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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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)).

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

    PubMed

    Dionne, Justine; Lefèvre, Thierry; Auger, Michèle

    2016-08-18

    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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

  2. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Spider minor ampullate silk proteins contain new repetitive sequences and highly conserved non-silk-like "spacer regions".

    PubMed

    Colgin, M A; Lewis, R V

    1998-03-01

    Spider minor ampullate silk is a strong non-elastic deformably stretchable silk used in web formation. This silk from Nephila clavipes is composed of two proteins, MiSp 1 and 2, whose transcripts are 9.5 and 7.5 kb, respectively, as determined by Northern blots. Both MiSp proteins are organized into a predominantly repetitive region and a small nonrepetitive carboxy terminal region. These highly repetitive regions are composed mainly of glycine and alanine, but also contain tyrosine, glutamine, and arginine. The sequences are mainly GGX and GA repeats. The repetitive regions are interrupted by nonrepetitive serine-rich spacer regions. Although the sequences of the spacer regions differ from the repetitive regions, sequences of the spacers from different regions of the proteins are nearly identical. The sequence differences between major and minor ampullate silks may explain the differing mechanical properties of the fibers.

  4. Duplication and concerted evolution of MiSp-encoding genes underlie the material properties of minor ampullate silks of cobweb weaving spiders.

    PubMed

    Vienneau-Hathaway, Jannelle M; Brassfield, Elizabeth R; Lane, Amanda Kelly; Collin, Matthew A; Correa-Garhwal, Sandra M; Clarke, Thomas H; Schwager, Evelyn E; Garb, Jessica E; Hayashi, Cheryl Y; Ayoub, Nadia A

    2017-03-14

    Orb-web weaving spiders and their relatives use multiple types of task-specific silks. The majority of spider silk studies have focused on the ultra-tough dragline silk synthesized in major ampullate glands, but other silk types have impressive material properties. For instance, minor ampullate silks of orb-web weaving spiders are as tough as draglines, due to their higher extensibility despite lower strength. Differences in material properties between silk types result from differences in their component proteins, particularly members of the spidroin (spider fibroin) gene family. However, the extent to which variation in material properties within a single silk type can be explained by variation in spidroin sequences is unknown. Here, we compare the minor ampullate spidroins (MiSp) of orb-weavers and cobweb weavers. Orb-web weavers use minor ampullate silk to form the auxiliary spiral of the orb-web while cobweb weavers use it to wrap prey, suggesting that selection pressures on minor ampullate spidroins (MiSp) may differ between the two groups. We report complete or nearly complete MiSp sequences from five cobweb weaving spider species and measure material properties of minor ampullate silks in a subset of these species. We also compare MiSp sequences and silk properties of our cobweb weavers to published data for orb-web weavers. We demonstrate that all our cobweb weavers possess multiple MiSp loci and that one locus is more highly expressed in at least two species. We also find that the proportion of β-spiral-forming amino acid motifs in MiSp positively correlates with minor ampullate silk extensibility across orb-web and cobweb weavers. MiSp sequences vary dramatically within and among spider species, and have likely been subject to multiple rounds of gene duplication and concerted evolution, which have contributed to the diverse material properties of minor ampullate silks. Our sequences also provide templates for recombinant silk proteins with tailored

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-05-01

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

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-02

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. Molecular dynamics simulations of the minor ampullate spidroin modular amino acid sequence from Parawixia bistriatra: insights into silk tertiary structure and fibre formation.

    PubMed

    Murad, André M; Rech, Elíbio L

    2011-05-01

    Spider fibres are primarily composed of proteins that are secreted by specialised glands found in different groups of arthropods. Because of their unique mechanical characteristics, it is of great interest to understand how the influence of repetitive modules within the fibres affects the final protein structure. Because each fibre is composed of a diverse set of repeated modular sequences, the differences between fibres allow for their structural comparison and, thereby, their functional comparison. Herein, we present molecular dynamics simulations of partial sequences from minor ampullate Spidroin (MiSp) silk of the Brazilian species Parawixia bistriata. Our data show that the formation of β-sheet structures is directly related to the N-termini alignment of the modules. The N-terminal alignment gives rise to a high number of hydrogen bonds whose formation is driven by repeated alanine (Ala) sequences, which, in turn, lead to increased fibre strength. This increased fibre strength contributes significantly to the final tertiary structure of the silk.

  14. 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.

  15. Silk gene expression of theridiid spiders: implications for male-specific silk use.

    PubMed

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

    2017-06-01

    Spiders (order Araneae) rely on their silks for essential tasks, such as dispersal, prey capture, and reproduction. Spider silks are largely composed of spidroins, members of a protein family that are synthesized in silk glands. As needed, silk stored in silk glands is extruded through spigots on the spinnerets. Nearly all studies of spider silks have been conducted on females; thus, little is known about male silk biology. To shed light on silk use by males, we compared silk gene expression profiles of mature males to those of females from three cob-web weaving species (Theridiidae). We de novo assembled species-specific male transcriptomes from Latrodectus hesperus, Latrodectus geometricus, and Steatoda grossa followed by differential gene expression analyses. Consistent with their complement of silk spigots, male theridiid spiders express appreciable amounts of aciniform, major ampullate, minor ampullate, and pyriