been used in multiple animal models, and have demonstrated robust regeneration of smooth muscle and urothelium. The pre-clinical data involving SF scaffolds in urologic defect repair are encouraging and suggest that they hold potential for future clinical use. PMID:26801192

  6. Electricity from the Silk Cocoon Membrane

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Silk cocoon membrane (SCM) is an insect engineered structure. We studied the electrical properties of mulberry (Bombyx mori) and non-mulberry (Tussar, Antheraea mylitta) SCM. When dry, SCM behaves like an insulator. On absorbing moisture, it generates electrical current, which is modulated by temperature. The current flowing across the SCM is possibly ionic and protonic in nature. We exploited the electrical properties of SCM to develop simple energy harvesting devices, which could operate low power electronic systems. Based on our findings, we propose that the temperature and humidity dependent electrical properties of the SCM could find applications in battery technology, bio-sensor, humidity sensor, steam engines and waste heat management. PMID:24961354

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Wang, Fei; Zhang, Yu-Qing

    2017-05-01

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

  9. 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

  10. Multifunctional Silk Nerve Guides for Axon Outgrowth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tupaj, Marie C.

    Peripheral nerve regeneration is a critical issue as 2.8% of trauma patients present with this type of injury, estimating a total of 200,000 nerve repair procedures yearly in the United States. While the peripheral nervous system exhibits slow regeneration, at a rate of 0.5 mm -- 9 mm/day following trauma, this regenerative ability is only possible under certain conditions. Clinical repairs have changed slightly in the last 30 years and standard methods of treatment include suturing damaged nerve ends, allografting, and autografting, with the autograft the gold standard of these approaches. Unfortunately, the use of autografts requires a second surgery and there is a shortage of nerves available for grafting. Allografts are a second option however allografts have lower success rates and are accompanied by the need of immunosuppressant drugs. Recently there has been a focus on developing nerve guides as an "off the shelf" approach. Although some natural and synthetic guidance channels have been approved by the FDA, these nerve guides are unfunctionalized and repair only short gaps, less than 3 cm in length. The goal of this project was to identify strategies for functionalizing peripheral nerve conduits for the outgrowth of neuron axons in vitro . To accomplish this, two strategies (bioelectrical and biophysical) were indentified for increasing axon outgrowth and promoting axon guidance. Bioelectrical strategies exploited electrical stimulation for increasing neurite outgrowth. Biophysical strategies tested a range of surface topographies for axon guidance. Novel methods were developed for integrating electrical and biophysical strategies into silk films in 2D. Finally, a functionalized nerve conduit system was developed that integrated all strategies for the purpose of attaching, elongating, and guiding nervous tissue in vitro. Future directions of this work include silk conduit translation into a rat sciatic nerve model in vivo for the purpose of repairing long

  11. Highly water-absorbing silk yarn with interpenetrating network via in situ polymerization.

    PubMed

    Lee, Ka I; Wang, Xiaowen; Guo, Xia; Yung, Ka-Fu; Fei, Bin

    2017-02-01

    Silk was modified via in situ polymerization of two monomers acrylamide and sodium acrylate by swelling in an effective LiBr dissolution system. Swelling of natural silks in LiBr solutions of low concentration was clearly observed under optical microscope, and their conformational changes were revealed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Dissolution tests and FTIR spectra of these modified silks suggested the presence of interpenetrating network of polyacrylamide and poly(sodium acrylate) in the silk yarns. These modified silks exhibited superior water absorption to that of raw silk and greatly improved mechanical properties in both dry and wet states. These novel modified silks also showed low cytotoxicity towards skin keratinocytes, having potential applications in biomedical textiles. This modification method by in situ polymerization after swelling in LiBr provides a new route to highly enhance the properties and performance of silk for various applications.

  12. Tough silk fibers prepared in air using a biomimetic microfluidic chip.

    PubMed

    Luo, Jie; Zhang, Lele; Peng, Qingfa; Sun, Mengjie; Zhang, Yaopeng; Shao, Huili; Hu, Xuechao

    2014-05-01

    Microfluidic chips with single channel were built to mimic the shear and elongation conditions in the spinning apparatus of spider and silkworm. Silk fibers dry-spun from regenerated silk fibroin (RSF) aqueous solution using the chip could be tougher than degummed natural silk. The artificial silk exhibited a breaking strength up to 614 MPa, a breaking elongation up to 27% and a breaking energy of 101 kJ/kg.

  13. Design and Research of Service Platform for Protection and Dissemination of Cultural Heritage Resources of The Silk Road in the Territory of China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, L.; Zhang, W.; Zeng, S. J.; Na, W.; Yang, H.; Huang, J.; Tan, X. D.; Sun, Z. J.

    2015-08-01

    The Silk Road, a major traffic route across the Eurasia continent, has been a convergence for the exchange, communication and dissemination of various cultures such as nations, materials, religions and arts for more than two thousand years. And the cultural heritage along the long and complicate route has been also attractive. In recent years, the Silk Road - the Road Network along the Chang'an-Tianshan Mountain has been listed in the Directory of World Cultural Heritage. The rare and rich cultural resources along the Silk Road, especially those in the territory of China, have attracted attentions of the world. This article describes the research ideas, methods, processes and results of the planning design on the internet-based dissemination services platform system for cultural heritage resources. First of all, it has defined the targeting for dissemination services and the research methods applied for the Silk Road heritage resources, based on scientific and objective spatial measurement and research on history and geography, to carry on the excavation of values of cultural resource for the target users. Then, with the front-end art exhibit by means of innovative IT, time and space maps of cultural heritage resources, interactive graphics display, panoramic three-dimensional virtual tour, and the Silk Road topics as the main features, a comprehensive and multi-angle cultural resources dissemination services platform is built. The research core of the platform is a demand-oriented system design on the basis of cultural resources and features as the fundamental, the value of contemporary manifestation as the foundation, and cultural dissemination and service as a starting point. This platform has achieved, temporal context generalization, interest profiles extension, online and offline adaptation, and other prominent innovations. On the basis of routes heritage resource protection and dissemination services with complex relationship between time and space, and the

  14. Synthetic Spider Silk Production on a Laboratory Scale

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Synthetic spider silk production on a laboratory scale.

    PubMed

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

    2012-07-18

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

  18. Derivation of a variational principle for plane strain elastic-plastic silk biopolymers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, J. H.; Liu, F. J.; Cao, J. H.; Zhang, L.

    2014-01-01

    Silk biopolymers, such as spider silk and Bombyx mori silk, behave always elastic-plastically. An elastic-plastic model is adopted and a variational principle for the small strain, rate plasticity problem is established by semi-inverse method. A trial Lagrangian is constructed where an unknown function is included which can be identified step by step.

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  3. A novel property of spider silk: chemical defence against ants.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Shichang; Koh, Teck Hui; Seah, Wee Khee; Lai, Yee Hing; Elgar, Mark A; Li, Daiqin

    2012-05-07

    Spider webs are made of silk, the properties of which ensure remarkable efficiency at capturing prey. However, remaining on, or near, the web exposes the resident spiders to many potential predators, such as ants. Surprisingly, ants are rarely reported foraging on the webs of orb-weaving spiders, despite the formidable capacity of ants to subdue prey and repel enemies, the diversity and abundance of orb-web spiders, and the nutritional value of the web and resident spider. We explain this paradox by reporting a novel property of the silk produced by the orb-web spider Nephila antipodiana (Walckenaer). These spiders deposit on the silk a pyrrolidine alkaloid (2-pyrrolidinone) that provides protection from ant invasion. Furthermore, the ontogenetic change in the production of 2-pyrrolidinone suggests that this compound represents an adaptive response to the threat of natural enemies, rather than a simple by-product of silk synthesis: while 2-pyrrolidinone occurs on the silk threads produced by adult and large juvenile spiders, it is absent on threads produced by small juvenile spiders, whose threads are sufficiently thin to be inaccessible to ants.

  4. 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.

  5. Spider web and silk performance landscapes across nutrient space

    PubMed Central

    Blamires, Sean J.; Tseng, Yi-Hsuan; Wu, Chung-Lin; Toft, Søren; Raubenheimer, David; Tso, I.-Min

    2016-01-01

    Predators have been shown to alter their foraging as a regulatory response to recent feeding history, but it remains unknown whether trap building predators modulate their traps similarly as a regulatory strategy. Here we fed the orb web spider Nephila pilipes either live crickets, dead crickets with webs stimulated by flies, or dead crickets without web stimulation, over 21 days to enforce spiders to differentially extract nutrients from a single prey source. In addition to the nutrients extracted we measured web architectures, silk tensile properties, silk amino acid compositions, and web tension after each feeding round. We then plotted web and silk “performance landscapes” across nutrient space. The landscapes had multiple peaks and troughs for each web and silk performance parameter. The findings suggest that N. pilipes plastically adjusts the chemical and physical properties of their web and silk in accordance with its nutritional history. Our study expands the application of the geometric framework foraging model to include a type of predatory trap. Whether it can be applied to other predatory traps requires further testing. PMID:27216252

  6. Peroxidase-catalysed interfacial adhesion of aquatic caddisworm silk

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Ching-Shuen; Pan, Huaizhong; Weerasekare, G. Mahika; Stewart, Russell J.

    2015-01-01

    Casemaker caddisfly (Hesperophylax occidentalis) larvae use adhesive silk fibres to construct protective shelters under water. The silk comprises a distinct peripheral coating on a viscoelastic fibre core. Caddisworm silk peroxinectin (csPxt), a haem-peroxidase, was shown to be glycosylated by lectin affinity chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. Using high-resolution H2O2 and peroxidase-dependent silver ion reduction and nanoparticle deposition, imaged by electron microscopy, csPxt activity was shown to be localized in the peripheral layer of drawn silk fibres. CsPxt catalyses dityrosine cross-linking within the adhesive peripheral layer post-draw, initiated perhaps by H2O2 generated by a silk gland-specific superoxide dismutase 3 (csSOD3) from environmental reactive oxygen species present in natural water. CsSOD3 was also shown to be a glycoprotein and is likely localized in the peripheral layer. Using a synthetic fluorescent phenolic copolymer and confocal microscopy, it was shown that csPxt catalyses oxidative cross-linking to external polyphenolic compounds capable of diffusive interpenetration into the fuzzy peripheral coating, including humic acid, a natural surface-active polyphenol. The results provide evidence of enzyme-mediated covalent cross-linking of a natural bioadhesive to polyphenol conditioned interfaces as a mechanism of permanent adhesion underwater. PMID:26490632

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

    PubMed

    Lee, Myungjae; Jeon, Heonsu; Kim, Sunghwan

    2015-05-13

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

  8. Non-mulberry Silk Fibroin Biomaterial for Corneal Regeneration

    PubMed Central

    Hazra, Sarbani; Nandi, Sudip; Naskar, Deboki; Guha, Rajdeep; Chowdhury, Sushovan; Pradhan, Nirparaj; Kundu, Subhas C.; Konar, Aditya

    2016-01-01

    Purpose: Successful repair of a damaged corneal surface is a great challenge and may require the use of a scaffold that supports cell growth and differentiation. Amniotic membrane is currently used for this purpose, in spite of its limitations. A thin transparent silk fibroin film from non-mulberry Antheraea mylitta (Am) has been developed which offers to be a promising alternative. The silk scaffolds provide sufficient rigidity for easy handling, the scaffolds support the sprouting, migration, attachment and growth of epithelial cells and keratocytes from rat corneal explants; the cells form a cell sheet, preserve their phenotypes, express cytokeratin3 and vimentin respectively. The films also support growth of limbal stem cell evidenced by expression of ABCG2. The cell growth on the silk film and the amniotic membrane is comparable. The implanted film within the rabbit cornea remains transparent, stable. The clinical examination as well as histology shows absence of any inflammatory response or neovascularization. The corneal surface integrity is maintained; tear formation, intraocular pressure and electroretinography of implanted eyes show no adverse changes. The silk fibroin film from non-mulberry silk worms may be a worthy candidate for use as a corneal scaffold. PMID:26908015

  9. Spider web and silk performance landscapes across nutrient space.

    PubMed

    Blamires, Sean J; Tseng, Yi-Hsuan; Wu, Chung-Lin; Toft, Søren; Raubenheimer, David; Tso, I-Min

    2016-05-24

    Predators have been shown to alter their foraging as a regulatory response to recent feeding history, but it remains unknown whether trap building predators modulate their traps similarly as a regulatory strategy. Here we fed the orb web spider Nephila pilipes either live crickets, dead crickets with webs stimulated by flies, or dead crickets without web stimulation, over 21 days to enforce spiders to differentially extract nutrients from a single prey source. In addition to the nutrients extracted we measured web architectures, silk tensile properties, silk amino acid compositions, and web tension after each feeding round. We then plotted web and silk "performance landscapes" across nutrient space. The landscapes had multiple peaks and troughs for each web and silk performance parameter. The findings suggest that N. pilipes plastically adjusts the chemical and physical properties of their web and silk in accordance with its nutritional history. Our study expands the application of the geometric framework foraging model to include a type of predatory trap. Whether it can be applied to other predatory traps requires further testing.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

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

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

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

  13. 3D Printing of Hierarchical Silk Fibroin Structures.

    PubMed

    Sommer, Marianne R; Schaffner, Manuel; Carnelli, Davide; Studart, André R

    2016-12-21

    Like many other natural materials, silk is hierarchically structured from the amino acid level up to the cocoon or spider web macroscopic structures. Despite being used industrially in a number of applications, hierarchically structured silk fibroin objects with a similar degree of architectural control as in natural structures have not been produced yet due to limitations in fabrication processes. In a combined top-down and bottom-up approach, we exploit the freedom in macroscopic design offered by 3D printing and the template-guided assembly of ink building blocks at the meso- and nanolevel to fabricate hierarchical silk porous materials with unprecedented structural control. Pores with tunable sizes in the range 40-350 μm are generated by adding sacrificial organic microparticles as templates to a silk fibroin-based ink. Commercially available wax particles or monodisperse polycaprolactone made by microfluidics can be used as microparticle templates. Since closed pores are generated after template removal, an ultrasonication treatment can optionally be used to achieve open porosity. Such pore templating particles can be further modified with nanoparticles to create a hierarchical template that results in porous structures with a defined nanotopography on the pore walls. The hierarchically porous silk structures obtained with this processing technique can potentially be utilized in various application fields from structural materials to thermal insulation to tissue engineering scaffolds.

  14. 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.

  15. Impact and dynamic mechanical thermal properties of textile silk reinforced epoxy resin composites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, K.; Guan, J.

    2016-07-01

    Silk fabric reinforced epoxy resin composites (SFRPs) were prepared using simple techniques of hand lay-up, hot-press and vacuum treatment, and a series of volume fractions of silk reinforcements were achieved. The impact properties and dynamic mechanical properties of SFRPs were investigated using a pendulum impact testing method and dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA). The results suggest that silk reinforcement could greatly enhance the mechanical performances of SFRPs. The impact strength reached a maximum of 71 kJ/m2 for 60%-silk SFRP, which demonstrated a potential of silk composites for defence and impact- resistant materials.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. Use of extension-deformation-based crystallisation of silk fibres to differentiate their functions in nature.

    PubMed

    Numata, Keiji; Masunaga, Hiroyasu; Hikima, Takaaki; Sasaki, Sono; Sekiyama, Kazuhide; Takata, Masaki

    2015-08-21

    β-Sheet crystals play an important role in determining the stiffness, strength, and optical properties of silk and in the exhibition of silk-type-specific functions. It is important to elucidate the structural changes that occur during the stretching of silk fibres to understand the functions of different types of fibres. Herein, we elucidate the initial crystallisation behaviour of silk molecules during the stretching of three types of silk fibres using synchrotron radiation X-ray analysis. When spider dragline silk was stretched, it underwent crystallisation and the alignment of the β-sheet crystals became disordered initially but was later recovered. On the other hand, silkworm cocoon silk did not exhibit further crystallisation, whereas capture spiral silk was predominantly amorphous. Structural analyses showed that the crystallisation of silks following extension deformation has a critical effect on their mechanical and optical properties. These findings should aid the production of artificial silk fibres and facilitate the development of silk-inspired functional materials.

  19. Environmentally friendly surface modification of silk fiber: Chitosan grafting and dyeing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davarpanah, Saideh; Mahmoodi, Niyaz Mohammad; Arami, Mokhtar; Bahrami, Hajir; Mazaheri, Firoozmehr

    2009-01-01

    In this paper, the surface modification of silk fiber using anhydrides to graft the polysaccharide chitosan and dyeing ability of the grafted silk were studied. Silk fiber was degummed and acylated with two anhydrides, succinic anhydride (SA) and phthalic anhydride (PA), in different solvents (dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and N, N-dimethyl formamide (DMF)). The effects of anhydrides, solvents, anhydride concentration, liquor ratio (L:R) and reaction time on acylation of silk were studied. The polysaccharide chitosan was grafted to the acylated silk fiber and dyed by acid dye (Acid Black NB.B). The effects of pH, chitosan concentration, and reaction time on chitosan grafting of acylated silk were investigated. The physical properties show sensible changes regardless of weight gain. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis showed the presence of foreign materials firmly attached to the surface of silk. FTIR spectroscopy provided evidence that chitosan was grafted onto the acylated silk through the formation of new covalent bonds. The dyeing of the chitosan grafted-acylated silk fiber indicated the higher dye ability in comparison to the acylated and degummed silk samples. The mechanism of chitosan grafting over degummed silk through anhydride linkage was proposed. The findings of this research support the potential production of new environmentally friendly textile fibers. It is worthwhile to mention that the grafted samples have antibacterial potential due to the antibacterial property of chitosan molecules.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. The use of silk-based devices for fracture fixation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perrone, Gabriel S.; Leisk, Gary G.; Lo, Tim J.; Moreau, Jodie E.; Haas, Dylan S.; Papenburg, Bernke J.; Golden, Ethan B.; Partlow, Benjamin P.; Fox, Sharon E.; Ibrahim, Ahmed M. S.; Lin, Samuel J.; Kaplan, David L.

    2014-03-01

    Metallic fixation systems are currently the gold standard for fracture fixation but have problems including stress shielding, palpability and temperature sensitivity. Recently, resorbable systems have gained interest because they avoid removal and may improve bone remodelling due to the lack of stress shielding. However, their use is limited to paediatric craniofacial procedures mainly due to the laborious implantation requirements. Here we prepare and characterize a new family of resorbable screws prepared from silk fibroin for craniofacial fracture repair. In vivo assessment in rat femurs shows the screws to be self-tapping, remain fixed in the bone for 4 and 8 weeks, exhibit biocompatibility and promote bone remodelling. The silk-based devices compare favourably with current poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid fixation systems, however, silk-based devices offer numerous advantages including ease of implantation, conformal fit to the repair site, sterilization by autoclaving and minimal inflammatory response.

  3. A simple model of multiphoton micromachining in silk hydrogels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Applegate, Matthew B.; Alonzo, Carlo; Georgakoudi, Irene; Kaplan, David L.; Omenetto, Fiorenzo G.

    2016-06-01

    High resolution three-dimensional voids can be directly written into transparent silk fibroin hydrogels using ultrashort pulses of near-infrared (NIR) light. Here, we propose a simple finite-element model that can be used to predict the size and shape of individual features under various exposure conditions. We compare predicted and measured feature volumes for a wide range of parameters and use the model to determine optimum conditions for maximum material removal. The simplicity of the model implies that the mechanism of multiphoton induced void creation in silk is due to direct absorption of light energy rather than diffusion of heat or other photoproducts, and confirms that multiphoton absorption of NIR light in silk is purely a 3-photon process.

  4. Surface Modification and Characterisation of Silk Fibroin Fabric Produced by the Layer-by-Layer Self-Assembly of Multilayer Alginate/Regenerated Silk Fibroin

    PubMed Central

    Shen, Gaotian; Hu, Xingyou; Guan, Guoping; Wang, Lu

    2015-01-01

    Silk-based medical products have a long history of use as a material for surgical sutures because of their desirable mechanical properties. However, silk fibroin fabric has been reported to be haemolytic when in direct contact with blood. The layer-by-layer self-assembly technique provides a method for surface modification to improve the biocompatibility of silk fibroin fabrics. Regenerated silk fibroin and alginate, which have excellent biocompatibility and low immunogenicity, are outstanding candidates for polyelectrolyte deposition. In this study, silk fabric was degummed and positively charged to create a silk fibroin fabric that could undergo self-assembly. The multilayer self-assembly of the silk fibroin fabric was achieved by alternating the polyelectrolyte deposition of a negatively charged alginate solution (pH = 8) and a positively charged regenerated silk fibroin solution (pH = 2). Finally, the negatively charged regenerated silk fibroin solution (pH = 8) was used to assemble the outermost layer of the fabric so that the surface would be negatively charged. A stable structural transition was induced using 75% ethanol. The thickness and morphology were characterised using atomic force microscopy. The properties of the self-assembled silk fibroin fabric, such as the bursting strength, thermal stability and flushing stability, indicated that the fabric was stable. In addition, the cytocompatibility and haemocompatibility of the self-assembled silk fibroin fabrics were evaluated. The results indicated that the biocompatibility of the self-assembled multilayers was acceptable and that it improved markedly. In particular, after the self-assembly, the fabric was able to prevent platelet adhesion. Furthermore, other non-haemolytic biomaterials can be created through self-assembly of more than 1.5 bilayers, and we propose that self-assembled silk fibroin fabric may be an attractive candidate for anticoagulation applications and for promoting endothelial cell

  5. Electroconductive polymer-coated silk fiber electrodes for neural recording and stimulation in vivo

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watanabe, Satoshi; Takahashi, Hideyuki; Torimitsu, Keiichi

    2017-03-01

    We fabricated a silk-based low-impedance flexible electrode by coating a silk thread with the electroconductive polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) doped with p-toluenesulfonate (PEDOT:pTS). This electrode had a lower impedance (about 1.8 kΩ/cm) than the silk electrode coated with PEDOT doped with poly(styrene sulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) (about 1.3 MΩ/cm) reported previously. Using this electrode, a novel gamma-band oscillatory activity was recorded in the electrocorticogram from the embryonic chick brain with a high signal-to-noise ratio. Electrical stimulation was also possible with the silk electrode. We also fabricated an all-silk electrode array and recorded synchronized gamma oscillations. These results demonstrate that the silk electrode can be used for electrophysiological recording and local stimulation in vivo. The silk electrode has the potential to be used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes and as a brain–machine interface.

  6. Lyophilized Silk Sponges: A Versatile Biomaterial Platform for Soft Tissue Engineering

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    We present a silk biomaterial platform with highly tunable mechanical and degradation properties for engineering and regeneration of soft tissues such as, skin, adipose, and neural tissue, with elasticity properties in the kilopascal range. Lyophilized silk sponges were prepared under different process conditions and the effect of silk molecular weight, concentration and crystallinity on 3D scaffold formation, structural integrity, morphology, mechanical and degradation properties, and cell interactions in vitro and in vivo were studied. Tuning the molecular weight distribution (via degumming time) of silk allowed the formation of stable, highly porous, 3D scaffolds that held form with silk concentrations as low as 0.5% wt/v. Mechanical properties were a function of silk concentration and scaffold degradation was driven by beta-sheet content. Lyophilized silk sponges supported the adhesion of mesenchymal stem cells throughout 3D scaffolds, cell proliferation in vitro, and cell infiltration and scaffold remodeling when implanted subcutaneously in vivo. PMID:25984573

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. Composition and Humidity Response of the Black Widow Spider's Gumfoot Silk and its Implications on Adhesion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jain, Dharamdeep; Zhang, Ci; Cool, Lydia Rose; Blackledge, Todd. A.; Wesdemiotis, Chrys; Miyoshi, Toshikazu; Dhinojwala, Ali

    Humidity plays an important part in the performance of biomaterials such as pollen, gecko toe, wheat awns, bird feathers and dragline silk. Capture silk produced by web building spiders form an interesting class of humidity responsive biological glues. The adhesive properties of the widely studied `viscid silk' produced by orbweb-weaving spiders is highly humidity sensitive. On the other hand, relatively less is known about the dependence of composition and humidity response towards adhesion for `gumfoot' silk produced by cobweb-weaving spiders. In the present study, we investigate the gumfoot silk produced by Black Widow using adhesion mechanics, microscopy and spectroscopic methods. The results show the presence of hygroscopic salts, glycoproteins and previously known spider coating peptides in silk and their importance in the humidity response and adhesion. The current study elucidates the role of constituents of capture silk in its adhesion mechanism and offers insights to novel ways for fabricating bio-inspired adhesives.

  10. 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.

  11. Soft magnetic memory of silk cocoon membrane

    PubMed Central

    Roy, Manas; Dubey, Amarish; Singh, Sushil Kumar; Bhargava, Kalpana; Sethy, Niroj Kumar; Philip, Deepu; Sarkar, Sabyasachi; Bajpai, Alok; Das, Mainak

    2016-01-01

    Silk cocoon membrane (SCM), a solid matrix of protein fiber, responds to light, heat and moisture and converts these energies to electrical signals. Essentially it exhibits photo-electric and thermo-electric properties; making it a natural electro-magnetic sensor, which may influence the pupal development. This raises the question: ‘is it only electricity?’, or ‘it also posses some kind of magnetic memory?’ This work attempted to explore the magnetic memory of SCM and confirm its soft magnetism. Fe, Co, Ni, Mn, Gd were found in SCM, in traces, through energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Presence of iron was ascertained by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). In addition, EPR-spectra showed the presence of a stable pool of carbon-centric free radical in the cocoon structure. Carbon-centric free radicals behaves as a soft magnet inherently. Magnetic-Hysteresis (M-H) of SCM confirmed its soft magnetism. It can be concluded that the soft bio-magnetic feature of SCM is due to the entrapment of ferromagnetic elements in a stable pool of carbon centric radicals occurring on the super-coiled protein structure. Natural soft magnets like SCM provide us with models for developing eco-friendly, protein-based biological soft magnets. PMID:27374752

  12. Anti-inflammatory potential of silk sericin.

    PubMed

    Aramwit, Pornanong; Towiwat, Pasarapa; Srichana, Teerapol

    2013-04-01

    Silk sericin was found to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are related to the inflammatory reaction. The objectives of this study were to investigate the anti-inflammatory effect of sericin in vivo using the carrageenan-induced rat edema model and changes in the histology of tissues. The effects of sericin on the expression of COX-2 and iNOS were also evaluated. Sericin solutions at 0.004-0.080 mg/mL were applied topically to the top of the hind paw and carrageenan (1.0 mg) was injected subcutaneously to the plantar surface of the right hind paw. Our results indicated that sericin significantly reduced the inflammation in rats' paw compared with the negative control (water and acetone) and its effect at 0.080 mg/mL was only slightly lower than that of 1.0% w/v indomethacin. Similar numbers of polymorphonuclear and macrophage cells were found in rats' tissue treated with indomethacin and sericin solution, while the numbers were significantly higher in their absence. The gene expression results by RT-PCR showed that the COX-2 and iNOS genes were down-regulated in samples treated with sericin in a dose dependent manner. These data indicated that the anti-inflammatory properties of sericin may be partly attributable to the suppression of the COX-2 enzyme and nitric oxide production.

  13. Novel silk fibroin/elastin wound dressings.

    PubMed

    Vasconcelos, Andreia; Gomes, Andreia C; Cavaco-Paulo, Artur

    2012-08-01

    Silk fibroin (SF) and elastin (EL) scaffolds were successfully produced for the first time for the treatment of burn wounds. The self-assembly properties of SF, together with the excellent chemical and mechanical stability and biocompatibility, were combined with elastin protein to produce scaffolds with the ability to mimic the extracellular matrix (ECM). Porous scaffolds were obtained by lyophilization and were further crosslinked with genipin (GE). Genipin crosslinking induces the conformational transition from random coil to β-sheet of SF chains, yielding scaffolds with smaller pore size and reduced swelling ratios, degradation and release rates. All results indicated that the composition of the scaffolds had a significant effect on their physical properties, and that can easily be tuned to obtain scaffolds suitable for biological applications. Wound healing was assessed through the use of human full-thickness skin equivalents (EpidermFT). Standardized burn wounds were induced by a cautery and the best re-epithelialization and the fastest wound closure was obtained in wounds treated with 50SF scaffolds; these contain the highest amount of elastin after 6 days of healing in comparison with other dressings and controls. The cytocompatibility demonstrated with human skin fibroblasts together with the healing improvement make these SF/EL scaffolds suitable for wound dressing applications.

  14. The Consolidation Behavior of Silk Hydrogels

    PubMed Central

    Kluge, Jonathan A.; Rosiello, Nicholas C.; Leisk, Gary G.; Kaplan, David L.; Dorfmann, A. Luis

    2010-01-01

    Hydrogels have mechanical properties and structural features that are similar to load bearing soft tissues including intervertebral disc and articular cartilage, and can be implanted for tissue restoration or for local release of therapeutic factors. To help predict their performance, mechanical characterization and mathematical modeling are available methods for use in tissue engineering and drug delivery settings. In this study, confined compression creep tests were performed on silk hydrogels, over a range of concentrations, to examine the phenomenological behavior of the gels under a physiological loading scenario. Based on the observed behavior, we show that the time-dependent response can be explained by a consolidation mechanism, and modeled using Biot’s poroelasticity theory. Two observations are in strong support of this modeling framework, namely, the excellent numerical agreement between increasing load step creep data and the linear Terzaghi theory, and the similar values obtained from numerical simulations and direct measurements of the permeability coefficient. The higher concentration gels (8% and 12% w/v) clearly show a strain-stiffening response to creep loading with increasing loads, while the lower concentration gel (4% w/v) does not. A nonlinear elastic constitutive formulation is employed to account for the stiffening. Furthermore, an empirical formulation is used to represent the deformation-dependent permeability. PMID:20142112

  15. Soft magnetic memory of silk cocoon membrane.

    PubMed

    Roy, Manas; Dubey, Amarish; Singh, Sushil Kumar; Bhargava, Kalpana; Sethy, Niroj Kumar; Philip, Deepu; Sarkar, Sabyasachi; Bajpai, Alok; Das, Mainak

    2016-07-04

    Silk cocoon membrane (SCM), a solid matrix of protein fiber, responds to light, heat and moisture and converts these energies to electrical signals. Essentially it exhibits photo-electric and thermo-electric properties; making it a natural electro-magnetic sensor, which may influence the pupal development. This raises the question: 'is it only electricity?', or 'it also posses some kind of magnetic memory?' This work attempted to explore the magnetic memory of SCM and confirm its soft magnetism. Fe, Co, Ni, Mn, Gd were found in SCM, in traces, through energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Presence of iron was ascertained by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). In addition, EPR-spectra showed the presence of a stable pool of carbon-centric free radical in the cocoon structure. Carbon-centric free radicals behaves as a soft magnet inherently. Magnetic-Hysteresis (M-H) of SCM confirmed its soft magnetism. It can be concluded that the soft bio-magnetic feature of SCM is due to the entrapment of ferromagnetic elements in a stable pool of carbon centric radicals occurring on the super-coiled protein structure. Natural soft magnets like SCM provide us with models for developing eco-friendly, protein-based biological soft magnets.

  16. Soft magnetic memory of silk cocoon membrane

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roy, Manas; Dubey, Amarish; Singh, Sushil Kumar; Bhargava, Kalpana; Sethy, Niroj Kumar; Philip, Deepu; Sarkar, Sabyasachi; Bajpai, Alok; Das, Mainak

    2016-07-01

    Silk cocoon membrane (SCM), a solid matrix of protein fiber, responds to light, heat and moisture and converts these energies to electrical signals. Essentially it exhibits photo-electric and thermo-electric properties; making it a natural electro-magnetic sensor, which may influence the pupal development. This raises the question: ‘is it only electricity?’, or ‘it also posses some kind of magnetic memory?’ This work attempted to explore the magnetic memory of SCM and confirm its soft magnetism. Fe, Co, Ni, Mn, Gd were found in SCM, in traces, through energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Presence of iron was ascertained by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). In addition, EPR-spectra showed the presence of a stable pool of carbon-centric free radical in the cocoon structure. Carbon-centric free radicals behaves as a soft magnet inherently. Magnetic-Hysteresis (M-H) of SCM confirmed its soft magnetism. It can be concluded that the soft bio-magnetic feature of SCM is due to the entrapment of ferromagnetic elements in a stable pool of carbon centric radicals occurring on the super-coiled protein structure. Natural soft magnets like SCM provide us with models for developing eco-friendly, protein-based biological soft magnets.

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-03-01

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

  19. 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

  20. Drought-induced changes in anthesis-silking interval are related to silk expansion: a spatio-temporal growth analysis in maize plants subjected to soil water deficit.

    PubMed

    Fuad-Hassan, Avan; Tardieu, François; Turc, Olivier

    2008-09-01

    The growth and emergence of maize silks has a considerable importance in yield determination under drought conditions. Spatial and temporal patterns of the rates of tissue expansion and of cell division were characterized in silks of plants subjected to different soil water potentials. In all cases, silk development consisted of four phases: (1) cell division and tissue expansion occurred together uniformly all along the silk; (2) cell division progressively ceased from tip to base, while expansion remained spatially uniform including during the phase (3) after the cessation of cell division; and (4) as the silk emerged from the husks, expansion ceased in the emerged portion, probably because of direct evaporative demand, while the relative growth rate progressively decreased in the enclosed part. The rates of tissue expansion and cell division were reduced with water deficit, resulting in delayed silk emergence. The duration of cell division was not affected, and in all cases, the end of cell division in the silk coincided with anther dehiscence. The duration of phase 3, between the end of cell division and the arrest of cell growth in silk apex, considerably increased with water deficit. It corresponded to the anthesis-silking interval used by breeders to characterize the response of cultivars to stress.

  1. The interaction between a combined knitted silk scaffold and microporous silk sponge with human mesenchymal stem cells for ligament tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Liu, Haifeng; Fan, Hongbin; Wang, Yue; Toh, Siew Lok; Goh, James C H

    2008-02-01

    Cell seeding on knitted scaffolds often require a gel system, which was found to be practically unsuitable for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction as the cell-gel composite often gets dislodged from the scaffold in the in vivo dynamic situations. In order to solve this problem, we fabricated this combined silk scaffold with weblike microporous silk sponges formed in the openings of a knitted silk scaffold and subsequently combined with adult human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) for in vitro ligament tissue engineering. Human MSCs adhered and grew well on the combined silk scaffolds. Moreover, in comparison with the knitted silk scaffolds seeded with hMSCs in fibroin gel the cellular function was more actively exhibited on the combined silk scaffolds, as evident by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis for ligament-related gene markers (e.g., type I, III collagen and tenascin-C), immunohistochemical and western blot evaluations of ligament-related extracellular matrix (ECM) components. While the knitted structure holds the microporous silk sponges together and provides the structural strength of the combined silk scaffold, the microporous structure of the silk sponges mimic the ECM which consequently promotes cell proliferation, function, and differentiation. This feature overcomes the limitation of knitted scaffold for ligament tissue engineering application.

  2. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-05

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

  4. 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

  5. Differential scanning fluorimetry illuminates silk feedstock stability and processability.

    PubMed

    Dicko, C; Kasoju, N; Hawkins, N; Vollrath, F

    2016-01-07

    The ability to design and implement silk feedstock formulations for tailored spinning has so far eluded the bioengineers. Recently, the high throughput screening technique of differential scanning fluorimetry (DSF) demonstrated the link between the instability transition temperature (Ti) and the processability of the silk feedstock. Using DSF we screened a large set of chemicals known to affect solvent quality. A multivariate analysis of the results shows that, regardless of the diversity of chemicals, three groupings are significantly distinguishable: G1 = similar to native silk; G2 = largely dominated by electrostatic interactions; and G3 = dominated by chelating interactions. We propose a thermodynamic analysis based on a pre- and post-transition fit to estimate the van't Hoff enthalpies (ΔHv) and the instability temperature (Ti). Our analysis shows that the ΔTi and ΔHv values were distinct: G1 (ΔTi = 0.23 ± 0.2; ΔHv = -159.1 ± 5.6 kcal mol(-1)), G2 (ΔTi = -7.3 ± 0.7; ΔHv = -191.4 ± 5.5 kcal mol(-1)), and G3 (ΔTi = -19.9 ± 3.3; ΔHv = -68.8 ± 6.0 kcal mol(-1)). Our analysis further combined the ΔTi value and the ΔHv value using stability ΔΔG to find that G1 only marginally stabilizes native silks (ΔΔG = -0.15 ± 0.04 kcal mol(-1)), whereas G2 and G3 destabilize native silk (ΔΔG = 3.8 ± 0.11 and ΔΔG = 3.8 ± 0.3 kcal mol(-1), respectively). Here our analysis shows that native silk has a complex multistep transition that is possibly non-cooperative. However, all three groupings also show a direct and cooperative transition with varied stabilization effects. This analysis suggests that native silks are able to sample multiple substates prior to undergoing (or to delay) the final transition. We conclude by hypothesizing that the observed energetic plasticity may be mediated by a fragile packaging of the silk tertiary structure that is readily lost when the solvent quality changes.

  6. Tough tendons. Mussel byssus has collagen with silk-like domains.

    PubMed

    Qin, X X; Coyne, K J; Waite, J H

    1997-12-19

    The primary structure of the alpha-chain of preCol-D (molecular mass = 80 kDa), a tanned collagenous protein predominating in the distal portion of the byssal threads of the mussel Mytilus edulis, was deduced from cDNA to encode an unprecedented natural block copolymer with three major domain types: a central collagen domain flanked by fibroin-like domains and followed by histidine-rich termini. The fibroin-like domains have sequence motifs that strongly resemble the crystalline polyalanine-rich and amorphous glycine-rich regions of spider dragline silk fibroins. The terminal regions resemble the histidine-rich domains of a variety of metal-binding proteins. The silk domains may toughen the collagen by increasing its strength and extensibility. PreCol-D expression is limited to the mussel foot, which contains a longitudinal gradient of preCol-D mRNA. This gradient increases linearly in the proximal to distal direction and reaches a maximum just before the distal depression of the foot.

  7. Research on the Ancient Mongolian Place-Name Along the Silk Road

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nashunwuritu; Baiyinbateer; Duoxi

    2016-06-01

    "Silk Road" is an ancient commercial trade channel connecting China with Asia, Africa and Europe and a major link of the economy, politics and culture of the East and West as well. In the 13th Century, with the westward expedition of Mongolian, the communication and integration of culture among different countries was accelerated, which led to many Mongolian place-names scattered in the countries along the silk-road, such as Khwarezmia, Armenia, Mesopotamia, Kipchak, Persian, involving today's Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Serbia, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, India and many other countries and regions. The place-name is a kind of important factor that can represent the changes of culture, economic in history. We analyzed the current place-names in different countries or regions with different language to find out ancient Mongolian place-names, and marked the names on the digital map. Through the changes and transition of the place-name, we explored the development of Mongolian language changes itself, Mongolian blends with other languages, and furtherly reveal information of culture exchange.

  8. 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

  9. Wet webs work better: humidity, supercontraction and the performance of spider orb webs.

    PubMed

    Boutry, Cecilia; Blackledge, Todd A

    2013-10-01

    Like many biomaterials, spider silk responds to water through softening and swelling. Major ampullate silk, the main structural element of most prey capture webs, also shrinks dramatically if unrestrained or develops high tension if restrained, a phenomenon called 'supercontraction'. While supercontraction has been investigated for over 30 years, its consequences for web performance remain controversial. Here, we measured prey capture performance of dry and wet (supercontracted) orb webs of Argiope and Nephila using small wood blocks as prey. Prey capture performance significantly increased at high humidity for Argiope while the improvement was less dramatic for Nephila. This difference is likely due to Argiope silk supercontracting more than Nephila silk. Web deflection, measured as the extension of the web upon prey impact, also increased at high humidity in Argiope, suggesting that silk softening upon supercontraction explains the improved performance of wet webs. These results strongly argue that supercontraction is not detrimental to web performance.

  10. Bioprospecting Finds the Toughest Biological Material: Extraordinary Silk from a Giant Riverine Orb Spider

    PubMed Central

    Agnarsson, Ingi; Kuntner, Matjaž; Blackledge, Todd A.

    2010-01-01

    Background Combining high strength and elasticity, spider silks are exceptionally tough, i.e., able to absorb massive kinetic energy before breaking. Spider silk is therefore a model polymer for development of high performance biomimetic fibers. There are over 41.000 described species of spiders, most spinning multiple types of silk. Thus we have available some 200.000+ unique silks that may cover an amazing breadth of material properties. To date, however, silks from only a few tens of species have been characterized, most chosen haphazardly as model organisms (Nephila) or simply from researchers' backyards. Are we limited to ‘blindly fishing’ in efforts to discover extraordinary silks? Or, could scientists use ecology to predict which species are likely to spin silks exhibiting exceptional performance properties? Methodology We examined the biomechanical properties of silk produced by the remarkable Malagasy ‘Darwin's bark spider’ (Caerostris darwini), which we predicted would produce exceptional silk based upon its amazing web. The spider constructs its giant orb web (up to 2.8 m2) suspended above streams, rivers, and lakes. It attaches the web to substrates on each riverbank by anchor threads as long as 25 meters. Dragline silk from both Caerostris webs and forcibly pulled silk, exhibits an extraordinary combination of high tensile strength and elasticity previously unknown for spider silk. The toughness of forcibly silked fibers averages 350 MJ/m3, with some samples reaching 520 MJ/m3. Thus, C. darwini silk is more than twice tougher than any previously described silk, and over 10 times better than Kevlar®. Caerostris capture spiral silk is similarly exceptionally tough. Conclusions Caerostris darwini produces the toughest known biomaterial. We hypothesize that this extraordinary toughness coevolved with the unusual ecology and web architecture of these spiders, decreasing the likelihood of bridgelines breaking and collapsing the web into the river

  11. 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

  12. Effects of different Bombyx mori silkworm varieties on the structural characteristics and properties of silk.

    PubMed

    Chung, Da Eun; Kim, Hyung Hwan; Kim, Moo Kon; Lee, Ki Hoon; Park, Young Hwan; Um, In Chul

    2015-08-01

    Silk has attracted the attention of biomedical researchers because of its good biocompatibility. Although various characteristics of silk are needed for its successful application in biomedical fields, the performance of silk material is limited. Although there are many varieties of Bombyx mori silkworm, the effect of different silkworm varieties on regenerated silk has not been considered in detail. That is, the use of a diverse variety of silkworms has not been considered in non-textile applications resulting in limited performance of silk materials. In this study, the effects of different silkworm varieties on the structural characteristics and properties of silk cocoon and regenerated silk fibroin (SF) were examined. Structural characteristics of silk cocoon including color, fiber diameter, and porosity, differed depending on the silkworm variety. Furthermore, molecular weight, solution viscosity, and mechanical properties of regenerated SF were influenced by the variety of silkworm, while the amino acid composition, β-sheet crystallization by formic acid, and cyto-compatibility of regenerated SF did not differ between the samples from different varieties of silkworm. These results imply that diverse performance of silk can be obtained by controlling the silkworm variety, and that the use of different varieties of silkworm might be a good way to strengthen the performance of silk in biomedical fields.

  13. 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.

  14. Thermal Performance Testing of Cryogenic Multilayer Insulation with Silk Net Spacers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, W. L.; Frank, D. J.; Nast, T. C.; Fesmire, J. E.

    2015-12-01

    Early comprehensive testing of cryogenic multilayer insulation focused on the use of silk netting as a spacer material. Silk netting was used for multiple test campaigns that were designed to provide baseline thermal performance estimates for cryogenic insulation systems. As more focus was put on larger systems, the cost of silk netting became a deterrent and most aerospace insulation firms were using Dacron (or polyester) netting spacers by the early 1970s. In the midst of the switch away from silk netting there was no attempt to understand the difference between silk and polyester netting, though it was widely believed that the silk netting provided slightly better performance. Without any better reference for thermal performance data, the silk netting performance correlations continued to be used. In order to attempt to quantify the difference between the silk netting and polyester netting, a brief test program was developed. The silk netting material was obtained from Lockheed Martin and was tested on the Cryostat-100 instrument in three different configurations, 20 layers with both single and double netting and 10 layers with single netting only. The data show agreement within 15 - 30% with the historical silk netting based correlations and show a substantial performance improvement when compared to previous testing performed using polyester netting and aluminum foil/fiberglass paper multilayer insulation. Additionally, the data further reinforce a recently observed trend that the heat flux is not directly proportional to the number of layers installed on a system.

  15. Relationships between physical properties and sequence in silkworm silks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Malay, Ali D.; Sato, Ryota; Yazawa, Kenjiro; Watanabe, Hiroe; Ifuku, Nao; Masunaga, Hiroyasu; Hikima, Takaaki; Guan, Juan; Mandal, Biman B.; Damrongsakkul, Siriporn; Numata, Keiji

    2016-06-01

    Silk has attracted widespread attention due to its superlative material properties and promising applications. However, the determinants behind the variations in material properties among different types of silk are not well understood. We analysed the physical properties of silk samples from a variety of silkmoth cocoons, including domesticated Bombyx mori varieties and several species from Saturniidae. Tensile deformation tests, thermal analyses, and investigations on crystalline structure and orientation of the fibres were performed. The results showed that saturniid silks produce more highly-defined structural transitions compared to B. mori, as seen in the yielding and strain hardening events during tensile deformation and in the changes observed during thermal analyses. These observations were analysed in terms of the constituent fibroin sequences, which in B. mori are predicted to produce heterogeneous structures, whereas the strictly modular repeats of the saturniid sequences are hypothesized to produce structures that respond in a concerted manner. Within saturniid fibroins, thermal stability was found to correlate with the abundance of poly-alanine residues, whereas differences in fibre extensibility can be related to varying ratios of GGX motifs versus bulky hydrophobic residues in the amorphous phase.

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

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-07-11

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

  17. Electroantennography of silk flies, a crucial step for semiochemical investigations

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Abstract Electroantennography of silk flies, a crucial step for semiochemical investigations D. Owens1, G. Nuessly1, P. E. Kendra2, D. Seal3, T. Colquhoun4, and D. Hahn4 1University of Florida, Belle Glade, FL 2USDA-ARS, Miami, FL 3University of Florida, Homestead, FL 4University of Florida, Gaines...

  18. Another Way of Knowing: Visualizing the Ancient Silk Routes

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bisland, Beverly Milner

    2010-01-01

    One way that people learn, remember and communicate is visually. We combine past experiences with new visual information to construct meaning. In this study, elementary teachers introduced their students to the peoples and places of the ancient silk routes using illustrations from two children's picture books, "Marco Polo," written by…

  19. Identification and classification of silks using infrared spectroscopy

    PubMed Central

    Boulet-Audet, Maxime; Vollrath, Fritz; Holland, Chris

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Lepidopteran silks number in the thousands and display a vast diversity of structures, properties and industrial potential. To map this remarkable biochemical diversity, we present an identification and screening method based on the infrared spectra of native silk feedstock and cocoons. Multivariate analysis of over 1214 infrared spectra obtained from 35 species allowed us to group silks into distinct hierarchies and a classification that agrees well with current phylogenetic data and taxonomies. This approach also provides information on the relative content of sericin, calcium oxalate, phenolic compounds, poly-alanine and poly(alanine-glycine) β-sheets. It emerged that the domesticated mulberry silkmoth Bombyx mori represents an outlier compared with other silkmoth taxa in terms of spectral properties. Interestingly, Epiphora bauhiniae was found to contain the highest amount of β-sheets reported to date for any wild silkmoth. We conclude that our approach provides a new route to determine cocoon chemical composition and in turn a novel, biological as well as material, classification of silks. PMID:26347557

  20. Silk fly electroantennography, a crucial step for semiochemical investigations

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Silk flies (Euxesta and Chaetopsis spp., Diptera: Ulidiidae) are severe pests of sweet corn in Florida, Central, and South America. Identification of attractive semiochemicals may facilitate development of improved monitoring and management strategies for these pests. To this end, an electroantennog...

  1. Relationships between physical properties and sequence in silkworm silks

    PubMed Central

    Malay, Ali D.; Sato, Ryota; Yazawa, Kenjiro; Watanabe, Hiroe; Ifuku, Nao; Masunaga, Hiroyasu; Hikima, Takaaki; Guan, Juan; Mandal, Biman B.; Damrongsakkul, Siriporn; Numata, Keiji

    2016-01-01

    Silk has attracted widespread attention due to its superlative material properties and promising applications. However, the determinants behind the variations in material properties among different types of silk are not well understood. We analysed the physical properties of silk samples from a variety of silkmoth cocoons, including domesticated Bombyx mori varieties and several species from Saturniidae. Tensile deformation tests, thermal analyses, and investigations on crystalline structure and orientation of the fibres were performed. The results showed that saturniid silks produce more highly-defined structural transitions compared to B. mori, as seen in the yielding and strain hardening events during tensile deformation and in the changes observed during thermal analyses. These observations were analysed in terms of the constituent fibroin sequences, which in B. mori are predicted to produce heterogeneous structures, whereas the strictly modular repeats of the saturniid sequences are hypothesized to produce structures that respond in a concerted manner. Within saturniid fibroins, thermal stability was found to correlate with the abundance of poly-alanine residues, whereas differences in fibre extensibility can be related to varying ratios of GGX motifs versus bulky hydrophobic residues in the amorphous phase. PMID:27279149

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tarakanova, Anna; Buehler, Markus J.

    2012-02-01

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

  3. 11. SOUTH FACADE (FRONT) OF AN OPERATOR'S COTTAGE ON SILK ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    11. SOUTH FACADE (FRONT) OF AN OPERATOR'S COTTAGE ON SILK STOCKING ROW. THESE COTTAGES WERE THE FIRST PERMANENT HOUSING CONSTRUCTED ON THE SKAGIT AND FOR MANY YEARS WERE CONSIDERED TO BE THE BEST. THEY WERE RESERVED FOR POWERHOUSE OPERATORS AND SUPERVISORS AND THEIR FAMILIES, 1989. - Skagit Power Development, Skagit River & Newhalem Creek Hydroelectric Project, On Skagit River, Newhalem, Whatcom County, WA

  4. Flexible Silk-Inorganic Nanocomposites: From Transparent to Highly Reflective

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-02-16

    assembly. The organized assembly of the silk fibroin with clay ( montmorillonite ) nanosheets results in highly transparent nanoscale films with...mechanical and optical properties of the nanocomposites. For that purpose we utilized individually dispersed, aluminosilicate layers of montmorillonite (MMT...to the thickness of an individual aluminosilicate layer of montmorillonite ,[43] and indicates that monolayer formation occurs upon adsorption (Fig. 2a

  5. 21 CFR 878.5030 - Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2011-04-01 2011-04-01 false Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture. 878.5030 Section 878.5030 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES GENERAL AND PLASTIC SURGERY DEVICES Surgical Devices §...

  6. 21 CFR 878.5030 - Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2012-04-01 2012-04-01 false Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture. 878.5030 Section 878.5030 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES GENERAL AND PLASTIC SURGERY DEVICES Surgical Devices §...

  7. 21 CFR 878.5030 - Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2014-04-01 2014-04-01 false Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture. 878.5030 Section 878.5030 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES GENERAL AND PLASTIC SURGERY DEVICES Surgical Devices §...

  8. 21 CFR 878.5030 - Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2013-04-01 2013-04-01 false Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture. 878.5030 Section 878.5030 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES GENERAL AND PLASTIC SURGERY DEVICES Surgical Devices §...

  9. 21 CFR 878.5030 - Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2010-04-01 2010-04-01 false Natural nonabsorbable silk surgical suture. 878.5030 Section 878.5030 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES GENERAL AND PLASTIC SURGERY DEVICES Surgical Devices §...

  10. Teaching the Silk Road: A Journey of Pedagogical Discovery.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Andrea, A. J.; Mierse, William

    2002-01-01

    Describes a course for first-year college students that focuses on the Silk Road. Discusses the problems that occurs in such a course, types of resources used, basic strategies and tactics taken, and the focus on mapmaking in the beginning of the course. Includes an annotated bibliography. (CMK)

  11. Conductive Polymer Combined Silk Fiber Bundle for Bioelectrical Signal Recording

    PubMed Central

    Tsukada, Shingo; Nakashima, Hiroshi; Torimitsu, Keiichi

    2012-01-01

    Electrode materials for recording biomedical signals, such as electrocardiography (ECG), electroencephalography (EEG) and evoked potentials data, are expected to be soft, hydrophilic and electroconductive to minimize the stress imposed on living tissue, especially during long-term monitoring. We have developed and characterized string-shaped electrodes made from conductive polymer with silk fiber bundles (thread), which offer a new biocompatible stress free interface with living tissue in both wet and dry conditions. An electroconductive polyelectrolyte, poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) -poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT-PSS) was electrochemically combined with silk thread made from natural Bombyx mori. The polymer composite 280 µm thread exhibited a conductivity of 0.00117 S/cm (which corresponds to a DC resistance of 2.62 Mohm/cm). The addition of glycerol to the PEDOT-PSS silk thread improved the conductivity to 0.102 S/cm (20.6 kohm/cm). The wettability of PEDOT-PSS was controlled with glycerol, which improved its durability in water and washing cycles. The glycerol treated PEDOT-PSS silk thread showed a tensile strength of 1000 cN in both wet and dry states. Without using any electrolytes, pastes or solutions, the thread directly collects electrical signals from living tissue and transmits them through metal cables. ECG, EEG, and sensory evoked potential (SEP) signals were recorded from experimental animals by using this thread placed on the skin. PEDOT-PSS silk glycerol composite thread offers a new class of biocompatible electrodes in the field of biomedical and health promotion that does not induce stress in the subjects. PMID:22493670

  12. Effect of residual sericin on the structural characteristics and properties of regenerated silk films.

    PubMed

    Lee, Ji Hye; Song, Dae Woong; Park, Young Hwan; Um, In Chul

    2016-08-01

    Regenerated silk film has been increasingly attracting the research community's attention for biomedical applications due to its good biocompatibility and excellent cyto-compatibility. However, some limitations regarding its mechanical properties, such as brittleness, have restricted the use of silk films for industrial biomedical applications. In this study, regenerated silk films with different residual sericin content were prepared applying controlled degumming conditions to evaluate the effect of sericin content on the structure and properties of the films generated. When the residual sericin content increased to 0.6%, crystallinity index and breaking strength of silk films were increased. Above this value, these parameters then decreased. A 1.5 fold increase of silk film elongation properties was obtained when incorporating 16% sericin. Regardless of sericin content, all regenerated silk films showed excellent cyto-compatibility, comparable to the one obtained with tissue culture plates.

  13. Orientational order of Australian spider silks as determined by solid-state NMR.

    PubMed

    Bonev, B; Grieve, S; Herberstein, M E; Kishore, A I; Watts, A; Separovic, F

    2006-06-05

    A simple solid-state NMR method was used to study the structure of (13)C- and (15)N-enriched silk from two Australian orb-web spider species, Nephila edulis and Argiope keyserlingi. Carbon-13 and (15)N spectra from alanine- or glycine-labeled oriented dragline silks were acquired with the fiber axis aligned parallel or perpendicular to the magnetic field. The fraction of oriented component was determined from each amino acid, alanine and glycine, using each nucleus independently, and attributed to the ordered crystalline domains in the silk. The relative fraction of ordered alanine was found to be higher than the fraction of ordered glycine, akin to the observation of alanine-rich domains in silk-worm (Bombyx mori) silk. A higher degree of crystallinity was observed in the dragline silk of N. edulis compared with A. keyserlingi, which correlates with the superior mechanical properties of the former.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-01

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

  15. Fabrication of CeO2 nanoparticle-modified silk for UV protection and antibacterial applications.

    PubMed

    Lu, Zhisong; Mao, Cuiping; Meng, Mei; Liu, Sangui; Tian, Yunli; Yu, Ling; Sun, Bai; Li, Chang Ming

    2014-12-01

    To endow silk with UV-shielding ability and antibacterial activity, CeO2 nanoparticles were immobilized on silk surface via a dip-coating approach without changing silk structure. Surface density of the nanoparticles could be easily adjusted by controlling the number of dip-coating cycle. Enhanced thermal stability of the modified silk is exhibited in thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and derivative thermogravimetric analysis (DTG). The excellent UV-protection ability and antibacterial property of the CeO2 nanoparticle-coated silk are demonstrated in UV-vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy and colony-forming capability test, respectively. Based on the data, it can be concluded that CeO2 nanoparticles could be used as a very promising coating material to modify silk for UV-protection and antibacterial applications.

  16. Physical properties and dyeability of silk fibers degummed with citric acid.

    PubMed

    Khan, Majibur Rahman; Tsukada, Masuhiro; Gotoh, Yasuo; Morikawa, Hideaki; Freddi, Giuliano; Shiozaki, Hideki

    2010-11-01

    Silk fibers from Bombyx mori silkworm was degummed with different concentration of citric acid, and the physical properties and fine structure were investigated to elucidate the effects of citric acid treatment. The silk sericin removal percentage was almost 100% after degumming with 30% citric acid which resulted in a total weight loss of 25.4% in the silk fibers. The surface morphology of silk fiber degummed with citric acid was very smooth and fine, showed perfect degumming like traditional soap-alkali method. The tensile strength of silk fiber was increased after degumming with citric acid (507MPa), where as the traditional soap-alkali method causes to decrease the strength about half of the control silk fiber (250MPa). The molecular conformation estimated by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and the crystalline structure evaluated from X-ray diffraction curve stayed unchanged regardless of the degumming with citric acid and soap. The dye uptake percentage of silk fiber degummed with citric acid decreased slightly, about 4.2%. On the other hand, the dye uptake percentage of silk degummed with soap was higher which indicates the disordering of the molecular orientation of the laterally ordered structure, accompanied with the partial hydrolysis of silk fibroin molecules by the alkali action of soap. The thermal properties were greatly enhanced by soap and citric acid degumming agents. Dynamic mechanical thermal analysis showed silk degummed with citric acid is more stable in higher temperature than that of soap. With heating at above 300 degrees C, the silk degummed with citric acid shows an increase in storage modulus and an onset of tan delta peaks at 325 degrees C and the melt flow of the sample was inhibited. The degumming of silk fibers with citric acid is safe and the results obtained are quite promising as a basis for possible future industrial application.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Aramwit, Pornanong; Siritientong, Tippawan; Srichana, Teerapol

    2012-03-01

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

  20. TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR Bmsage PLAYS A CRUCIAL ROLE IN SILK GLAND GENERATION IN SILKWORM, Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Xin, Hu-hu; Zhang, Deng-pan; Chen, Rui-ting; Cai, Zi-zheng; Lu, Yan; Liang, Shuang; Miao, Yun-gen

    2015-10-01

    Salivary gland secretion is altered in Drosophila embryos with loss of function of the sage gene. Saliva has a reduced volume and an increased electron density according to transmission electron microscopy, resulting in regions of tube dilation and constriction with intermittent tube closure. However, the precise functions of Bmsage in silkworm (Bombyx mori) are unknown, although its sequence had been deposited in SilkDB. From this, Bmsage is inferred to be a transcription factor that regulates the synthesis of silk fibroin and interacts with another silk gland-specific transcription factor, namely, silk gland factor-1. In this study, we introduced a germline mutation of Bmsage using the Cas9/sgRNA system, a genome-editing technology, resulting in deletion of Bmsage from the genome of B. mori. Of the 15 tested samples, seven displayed alterations at the target site. The mutagenesis efficiency was about 46.7% and there were no obvious off-target effects. In the screened homozygous mutants, silk glands developed poorly and the middle and posterior silk glands (MSG and PSG) were absent, which was significantly different from the wild type. The offspring of G0 mosaic silkworms had indel mutations causing 2- or 9-bp deletions at the target site, but exhibited the same abnormal silk gland structure. Mutant larvae containing different open-reading frames of Bmsage had the same silk gland phenotype. This illustrated that the mutant phenotype was due to Bmsage knockout. We conclude that Bmsage participates in embryonic development of the silk gland.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2002-01-01

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

  2. Novel silk fibroin films prepared by formic acid/hydroxyapatite dissolution method.

    PubMed

    Ming, Jinfa; Liu, Zhi; Bie, Shiyu; Zhang, Feng; Zuo, Baoqi

    2014-04-01

    Bombyx mori silk fibroin from the silkworm was firstly found to be soluble in formic acid/hydroxyapatite system. The rheological behavior of silk fibroin solution was significantly influenced by HAp contents in dissolved solution. At the same time, silk fibroin nanofibers were observed in dissolved solution with 103.6±20.4nm in diameter. Moreover, the structure behavior of SF films prepared by formic acid/hydroxyapatite dissolution method was examined. The secondary structure of silk fibroin films was attributed to silk II structure (β-sheet), indicating that the hydroxyapatite contents in dissolved solution were not significantly affected by the structure of silk fibroin. The X-ray diffraction results exhibited obviously hydroxyapatite crystalline nature existing in silk fibroin films; however, when the hydroxyapatite content was 5.0wt.% in dissolved solution, some hydroxyapatite crystals were converted to calcium hydrogen phosphate dehydrate in silk fibroin dissolution process. This result was also confirmed by Fourier transform infrared analysis and DSC measurement. In addition, silk fibroin films prepared by this dissolution method had higher breaking strength and extension at break. Based on these analyses, an understanding of novel SF dissolution method may provide an additional tool for designing and synthesizing advanced materials with more complex structures, which should be helpful in different fields, including biomaterial applications.

  3. In vitro evaluation of combined sulfated silk fibroin scaffolds for vascular cell growth.

    PubMed

    Liu, Haifeng; Ding, Xili; Bi, Yanxue; Gong, Xianghui; Li, Xiaoming; Zhou, Gang; Fan, Yubo

    2013-06-01

    A combined sulfated silk fibroin scaffold is fabricated by modifying a knitted silk scaffold with sulfated silk fibroin sponges. In vitro hemocompatibility evaluation reveals that the combined sulfated silk fibroin scaffolds reduce platelet adhesion and activation, and prolong the activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), thrombin time (TT), and prothrombin time (PT). The response of porcine endothelial cells (ECs) and smooth muscle cells (SMCs) on the scaffolds is studied to evaluate the cytocompatibility of the scaffolds. Vascular cells are seeded on the scaffolds and cultured for 2 weeks. The scaffolds demonstrate enhanced EC adhesion, proliferation, and maintenance of cellular functions. Moreover, the scaffolds inhibit SMC proliferation and induce expression of contractile SMC marker genes.

  4. Silk-pectin hydrogel with superior mechanical properties, biodegradability, and biocompatibility.

    PubMed

    Numata, Keiji; Yamazaki, Shoya; Katashima, Takuya; Chuah, Jo-Ann; Naga, Naofumi; Sakai, Takamasa

    2014-06-01

    A new method is developed to prepare silk hydrogels and silk-pectin hydrogels via dialysis against methanol to obtain hydrogels with high concentrations of silk fibroin. The relationship between the mechanical and biological properties and the structure of the silk-pectin hydrogels is subsequently evaluated. The present results suggest that pectin associates with silk molecules when the silk concentration exceeds 15 wt%, suggesting that a silk concentration of over 15 wt% is critical to construct interacting silk-pectin networks. The silk-pectin hydrogel reported here is composed of a heterogeneous network, which is different from fiber-reinforced, interpenetrated networks and double-network hydrogels, as well as high-stiffness hydrogels (elastic modulus of 4.7 ± 0.9 MPa, elastic stress limit of 3.9 ± 0.1 MPa, and elastic strain limit of 48.4 ± 0.5%) with regard to biocompatibility and biodegradability.

  5. Aqueous multiphoton lithography with multifunctional silk-centred bio-resists

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Yun-Lu; Li, Qi; Sun, Si-Ming; Huang, Jing-Chun; Zheng, Bo-Yuan; Chen, Qi-Dai; Shao, Zheng-Zhong; Sun, Hong-Bo

    2015-01-01

    Silk and silk fibroin, the biomaterial from nature, nowadays are being widely utilized in many cutting-edge micro/nanodevices/systems via advanced micro/nanofabrication techniques. Herein, for the first time to our knowledge, we report aqueous multiphoton lithography of diversiform-regenerated-silk-fibroin-centric inks using noncontact and maskless femtosecond laser direct writing (FsLDW). Initially, silk fibroin was FsLDW-crosslinked into arbitrary two/three-dimensional micro/nanostructures with good elastic properties merely using proper photosensitizers. More interestingly, silk/metal composite micro/nanodevices with multidimension-controllable metal content can be FsLDW-customized through laser-induced simultaneous fibroin oxidation/crosslinking and metal photoreduction using the simplest silk/Ag+ or silk/[AuCl4]− aqueous resists. Noticeably, during FsLDW, fibroin functions as biological reductant and matrix, while metal ions act as the oxidant. A FsLDW-fabricated prototyping silk/Ag microelectrode exhibited 104-Ω−1 m−1-scale adjustable electric conductivity. This work not only provides a powerful development to silk micro/nanoprocessing techniques but also creates a novel way to fabricate multifunctional metal/biomacromolecule complex micro/nanodevices for applications such as micro/nanoscale mechanical and electrical bioengineering and biosystems. PMID:26472600

  6. Investigating the transverse optical structure of spider silk micro-fibers using quantitative optical microscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Little, Douglas J.; Kane, Deb M.

    2016-10-01

    The transverse optical structure of two orb-weaver (family Araneidae) spider dragline silks was investigated using a variant of the inverse-scattering technique. Immersing the silks in a closely refractive index-matched liquid, the minimum achievable image contrast was greater than expected for an optically homogeneous silk, given what is currently known about the optical absorption of these silks. This "excess contrast" indicated the presence of transverse optical structure within the spider silk. Applying electromagnetic scattering theory to a transparent double cylinder, the minimum achievable irradiance contrast for the Plebs eburnus and Argiope keyserlingi dragline silks was determined to be consistent with step index refractive index contrasts of 1-4×10-4 and 6-7×10-4, respectively, supposing outer-layer thicknesses consistent with previous TEM studies (50 nm and 100 nm, respectively). The possibility of graded index refractive index contrasts within the spider silks is also discussed. This is the strongest evidence, to date, that there is a refractive index contrast associated with the layered morphology of spider silks and/or variation of proportion of nanocrystalline components within the spider silk structure. The method is more generally applicable to optical micro-fibers, including those with refractive index variations on a sub-wavelength scale.

  7. Investigating the transverse optical structure of spider silk micro-fibers using quantitative optical microscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Little, Douglas J.; Kane, Deb M.

    2017-01-01

    The transverse optical structure of two orb-weaver (family Araneidae) spider dragline silks was investigated using a variant of the inverse-scattering technique. Immersing the silks in a closely refractive index-matched liquid, the minimum achievable image contrast was greater than expected for an optically homogeneous silk, given what is currently known about the optical absorption of these silks. This "excess contrast" indicated the presence of transverse optical structure within the spider silk. Applying electromagnetic scattering theory to a transparent double cylinder, the minimum achievable irradiance contrast for the Plebs eburnus and Argiope keyserlingi dragline silks was determined to be consistent with step index refractive index contrasts of 1-4×10-4 and 6-7×10-4, respectively, supposing outer-layer thicknesses consistent with previous TEM studies (50 nm and 100 nm, respectively). The possibility of graded index refractive index contrasts within the spider silks is also discussed. This is the strongest evidence, to date, that there is a refractive index contrast associated with the layered morphology of spider silks and/or variation of proportion of nanocrystalline components within the spider silk structure. The method is more generally applicable to optical micro-fibers, including those with refractive index variations on a sub-wavelength scale.

  8. The chemical structure and the crystalline structures of Bombyx mori silk fibroin.

    PubMed

    Lotz, B; Colonna Cesari, F

    1979-01-01

    Some recent data (i.e. published in the last ten years) on the chemical and crystalline structures of B. mori silk are reviewed. The main emphasis is put on the crystallizable portion of silk fibroin, including its chemical constitution and its molecular conformation (at the crystallographic unit-cell level) in the two crystalline modifications : the beta pleated sheet and the silk I structures. The structural aspects are based on a discussion of X-ray and electron diffraction data, and on conformational energy analyses of a model (Ala-Gly)n polypeptide of silk fibroin.

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

    PubMed

    Hayashi, C Y; Lewis, R V

    2000-02-25

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

  10. Vibrational infrared conformational studies of model peptides representing the semicrystalline domains of Bombyx mori silk fibroin.

    PubMed

    Taddei, Paola; Monti, Patrizia

    2005-08-05

    The structural organization of Bombyx mori silk fibroin was investigated by infrared (IR) spectroscopy. To this aim, (AG)15 and other model peptides of varying chain length, containing tyrosine (Y), valine (V), and serine (S) in the basic (AG)n sequence were synthesized by the solid phase method and their spectroscopic properties were determined. Both the position and the relative content of Y, V, and S residues in the (AG)n model system appeared critical in determining the preferred conformation, i.e., silk I, silk II, and unordered structures. Curve fitting analysis in the amide I range showed that the model peptides with prevailing silk II structure displayed different beta-sheet content, which was dependent on the degree of interruption of the (AG)n sequence. In this regard, the bands at about 1000 and 980 cm(-1), specifically assigned to the AG sequence of the B. mori silk fibroin chain, were identified as marker of the degree of interruption of the (AG)n sequence.A stable silk I structure was observed only when the Y residue was located near the chain terminus, while a silk I --> silk II conformational transition occurred when it was positioned in the central region of the peptide. Analysis of the second-derivative spectra in the amide I range allowed us to identify a band at 1639 cm(-1) (4 --> 1 hydrogen-bonded type II beta-turns), which is characteristic of the silk I conformation.

  11. Fabrication of duck's feet collagen-silk hybrid biomaterial for tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Kim, Soo Hyeon; Park, Hae Sang; Lee, Ok Joo; Chao, Janet Ren; Park, Hyun Jung; Lee, Jung Min; Ju, Hyung Woo; Moon, Bo Mi; Park, Ye Ri; Song, Jeong Eun; Khang, Gilson; Park, Chan Hum

    2016-04-01

    Collagen constituting the extracellular matrix has been widely used as biocompatible material for human use. In this study, we have selected duck's feet for extracting collagen. A simple method not utilizing harsh chemical had been employed to extract collagen from duck's feet. We fabricated duck's feet collagen/silk hybrid scaffold for the purpose of modifying the degradation rate of duck's feet collagen. This study suggests that extracted collagen from duck's feet is biocompatible and resembles collagen extracted from porcine which is commercially used. Duck's feet collagen is also economically feasible and it could therefore be a good candidate as a tissue engineering material. Further, addition of silk to fabricate a duck's feet collagen/silk hybrid scaffold could enhance the biostability of duck's feet collagen scaffold. Duck's feet collagen/silk scaffold increased the cell viability compared to silk alone. Animal studies also showed that duck's feet collagen/silk scaffold was more biocompatible than silk alone and more biostable than duck's feet or porcine collagen alone. Additionally, the results revealed that duck's feet collagen/silk hybrid scaffold had high porosity, cell infiltration and proliferation. We suggest that duck's feet collagen/silk hybrid scaffold could be used as a dermal substitution for full thickness skin defects.

  12. A microporous silk carbon-ionic liquid composite for the electrochemical sensing of dopamine.

    PubMed

    Wang, Min; Bai, Lu; Zhang, Lingling; Sun, Guangping; Zhang, Xiaowei; Dong, Shaojun

    2016-04-21

    Porous silk carbon (Silk C) was obtained through carbonization and KOH activation of natural silk cocoons. The as-prepared Silk C presented the good characteristics of a large surface area (SBET: 2854.53 m(2) g(-1)) and a high volume of pores (1.54 cm(3) g(-1)) with uniform micropores (2.5 nm) and multiple defects. The metal-free silk carbon-ionic liquid (Silk C-IL) composite, synthesized by modifying Silk C with ionic liquid through non-covalent (π-π) interactions under grinding conditions, was prepared for electrochemical determination of dopamine (DA). The detection limit of DA was 79 nM (S/N = 3) with a linear range from 0.6 μM to 140 μM. Meanwhile, the as-made Silk C-IL/GCE presented good selectivity for DA detection from other possible interferences, such as ascorbic acid, glucose and uric acid. Furthermore, the Silk C-IL/GCE was also successfully used for the detection of DA in fetal bovine serum and dopamine hydrochloride injection samples.

  13. Aqueous multiphoton lithography with multifunctional silk-centred bio-resists

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, Yun-Lu; Li, Qi; Sun, Si-Ming; Huang, Jing-Chun; Zheng, Bo-Yuan; Chen, Qi-Dai; Shao, Zheng-Zhong; Sun, Hong-Bo

    2015-10-01

    Silk and silk fibroin, the biomaterial from nature, nowadays are being widely utilized in many cutting-edge micro/nanodevices/systems via advanced micro/nanofabrication techniques. Herein, for the first time to our knowledge, we report aqueous multiphoton lithography of diversiform-regenerated-silk-fibroin-centric inks using noncontact and maskless femtosecond laser direct writing (FsLDW). Initially, silk fibroin was FsLDW-crosslinked into arbitrary two/three-dimensional micro/nanostructures with good elastic properties merely using proper photosensitizers. More interestingly, silk/metal composite micro/nanodevices with multidimension-controllable metal content can be FsLDW-customized through laser-induced simultaneous fibroin oxidation/crosslinking and metal photoreduction using the simplest silk/Ag+ or silk/[AuCl4]- aqueous resists. Noticeably, during FsLDW, fibroin functions as biological reductant and matrix, while metal ions act as the oxidant. A FsLDW-fabricated prototyping silk/Ag microelectrode exhibited 104-Ω-1 m-1-scale adjustable electric conductivity. This work not only provides a powerful development to silk micro/nanoprocessing techniques but also creates a novel way to fabricate multifunctional metal/biomacromolecule complex micro/nanodevices for applications such as micro/nanoscale mechanical and electrical bioengineering and biosystems.

  14. 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.

  15. Aqueous multiphoton lithography with multifunctional silk-centred bio-resists.

    PubMed

    Sun, Yun-Lu; Li, Qi; Sun, Si-Ming; Huang, Jing-Chun; Zheng, Bo-Yuan; Chen, Qi-Dai; Shao, Zheng-Zhong; Sun, Hong-Bo

    2015-10-16

    Silk and silk fibroin, the biomaterial from nature, nowadays are being widely utilized in many cutting-edge micro/nanodevices/systems via advanced micro/nanofabrication techniques. Herein, for the first time to our knowledge, we report aqueous multiphoton lithography of diversiform-regenerated-silk-fibroin-centric inks using noncontact and maskless femtosecond laser direct writing (FsLDW). Initially, silk fibroin was FsLDW-crosslinked into arbitrary two/three-dimensional micro/nanostructures with good elastic properties merely using proper photosensitizers. More interestingly, silk/metal composite micro/nanodevices with multidimension-controllable metal content can be FsLDW-customized through laser-induced simultaneous fibroin oxidation/crosslinking and metal photoreduction using the simplest silk/Ag(+) or silk/[AuCl4](-) aqueous resists. Noticeably, during FsLDW, fibroin functions as biological reductant and matrix, while metal ions act as the oxidant. A FsLDW-fabricated prototyping silk/Ag microelectrode exhibited 10(4)-Ω(-1 ) m(-1)-scale adjustable electric conductivity. This work not only provides a powerful development to silk micro/nanoprocessing techniques but also creates a novel way to fabricate multifunctional metal/biomacromolecule complex micro/nanodevices for applications such as micro/nanoscale mechanical and electrical bioengineering and biosystems.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-28

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

  17. Major depression

    MedlinePlus

    Depression - major; Depression - clinical; Clinical depression; Unipolar depression; Major depressive disorder ... providers do not know the exact causes of depression. It is believed that chemical changes in the ...

  18. Organic micro-pollutant removal in liquid-phase using carbonized silk cotton hull.

    PubMed

    Sathishkumar, M; Binupriya, A R; Kavitha, D; Selvakumar, R; Sheema, K K; Choi, J G; Yun, S E

    2008-01-01

    Phenolic compounds constitute one of the major pollutants in the modern world. Although many physical and chemical treatment technologies for their removal exist, most of them are economically not feasible. The present study was aimed at using silk cotton hull, a potent agricultural waste as an adsobent for removal of 2,4-dichlorophenol (2,4-DCP), which was used as a model phenolic compound. The process parameters were investigated and optimized conditions were determined. The equilibrium time was found to be 60 and 80 min for 10 and 20 mg/L and 100 min for 30 and 40 mg/L 2,4-DCP concentrations, respectively. Among the kinetic models applied, pseudo-second order model fitted well. The maximum adsorption capacity was 16.0 mg/g by Langmuir isotherm. Acidic pH was found favorable for the adsorption of 2,4-DCP. Studies on pH effect and desorption seemed to show that chemisorption played a major role in the adsorption process. In thermodynamic study, the change in entropy (DeltaS0) and heat of adsorption (DeltaH0) of silk cotton hull carbon (SCHC) was estimated as 14.01 J/(mol x K) and 3.04 kJ/mol, respectively. SCHC as adsorbent for removal of 2,4-DCP from aqueous solution, is effective, inexpensive, indigenous, reusable, has low treatment time and is easily available in large quantities as waste there by significantly lowers the cost of wastewater treatment.

  19. A golden-silk spider spins its web

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    On the grounds of Kennedy Space Center, a female Golden-Silk Spider repairs its web. The female can be identified by its brownish-green abdomen with a white spotted irregular pattern. The golden-silk spider repairs the webbing each day, replacing half but never the whole web at one time. Its web may measure two to three feet across. The center shares a boundary with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, a 92,000-acre refuge that is a habitat for more than 331 species of birds, 31 mammals, 117 fishes, and 65 amphibians and reptiles. The marshes and open water of the refuge provide wintering areas for 23 species of migratory waterfowl, as well as a year-round home for great blue herons, great egrets, wood storks, cormorants, brown pelicans and other species of marsh and shore birds, as well as a variety of insects.

  20. Nonlinear control of high-frequency phonons in spider silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneider, Dirk; Gomopoulos, Nikolaos; Koh, Cheong Y.; Papadopoulos, Periklis; Kremer, Friedrich; Thomas, Edwin L.; Fytas, George

    2016-10-01

    Spider dragline silk possesses superior mechanical properties compared with synthetic polymers with similar chemical structure due to its hierarchical structure comprised of partially crystalline oriented nanofibrils. To date, silk’s dynamic mechanical properties have been largely unexplored. Here we report an indirect hypersonic phononic bandgap and an anomalous dispersion of the acoustic-like branch from inelastic (Brillouin) light scattering experiments under varying applied elastic strains. We show the mechanical nonlinearity of the silk structure generates a unique region of negative group velocity, that together with the global (mechanical) anisotropy provides novel symmetry conditions for gap formation. The phononic bandgap and dispersion show strong nonlinear strain-dependent behaviour. Exploiting material nonlinearity along with tailored structural anisotropy could be a new design paradigm to access new types of dynamic behaviour.

  1. Two mechanisms for supercontraction in Nephila spider dragline silk.

    PubMed

    Guan, Juan; Vollrath, Fritz; Porter, David

    2011-11-14

    Supercontraction in dragline silk of Nephila edulis spider is shown to have two distinct components revealed by single fiber measurements using dynamic mechanical thermal analysis. The first component relies on a contraction of maximum 13% and seems to be associated with relaxation processed through the glass transition, T(g), as is induced by increasing temperature and/or humidity. The second component is induced by liquid water to the total contraction of 30%. The T(g)-induced contraction is linearly correlated with the restraining stress on the fiber, and the mechanical properties of the partially contracted silk have mechanical profiles that differ from both native and fully supercontracted fibers. Here we present novel supercontraction data and discuss their structural origins, examining the relaxation of stretched orientation in the different primary structure sequences.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2007-10-01

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

  3. Preparation and characterization of silk fibroin/HPMC blend film

    SciTech Connect

    Shetty, G. Rajesha; Kumar, R. Madhu; Rao, B. Lakshmeesha; Asha, S.; Sangappa

    2015-06-24

    In this work, the structural and mechanical stability of silk fibroin/Hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose (SF-HPMC) blend films were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Universal Testing Machine (UTM). The results indicate that with the introduction of HPMC, the interactions between SF and HPMC results in improved crystallite size and increase in mechanical properties. The blend film obtained is more flexible compared to pure SF film.

  4. Development and characterization of silk fibroin coated quantum dots

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nathwani, B. B.; Needham, C.; Mathur, A. B.; Meissner, K. E.

    2008-02-01

    Recent progress in the field of semiconductor nanocrystals or Quantum Dots (QDs) has seen them find wider acceptance as a tool in biomedical research labs. As produced, high quality QDs, synthesized by high temperature organometallic synthesis, are coated with a hydrophobic ligand. Therefore, they must be further processed to be soluble in water and to be made biocompatible. To accomplish this, the QDs are generally coated with a synthetic polymer (eg. block copolymers) or the hydrophobic surface ligands exchanged with hydrophilic material (eg. thiols). Advances in this area have enabled the QDs to experience a smooth transition from being simple inorganic fluorophores to being smart sensors, which can identify specific cell marker proteins and help in diagnosis of diseases such as cancer. In order to improve the biocompatibility and utility of the QDs, we report the development of a procedure to coat QDs with silk fibroin, a fibrous crystalline protein extracted from Bombyx Mori silkworm. Following the coating process, we characterize the size, quantum yield and two-photon absorption cross section of the silk coated QDs. Additionally, the results of biocompatibility studies carried out to compare the properties of these QD-silks with conventional QDs are presented. These natural polymer coatings on QDs could enhance the intracellular delivery and enable the use of these nanocrystals as an imaging tool for studying subcellular machinery at the molecular level.

  5. Laser Cleaning of Undyed Silk: Indications of Chemical Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    von Lerber, K.; Strlic, M.; Kolar, J.; Krüger, J.; Pentzien, S.; Kennedy, C.; Wess, T.; Sokhan, M.; Kautek, Wolfgang

    Three different undyed, unweighed silk fabrics (new clean, new soiled, and naturally aged) were cleaned with a computer-controlled Q-switched Nd:YAG laser at 532nm in 30 combinations of fluence and pulse numbers. They were studied for chemical change by viscometry, X-ray diffraction, and FIB-SIMS in combination with temperature calculations. While physical changes only occurred above the tested parameters, chemical changes could be detected as low as 0.2 J cm?2 with four pulses. Yellowing was observed at lower and bleaching at higher fluence/pulse number combinations. Melting was observed in naturally aged silk cleaned with 64 pulses at 4.2 J cm?2. The temperature reached at 0.1 J cm?2 is sufficient to evaporate carbon. Excess energy is transferred into the silk substrate causing thermal degradation. Different chemical processes leading to chain scission and to crosslinking seem to occur simultaneously, even at low fluence and pulse number. An increase in pulse numbers also leads to increasing damage.

  6. Mechanisms and Control of Silk-based Electrospinning

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Feng; Zuo, Baoqi; Fan, Zhihai; Xie, Zonggang; Lu, Qiang; Zhang, Xueguang; Kaplan, David L.

    2012-01-01

    Silk fibroin (SF) nanofibers, formed through electrospinning, have attractive utility in regenerative medicine due to the biocompatibility, mechanical properties and tailorable degradability. The mechanism of SF electrospun nanofiber formation was studied to gain new insight into the formation and control of nanofibers. SF electrospinning solutions with different nanostructures (nanospheres or nanofilaments) were prepared by controlling the drying process during the preparation of regenerated SF films. Compared to SF nanospheres in solution, SF nanofilaments had better spinnability with lower viscosity when the concentration of silk protein was below 10%, indicating a critical role for SF morphology, and in particular, nanostructures for the formation of electrospun fibers. More interesting, the diameter of electrospun fibers gradually increased from 50 nm to 300 nm as the increase in concentration of SF nanofilaments in the solution from 6% to 12%, implying size control by simply adjusting SF nanostructure and concentration. Aside from process parameters investigated in previous studies, such as SF concentration, viscosity and electrical potential, the present mechanism emphasizes significant influence of SF nanostructure on spinnability and diameter control of SF electrospun fibers, providing a controllable option for the preparation of silk-based electrospun scaffolds for biomaterials, drug delivery and tissue engineering needs. PMID:22300335

  7. 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

  8. Cell proliferation and migration in silk fibroin 3D scaffolds.

    PubMed

    Mandal, Biman B; Kundu, Subhas C

    2009-05-01

    Pore architecture in 3D polymeric scaffolds is known to play a critical role in tissue engineering as it provides the vital framework for the seeded cells to organize into a functioning tissue. In this report, we investigated the effects of different freezing temperature regimes on silk fibroin protein 3D scaffold pore microstructure. The fabricated scaffolds using freeze-dry technique were used as a 3D model to monitor cell proliferation and migration. Pores of 200-250microm diameter were formed by slow cooling at temperatures of -20 and -80 degrees C but were found to be limited in porosity and pore interconnectivity as observed through scanning electron microscopic images. In contrast, highly interconnected pores with 96% porosity were observed when silk solutions were rapidly frozen at -196 degrees C. A detailed study was conducted to assess the affect of pore size, porosity and interconnectivity on human dermal fibroblast cell proliferation and migration on these 3D scaffolds using confocal microscopy. The cells were observed to migrate within the scaffold interconnectivities and were found to reach scaffold periphery within 28 days of culture. Confocal images further confirmed normal cell attachment and alignment of actin filaments within the porous scaffold matrix with well-developed nuclei. This study indicates rapid freeze-drying technique as an alternative method to fabricate highly interconnected porous scaffolds for developing functional 3D silk fibroin matrices for potential tissue engineering, biomedical and biotechnological applications.

  9. Processing Techniques and Applications of Silk Hydrogels in Bioengineering

    PubMed Central

    Floren, Michael; Migliaresi, Claudio; Motta, Antonella

    2016-01-01

    Hydrogels are an attractive class of tunable material platforms that, combined with their structural and functional likeness to biological environments, have a diversity of applications in bioengineering. Several polymers, natural and synthetic, can be used, the material selection being based on the required functional characteristics of the prepared hydrogels. Silk fibroin (SF) is an attractive natural polymer for its excellent processability, biocompatibility, controlled degradation, mechanical properties and tunable formats and a good candidate for the fabrication of hydrogels. Tremendous effort has been made to control the structural and functional characteristic of silk hydrogels, integrating novel biological features with advanced processing techniques, to develop the next generation of functional SF hydrogels. Here, we review the several processing methods developed to prepare advanced SF hydrogel formats, emphasizing a bottom-up approach beginning with critical structural characteristics of silk proteins and their behavior under specific gelation environments. Additionally, the preparation of SF hydrogel blends and other advanced formats will also be discussed. We conclude with a brief description of the attractive utility of SF hydrogels in relevant bioengineering applications. PMID:27649251

  10. Nomadic ecology shaped the highland geography of Asia's Silk Roads.

    PubMed

    Frachetti, Michael D; Smith, C Evan; Traub, Cynthia M; Williams, Tim

    2017-03-08

    There are many unanswered questions about the evolution of the ancient 'Silk Roads' across Asia. This is especially the case in their mountainous stretches, where harsh terrain is seen as an impediment to travel. Considering the ecology and mobility of inner Asian mountain pastoralists, we use 'flow accumulation' modelling to calculate the annual routes of nomadic societies (from 750 m to 4,000 m elevation). Aggregating 500 iterations of the model reveals a high-resolution flow network that simulates how centuries of seasonal nomadic herding could shape discrete routes of connectivity across the mountains of Asia. We then compare the locations of known high-elevation Silk Road sites with the geography of these optimized herding flows, and find a significant correspondence in mountainous regions. Thus, we argue that highland Silk Road networks (from 750 m to 4,000 m) emerged slowly in relation to long-established mobility patterns of nomadic herders in the mountains of inner Asia.

  11. 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.

  12. Thermal Properties of Silk Fibroin Using Fast Scanning Calorimetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cebe, Peggy; Partlow, Benjamin; Kaplan, David; Wurm, Andreas; Zhuravlev, Evgeny; Schick, Christoph

    We performed fast scanning chip-based calorimetry of silk protein using the Mettler Flash DSC1. We suggest the methodology by which to obtain quantitative information on the very first scan to high temperature, including the melting endotherm of the beta pleated sheets. For proteins, this first scan is the most important one, because the crystalline secondary structural features, the beta pleated sheets, melt after the first heating and cannot be thermally reintroduced. To obtain high quality data, the samples must be treated to drying and enthalpy relaxation sequences. The heat flow rates in heating and cooling must be corrected for asymmetric heat loses. We evaluate methods to obtain an estimate of the sample mass, finally choosing internal calibration using the known heat capacity increment at the glass transition. We report that even heating at rates of 2000 K/s, thermal degradation of silk cannot be totally avoided, though it can be minimized. Using a set of nineteen samples, we successfully determine the liquid state heat capacity of silk as: Cpliquid (T) = (1.98 +0.06) J/gK + T (6.82 +1.4) x10-4 J/gK2. Methods for estimation of the sample mass will be presented and compared. National Science Foundation, Polymers Program DMR-1206010; DAAD; Tufts Faculty Supported Leave.

  13. Ultrathin Free-Standing Bombyx mori Silk Nanofibril Membranes.

    PubMed

    Ling, Shengjie; Jin, Kai; Kaplan, David L; Buehler, Markus J

    2016-06-08

    We report a new ultrathin filtration membrane prepared from silk nanofibrils (SNFs), directly exfoliated from natural Bombyx mori silk fibers to retain structure and physical properties. These membranes can be prepared with a thickness down to 40 nm with a narrow distribution of pore sizes ranging from 8 to 12 nm. Typically, 40 nm thick membranes prepared from SNFs have pure water fluxes of 13 000 L h(-1) m(-2) bar(-1), more than 1000 times higher than most commercial ultrathin filtration membranes and comparable with the highest water flux reported previously. The commercial membranes are commonly prepared from polysulfone, poly(ether sulfone), and polyamide. The SNF-based ultrathin membranes exhibit efficient separation for dyes, proteins, and colloids of nanoparticles with at least a 64% rejection of Rhodamine B. This broad-spectrum filtration membrane would have potential utility in applications such as wastewater treatment, nanotechnology, food industry, and life sciences in part due to the protein-based membrane polymer (silk), combined with the robust mechanical and separation performance features.

  14. Fabrication and Mechanical Characterization of Hydrogel Infused Network Silk Scaffolds

    PubMed Central

    Kundanati, Lakshminath; Singh, Saket K.; Mandal, Biman B.; Murthy, Tejas G.; Gundiah, Namrata; Pugno, Nicola M.

    2016-01-01

    Development and characterization of porous scaffolds for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine is of great importance. In recent times, silk scaffolds were developed and successfully tested in tissue engineering and drug release applications. We developed a novel composite scaffold by mechanical infusion of silk hydrogel matrix into a highly porous network silk scaffold. The mechanical behaviour of these scaffolds was thoroughly examined for their possible use in load bearing applications. Firstly, unconfined compression experiments show that the denser composite scaffolds displayed significant enhancement in the elastic modulus as compared to either of the components. This effect was examined and further explained with the help of foam mechanics principles. Secondly, results from confined compression experiments that resemble loading of cartilage in confinement, showed nonlinear material responses for all scaffolds. Finally, the confined creep experiments were performed to calculate the hydraulic permeability of the scaffolds using soil mechanics principles. Our results show that composite scaffolds with some modifications can be a potential candidate for use of cartilage like applications. We hope such approaches help in developing novel scaffolds for tissue engineering by providing an understanding of the mechanics and can further be used to develop graded scaffolds by targeted infusion in specific regions. PMID:27681725

  15. Silk sericin loaded alginate nanoparticles: Preparation and anti-inflammatory efficacy.

    PubMed

    Khampieng, Thitikan; Aramwit, Pornanong; Supaphol, Pitt

    2015-09-01

    In this study, silk sericin loaded alginate nanoparticles were prepared by the emulsification method followed by internal crosslinking. The effects of various silk sericin loading concentration on particle size, shape, thermal properties, and release characteristics were investigated. The initial silk sericin loadings of 20, 40, and 80% w/w to polymer were incorporated into these alginate nanoparticles. SEM images showed a spherical shape and small particles of about 71.30-89.50 nm. TGA analysis showed that thermal stability slightly increased with increasing silk sericin loadings. FTIR analysis suggested interactions between alginate and silk sericin in the nanoparticles. The release study was performed in acetate buffer at normal skin conditions (pH 5.5; 32 °C). The release profiles of silk sericin exhibited initial rapid release, consequently with sustained release. These silk sericin loaded alginate nanoparticles were further incorporated into topical hydrogel and their anti-inflammatory properties were studied using carrageenan-induced paw edema assay. The current study confirms the hypothesis that the application of silk sericin loaded alginate nanoparticle gel can inhibit inflammation induced by carrageenan.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-04-01

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

  17. Crystal networks in silk fibrous materials: from hierarchical structure to ultra performance.

    PubMed

    Nguyen, Anh Tuan; Huang, Qiao-Ling; Yang, Zhen; Lin, Naibo; Xu, Gangqin; Liu, Xiang Yang

    2015-03-01

    This review provides a comprehensive survey of the structural characteristics of crystal networks of silk soft fibrous materials in correlation with the macroscopic properties/performance and the network formation mechanisms. The correlation between the hierarchical mesoscopic structures and the mechanical properties of silk soft fibrous materials including silk fibroin hydrogels and naturally spun silk fibers are addressed based on the hierarchical crystal network models. Namely, two types of hierarchical networks are identified: the weak nanofibril-nanofibril interaction case (i.e., silk fibroin hydrogels), and the strong nanofibril-nanofibril interaction case (i.e., silk fibers). The macroscopic properties, i.e., the rheological/mechanical properties, can be controlled in terms of tuning different levels of hierarchical network structures by ultrasonication-induced gelation, introducing the initial nucleation centers, etc. Such controls take effect by different mesoscale assembly pathways, which are found to occur via different routes of the nucleation and growth processes. Furthermore, the hierarchical network model of soft fibrous materials can be applied to explain the superior mechanical properties and the unique strain-hardening behaviors of spider silk fibers within the framework of hierarchical breaking mechanism. Obviously, a knowledge of crystal networks will allow the prediction of the performance and engineering strategy of silk fibrous materials in generals.

  18. Feeding Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes or Graphene to Silkworms for Reinforced Silk Fibers.

    PubMed

    Wang, Qi; Wang, Chunya; Zhang, Mingchao; Jian, Muqiang; Zhang, Yingying

    2016-10-12

    Silkworm silk is gaining significant attention from both the textile industry and research society because of its outstanding mechanical properties and lustrous appearance. The possibility of creating tougher silks attracts particular research interest. Carbon nanotubes and graphene are widely studied for their use as reinforcement. In this work, we report mechanically enhanced silk directly collected by feeding Bombyx mori larval silkworms with single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) and graphene. We found that parts of the fed carbon nanomaterials were incorporated into the as-spun silk fibers, whereas the others went into the excrement of silkworms. Spectroscopy study indicated that nanocarbon additions hindered the conformation transition of silk fibroin from random coil and α-helix to β-sheet, which may contribute to increased elongation at break and toughness modules. We further investigated the pyrolysis of modified silk, and a highly developed graphitic structure with obviously enhanced electrical conductivity was obtained through the introduction of SWNTs and graphene. The successful generation of these SWNT- or graphene-embedded silks by in vivo feeding is expected to open up possibilities for the large-scale production of high-strength silk fibers.

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-01

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

  1. BMP-silk composite matrices heal critically sized femoral defects.

    PubMed

    Kirker-Head, C; Karageorgiou, V; Hofmann, S; Fajardo, R; Betz, O; Merkle, H P; Hilbe, M; von Rechenberg, B; McCool, J; Abrahamsen, L; Nazarian, A; Cory, E; Curtis, M; Kaplan, D; Meinel, L

    2007-08-01

    Clinical drawbacks of bone grafting prompt the search for alternative bone augmentation technologies such as use of growth and differentiation factors, gene therapy, and cell therapy. Osteopromotive matrices are frequently employed for the local delivery and controlled release of these augmentation agents. Some matrices also provide an osteoconductive scaffold to support new bone growth. In this study, silkworm-derived silk fibroin was evaluated as an osteoconductive matrix for healing critical sized mid-femoral segmental defects in nude rats. Four treatment groups were assessed over eight weeks: silk scaffolds (SS) with recombinant human BMP-2 (rhBMP-2) and human mesenchymal stem cells (HMSC) that had been pre-differentiated along an osteoblastic lineage ex vivo (Group I; pdHMSC/rhBMP-2/SS); SS with rhBMP-2 and undifferentiated HMSCs (Group II; udHMSC/rhBMP-2/SS); SS and rhBMP-2 alone (Group III; rhBMP-2/SS); and empty defects (Group IV). Bi-weekly radiographs revealed a progressive and similar increase in Group I-III mean defect mineralization through post-operative week (POW) 8. Radiographs, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, and micro-computed tomography confirmed that Groups I-III exhibited similar substantial and significantly (p<0.05) greater defect mineralization at POW 8 than the unfilled Group IV defects which remained void of bone. No significant differences in Groups I-III defect healing at POW 8 were apparent using these same assays or mechanical testing. Histology at POW 8 revealed moderately good bridging of the parent diaphyseal cortices with woven and lamellar bone bridging islands of silk matrix in Groups I and III. Group II defects possessed comparatively less new bone which was most abundant adjacent to the parent bone margins. Elsewhere the silk matrix was more often enveloped by poorly differentiated loose fibrous connective tissue. Group IV defects showed minimal new bone formation. None of the treatment groups attained the mean mineralization

  2. Glycoproteins and skin-core structure in Nephila clavipes spider silk observed by light and electron microscopy.

    PubMed

    Augsten, K; Mühlig, P; Herrmann, C

    2000-01-01

    Microscopical imaging of natural, unstressed draglines or of untreated bulk samples showed two types or threads with diameters of either approximately 1-2 microm or 4-5 microm, which could be identified as products of the minor or major ampullate glands. The threads had a circular profile in serial cross sections and are surrounded by a thin outer layer of a different material within the section. Such fibrillar configurations were also found in untreated threads or in the same serial sections of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) samples by means of the special technique of laser scanning microscopy. In TEM slides, numerous cavities with the same circular profile were detectable, and the length of these cavities is variable from 40-300 nm. The threads are oriented parallel and twisted around themselves to construct a double thread. In the interface between the two single threads, bridge-like structures are prominent. The single untreated thread consists of cylindrical fibers with a diameter of approximately 1-1.5 microm. Apparently more than eight fibers are within a thread and each fiber is composed of a great number of fibrils with a diameter of about 150 nm. The surface of threads is coated with a characteristic layer approximately 150-250 nm thick that contains glycoproteins. These were demonstrated for the first time by labeling with concanavalin A lectin-gold complex and are dependent on the diameter and length of the thread. The same substances could also be detected inside the single thread. The skin can be removed completely or partially by mechanical treatment, or by washing with phosphate-buffered saline or trypsin.

  3. Effect of Sericin on Mechanical Behavior of Composite Material Reinforced by Silk Woven Fabric

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kimura, Teruo; Ino, Haruhiro; Hanada, Koji; Katori, Sigetaka

    Recent, attention has been given to shift from glass fibers and carbon fibers to natural fibers for FRP composites for the goal of protecting the environment. This paper concerned with the application of silk fabric for composite materials. Polypropylene (PP) was used for the matrix material and the silk fabric composites were molded using a compression molding method. Especially, the effect of sericin on mechanical behaviors of composite materials was discussed. Good adhesion between silk and PP was obtained by removing the sericin existing around the fibroin. The tensile modulus of composite decreased with decreasing the sericin because of the flexibility of silk fibers without sericin. In particular, the higher Izod impact value was obtained for the composites containing the silk fibers without sericin.

  4. Enhanced Elastic Modulus of Regenerated Silk Fibroin by Geometric Confinement in Anodized Aluminum Oxide Templates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Jiankang; Li, Liang

    2017-02-01

    Geometric confinement is a promising method for the reconstruction of silk fibroin to form diversified structures with excellent mechanical properties. To accomplish geometric confinement, a water vapor assistant embossing process is used with porous anodic aluminum oxide templates, yielding silk fibroin nanopillars with diameters ranging from 40 nm to 130 nm. The elastic modulus of the regenerated silk fibroin nanopillars is investigated with atomic force microscopy nanoindentation analysis. Compared to films with the same treatment conditions, geometric confinement provided a twofold increase in elastic modulus in embossed silk fibroin nanopillars, indicating that β-sheet crystal ordering occurred during the water vapor assistant embossing process. These results demonstrate the feasibility and mechanical property enhancement of the embossing method to fabricate silk nanostructures, and will be useful in designing miniaturized devices.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Preparation of conductive silk fabric with antibacterial properties by electroless silver plating

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Dan; Kang, Gengen; Tian, Weicheng; Lin, Lu; Wang, Wei

    2015-12-01

    To obtain an efficient approach to metalize silk fabric, a novel method was explored and silver-plated silk was prepared. In this study, tris (2-carboxyethyl) phosphine (TCEP) was utilized as a reducing agent to generate thiol groups on the silk surface. These thiol groups react with silver ions to form metal complexes, which were used as catalytic seeds and successfully initiated electroless silver plating. A variety of methods, including Raman, XRD, TG, SEM and EDS were used to characterize the intermediates and final products. The results showed that a uniform and smooth metal layer could be obtained when compared with that without TCEP pretreatment. The silver-plated silk fabric exhibited good electrical conductivity and high anti-bacterial properties. These attractive features enable this conductive silk fabric to be a good candidate as a biomedical material.

  8. Forced reeling of Bombyx mori silk: separating behavior and processing conditions.

    PubMed

    Mortimer, Beth; Holland, Chris; Vollrath, Fritz

    2013-10-14

    Controlled reeling is a powerful tool to investigate the details of silk processing. However, consistent forced reeling of silkworms is hindered by the significant degree of behaviorally induced variation caused by the animal. This paper proposes silkworm paralysis as a novel method to control the animal and thus in vivo spinning conditions. Using these methods, we achieve low and consistent reeling forces during the collection of over 500 m of individual silk fiber while monitoring filament variability, morphology, and properties. Novel techniques to measure the irregular silk cross-sectional areas lead to the more accurate calculation of the true engineering values and mechanical property variation of individual silk fibers. Combining controlled reeling and accurate thread measurement techniques allows us to present the relative contributions of processing and behavior in the performance envelope of Bombyx mori silk.

  9. Spider Silks-Biomimetics Beyond Silk Fibers: Hydrogels, films & Adhesives from Aqueous Recombinant Spider Silk dopes: A Synchrotron X-Ray Nano-Structural Study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sampath, Sujatha; Jones, Justin; Harris, Thomas; Lewis, Randolph

    2015-03-01

    With a combination of high strength and extensibility, spider silk's (SS) mechanical properties surpass those of any man made fiber. The superior properties are due to the primary protein composition and the complex hierarchical structural organization from nanoscale to macroscopic length scales. Considerable progress has been made to synthetically mimic the production of fibers based on SS proteins. We present synchrotron x-ray micro diffraction (SyXRD) results on new fibers and gels (hydrogels, lyogels) from recombinant SS protein water-soluble dopes. Novelty in these materials is two-fold: water based rather than widely used HFIP acid synthesis, makes them safe in medical applications (replacement for tendons & ligaments). Secondly, hydrogels morphology render them as excellent carriers for targeted drug delivery biomedical applications. SyXRD results reveal semi-crystalline structure with ordered beta-sheets and relatively high degree of axial orientation in the fibers, making them the closest yet to natural spider silks. SyXRD on the gels elucidate the structural transformations during the self-recovery process through mechanical removal and addition of water. Studies correlating the observed structural changes to mechanical properties are underway.

  10. Addition of Selenium Nanoparticles to Electrospun Silk Scaffold Improves the Mammalian Cell Activity While Reducing Bacterial Growth

    PubMed Central

    Chung, Stanley; Ercan, Batur; Roy, Amit K.; Webster, Thomas J.

    2016-01-01

    Silk possesses many beneficial wound healing properties, and electrospun scaffolds are especially applicable for skin applications, due to their smaller interstices and higher surface areas. However, purified silk promotes microbial growth. Selenium nanoparticles have shown excellent antibacterial properties and are a novel antimicrobial chemistry. Here, electrospun silk scaffolds were doped with selenium nanoparticles to impart antibacterial properties to the silk scaffolds. Results showed significantly improved bacterial inhibition and mild improvement in human dermal fibroblast metabolic activity. These results suggest that the addition of selenium nanoparticles to electrospun silk is a promising approach to improve wound healing with reduced infection, without relying on antibiotics. PMID:27471473

  11. Biomaterial evolution parallels behavioral innovation in the origin of orb-like spider webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blackledge, Todd A.; Kuntner, Matjaž; Marhabaie, Mohammad; Leeper, Thomas C.; Agnarsson, Ingi

    2012-11-01

    Correlated evolution of traits can act synergistically to facilitate organism function. But, what happens when constraints exist on the evolvability of some traits, but not others? The orb web was a key innovation in the origin of >12,000 species of spiders. Orb evolution hinged upon the origin of novel spinning behaviors and innovations in silk material properties. In particular, a new major ampullate spidroin protein (MaSp2) increased silk extensibility and toughness, playing a critical role in how orb webs stop flying insects. Here, we show convergence between pseudo-orb-weaving Fecenia and true orb spiders. As in the origin of true orbs, Fecenia dragline silk improved significantly compared to relatives. But, Fecenia silk lacks the high compliance and extensibility found in true orb spiders, likely due in part to the absence of MaSp2. Our results suggest how constraints limit convergent evolution and provide insight into the evolution of nature's toughest fibers.

  12. pH-sensitive multiwalled carbon nanotube dispersion with silk fibroins.

    PubMed

    Kim, Hun-Sik; Yoon, Seok Ho; Kwon, Soon-Min; Jin, Hyoung-Joon

    2009-01-12

    Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are considered to be ideal multifunctional materials for biorelated applications, but there is still some controversy regarding their toxicity. In addition, the poor dispersibility of MWCNTs in either water or organic solvents has limited their practical applications. Therefore, obtaining a good dispersion is one of the key issues in their applications. In this study, MWCNTs were dispersed in an aqueous solution using silk fibroin without chemical modification. An optical analyzer, Turbiscan, was used to confirm the stability of the MWCNT aqueous dispersion. Transmission electron microscopy showed individual MWCNTs coated with silk fibroin molecules. Silk fibroin in the sol state can interact with nanotubes through hydrophobic interactions. Therefore, silk fibroin molecules coat the nanotubes, which allow their dispersion in water. Under basic conditions (pH 12.0), an aqueous dispersion of MWCNTs with silk fibroin was stable without sedimentation or gelation. However, the MWCNT/silk fibroin dispersion was unstable under acidic conditions (pH 4.0). In addition, the MWCNT dispersion showed reversible changes with variations in pH. Under acidic conditions, the MWCNTs settled due to conformation changes in the silk fibroin. However, the stability of the MWCNTs had recovered fully under basic conditions. It is believed that silk fibroin has sol-like behavior under basic conditions and gel-like behavior under acidic conditions. Ultraviolet circular dichroism was used to determine the conformation of the silk fibroin molecules with pH. Overall, the pH-sensitive properties of the carbon nanotubes dispersed with silk fibroin can lead to a new class of novel biomaterials for cancer detection and treatment.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

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

  15. Influence of Water Content on the β-Sheet Formation, Thermal Stability, Water Removal, and Mechanical Properties of Silk Materials.

    PubMed

    Yazawa, Kenjiro; Ishida, Kana; Masunaga, Hiroyasu; Hikima, Takaaki; Numata, Keiji

    2016-03-14

    Silk, which has excellent mechanical toughness and is lightweight, is used as a structural material in nature, for example, in silkworm cocoons and spider draglines. However, the industrial use of silk as a structural material has garnered little attention. For silk to be used as a structural material, its thermal processability and associated properties must be well understood. Although water molecules influence the glass transition of silk, the effects of water content on the other thermal properties of silks are not well understood. In this study, we prepared Bombyx mori cocoon raw fibers, degummed fibers, and films with different water contents and then investigated the effects of water content on crystallization, degradation, and water removal during thermal processing. Thermal gravimetric analyses of the silk materials showed that water content did not affect the thermal degradation temperature but did influence the water removal behavior. By increasing the water content of silk, the water molecules were removed at lower temperatures, indicating that the amount of free water in silk materials increased; additionally, the glass transition temperature decreased with increasing water plasticization. Differential scanning calorimetry and wide-angle X-ray scattering of the silk films also suggested that the water molecules in the amorphous regions of the silk films acted as a plasticizer and induced β-sheet crystallization. The plasticizing effect of water was not detected in silk fibers, owing to their lower amorphous content and mobility. The structural and mechanical characterizations of the silk films demonstrated the silk film prepared at RH 97% realized both crystallinity and ductility simultaneously. Thus, the thermal stability, mechanical, and other properties of silk materials are regulated by their water content and crystallinity.

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-20

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

  18. Silk fibroin-based scaffolds for tissue engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Zi-Heng; Ji, Shi-Chen; Wang, Ya-Zhen; Shen, Xing-Can; Liang, Hong

    2013-09-01

    Silk fibroin (SF) from the Bombyx mori silkworm exhibits attractive potential applications as biomechanical materials, due to its unique mechanical and biological properties. This review outlines the structure and properties of SF, including of its biocompatibility and biodegradability. It highlights recent researches on the fabrication of various SF-based composites scaffolds that are promising for tissue engineering applications, and discusses synthetic methods of various SF-based composites scaffolds and valuable approaches for controlling cell behaviors to promote the tissue repair. The function of extracellular matrices and their interaction with cells are also reviewed here.

  19. Mechanical behavior of silk during the evolution of orb-web spinning spiders.

    PubMed

    Elices, Manuel; Plaza, Gustavo R; Arnedo, Miquel A; Pérez-Rigueiro, José; Torres, Fernando G; Guinea, Gustavo V

    2009-07-13

    The development of an accurate and reproducible approach to measuring the tensile behavior of spider silk has allowed characterizing and comparing the range of mechanical properties exhibited by different spider species with unprecedented detail. The comparison of silks spun by spiders belonging to different phylogenetic groups has revealed that evolution locked in many of the important properties of spider silks very early in the history of orb-web weaving spiders, despite the fact that the silk gland system is relatively isolated in physiological terms from the rest of the organism and should thus mutate quickly. The variations observed between species may be grouped in at least two patterns that are shown not to be related to phylogeny. Beyond the relevance of these results for the evolutionary biology of spiders and silks, the conservation of the basic traits observed in the mechanical behavior of spider silks is likely to set a limit to the range of properties that can be expected from artificial fibers bioinspired in natural silks.

  20. Nanomechanics of new materials — AFM and computer modelling studies of trichoptera silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Strzelecki, Janusz; Strzelecka, Joanna; Mikulska, Karolina; Tszydel, Mariusz; Balter, Aleksander; Nowak, Wiesław

    2011-04-01

    Caddisfly (Trichopera) can glue diverse material underwater with a silk fiber. This makes it a particularly interesting subject for biomimetcs. Better understanding of silk composition and structure could lead to an adhesive capable to close bleeding wounds or to new biomaterials. However, while spiderweb or silkworm secretion is well researched, caddisfly silk is still poorly understood. Here we report a first nanomechanical analysis of H. Angustipennis caddisfly silk fiber. An Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) imaging shows dense 150 nm bumps on silk surface, which can be identified as one of features responsible for its outstanding adhesive properties. AFM force spectroscopy at the fiber surface showed, among others, characteristic saw like pattern. This pattern is attributed to sacrificial bond stretching and enhances energy dissipation in mechanical deformation. Similarities of some force curves observed on Tegenaria domestica spiderweb and caddisfly silk are also discussed. Steered Molecular Dynamics simulations revealed that the strength of short components of Fib-H HA species molecules, abundant in Trichoptera silk is critically dependent on calcium presence.

  1. 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.

  2. Wound healing effect of electrospun silk fibroin nanomatrix in burn-model.

    PubMed

    Ju, Hyung Woo; Lee, Ok Joo; Lee, Jung Min; Moon, Bo Mi; Park, Hyun Jung; Park, Ye Ri; Lee, Min Chae; Kim, Soo Hyeon; Chao, Janet Ren; Ki, Chang Seok; Park, Chan Hum

    2016-04-01

    Silk fibroin has recently become an important biomaterial for tissue engineering application. In this study, silk fibroin nanomatrix was fabricated by electrospinning and evaluated as wound dressing material in a burn rat model. The wound size reduction, histological examination, and the quantification of transforming growth factor TGF-β1 and interleukin IL-1α, 6, and 10 were measured to evaluate the healing effects. The silk fibroin nanomatrix treatment exhibited effective performance in decreasing the wound size and epithelialization. Histological finding also revealed that the deposition of collagen in the dermis was organized by covering the wound area in the silk fibroin nanomatrix treated group. The expression level of pro-inflammatory cytokine (IL-1α) was significantly reduced in the injured skin following the silk fibroin nanomatrix treatment compared to the medical gauze (control) at 7 days after burn. Also, the expression level of TGF-β1 in the wound treated with silk fibroin nanomatrix peaked 21-days post-treatment whereas expression level of TGF-β1 was highest at day 7 in the gauze treated group. In conclusion, this data demonstrates that silk fibroin nanomatrix enhances the burn wound healing, suggesting it is a good candidate for burn wound treatment.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-09

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

  4. Mosaic evolution of silk genes in Aliatypus trapdoor spiders (mygalomorphae, antrodiaetidae).

    PubMed

    Starrett, James; Hayashi, Cheryl Y

    2013-04-01

    Spider silk genes are composed mostly of repetitive sequence that is flanked by non-repetitive terminal regions. Inferences about the evolutionary processes that influenced silk genes have largely been made from analyses using distantly related taxa and ancient silk gene duplicates. These studies have relied on comparisons across the conserved non-repetitive terminal regions to determine orthologous and paralogous relationships, as well as the influence of selection on silk genes. While the repetitive region heavily influences silk fiber mechanical properties, few molecular evolutionary analyses have been conducted on this region due to difficulty in determining homology. Here, we sample internal repetitive and carboxy terminal regions from all extant species of the trapdoor spider genus, Aliatypus. Aliatypus spiders are highly dispersal limited and rely on their silk lined burrow for protection. We determine positional homology across species for the carboxy terminal regions and relative positional homology for the internal repetitive regions. Gene trees based on each of these regions are in good agreement with the Aliatypus species tree, which indicates we sampled single spidroin orthologs in each species. In addition, we find that purifying selection and concerted evolution have acted to conserve Aliatypus spidroin internal repetitive regions. In contrast, selection testing identifies evidence of sites that evolved under positive selection and amino acid replacements that result in radical physicochemical changes in the carboxy terminal region. These findings indicate that comparison of spidroin orthologs across a comprehensive sample of congenerics reveal molecular evolutionary patterns obscured from studies using higher-level sampling of silk encoding genes.

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

    PubMed

    Wang, Yu; Porter, David; Shao, Zhengzhong

    2013-11-11

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

  6. Electrophoretic deposition of tetracycline modified silk fibroin coatings for functionalization of titanium surfaces

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Zhen; Qu, Yinying; Li, Xiaoshuang; Zhang, Sheng; Wei, Qingsong; Shi, Yusheng; Chen, Lili

    2014-06-01

    Electrophoretic deposition has been widely used for the fabrication of functional coatings onto metal implant. A characteristic feature of this process is that positively charged materials migrate toward the cathode and can deposit on it. In this study, silk fibroin was decorated with tetracycline in aqueous solution to impart positive charge, and then deposited on negatively titanium cathode under certain electric field. The characterization of the obtained coatings indicated that the intermolecular hydrogen bonds formed between the backbone of silk fibroin and tetracycline molecular. In vitro biological tests demonstrated that osteoblast-like cells achieved acceptable cell affinity on the tetracycline cross-linked silk fibroin coatings, although greater cell viability was seen on pure silk fibroin coatings. The cationic silk fibroin coatings showed remarkable antibacterial activity against gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus) and gram-negative (Escherichia coli) bacteria. Therefore, we concluded that electrophoretic deposition was an effective and efficient technique to prepare cationic silk fibroin coatings on the titanium surface and that cationic silk fibroin coatings with acceptable biocompatibility and antibacterial property were promising candidates for further loading of functional agents.

  7. Facile Fabrication of Multifunctional Hybrid Silk Fabrics with Controllable Surface Wettability and Laundering Durability.

    PubMed

    Chen, Fengxiang; Yang, Huiyu; Liu, Xin; Chen, Dongzhi; Xiao, Xingfang; Liu, Keshuai; Li, Jing; Cheng, Fan; Dong, Binhai; Zhou, Yingshan; Guo, Zhiguang; Qin, Yong; Wang, Shimin; Xu, Weilin

    2016-03-02

    To obtain a hydrophobic surface, TiO2 coatings are deposited on the surface of silk fabric using atomic layer deposition (ALD) to realize a hierarchical roughness structure. The surface morphology and topography, structure, and wettability properties of bare silk fabric and TiO2-coated silk fabrics thus prepared are evaluated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), scanning probe microscope (SPM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), static water contact angles (WCAs), and roll-off angles, respectively. The surfaces of the silk fabrics with the TiO2 coatings exhibit higher surface roughnesses compared with those of the bare silk fabric. Importantly, the hydrophobic and laundering durability properties of the TiO2-coated silk fabrics are largely improved by increasing the thickness of the ALD TiO2 coating. Meanwhile, the ALD process has a litter effect on the service performance of silk fabric. Overall, TiO2 coating using an ALD process is recognized as a promising approach to produce hydrophobic surfaces for elastic materials.

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-11-01

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

  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. Engineering of fluorescent emission of silk fibroin composite materials by material assembly.

    PubMed

    Lin, Naibo; Meng, Zhaohui; Toh, Guoyang William; Zhen, Yang; Diao, Yingying; Xu, Hongyao; Liu, Xiang Yang

    2015-03-01

    This novel materials assembly technology endows the designated materials with additional/enhanced performance by fixing "functional components" into the materials. Such functional components are molecularly recognized and accommodated by the designated materials. In this regard, two-photon fluorescence (TPF) organic molecules and CdTe quantum dots (QDs) are adopted as functional components to functionalize silk fibers and films. TPF organic molecules, such as, 2,7-bis[2-(4-nitrophenyl) ethenyl]-9,9-dibutylfluorene (NM), exhibit TPF emission quenching because of the molecular stacking that leads to aggregation in the solid form. The specific recognition between -NO2 in the annealed fluorescent molecules and the -NH groups in the silk fibroin molecules decouples the aggregated molecules. This gives rise to a significant increase in the TPF quantum yields of the silk fibers. Similarly, as another type of functional components, CdTe quantum dots (QDs) with different sizes were also adopted in the silk functionalization method. Compared to QDs in solution the fluorescence properties of functionalized silk materials display a long stability at room temperature. As the functional materials are well dispersed at high quantum yields in the biocompatible silk a TPF microscope can be used to pursue 3D high-resolution imaging in real time of the TPF-silk scaffold.

  11. Strength of silk attachment to Ilex chinensis leaves in the tea bagworm Eumeta minuscula (Lepidoptera, Psychidae).

    PubMed

    Wolff, Jonas O; Lovtsova, Julia; Gorb, Elena; Dai, Zhendong; Ji, Aihong; Zhao, Zhihui; Jiang, Nan; Gorb, Stanislav N

    2017-03-01

    Silks play an important role in the life of various arthropods. A highly neglected prerequisite to make versatile use of silks is sufficient attachment to substrates. Although there have been some studies on the structure and mechanics of silk anchorages of spiders, for insects only anecdotal reports on attachment-associated spinning behaviour exist. Here, we experimentally studied the silk attachment of the pupae and last instar caterpillars of the tea bagworm Eumeta minuscula (Butler 1881) (Lepidoptera, Psychidae) to the leaves of its host plant Ilex chinensis We found that the bagworms spin attachment discs, which share some structural features with those of spiders, like a plaque consisting of numerous overlaid, looped glue-coated silk fibres and the medially attaching suspension thread. Although the glue, which coats the fibres, cannot spread and adhere very well to the leaf surface, high pull-off forces were measured, yielding a mean safety factor (force divided by the animal weight) of 385.6. Presumably, the bagworms achieve this by removal of the leaf epidermis prior to silk attachment, which exposes the underlying tissue that represents a much better bonding site. This ensures a reliable attachment during the immobile, vulnerable pupal stage. This is the first study on the biomechanics and structure of silk attachments to substrates in insects.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  13. Bioactive and UV protective silk materials containing baicalin - The multifunctional plant extract from Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Yuyang; Yang, Zhi-Yi; Tang, Ren-Cheng

    2016-10-01

    There has been a phenomenal increase in the research and development of new health and hygiene-related textile products. This work reports a novel approach to develop antibacterial, antioxidant and UV-protective silk using an adsorption technique of baicalin (a bioactive ingredient from the root of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi). Baicalin displayed high adsorption capability at pH2.75, contributing to the sufficient functionalities on silk. The equilibrium adsorption research showed that the Langmuir isotherm was able to describe the behavior of baicalin, indicating the electrostatic interactions between the ionized carboxyl groups in baicalin and the positively charged amino groups in silk. The treated silk with 2% owf (on the weight of fiber) baicalin exhibited excellent antioxidant activity, high antibacterial activities against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, and very good ultraviolet protection ability comparable to that of the commercial benzotriazole ultraviolet absorber. The baicalin treatment had no obvious impact on the functional groups, crystal structure and surface morphology of silk. The functionalities of the treated silk obviously declined after first laundering cycle and slowly decreased in the following washing cycles. Encouraging results demonstrate that the baicalin-functionalized silk is a promising material for protective clothing and medical textiles.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-05-20

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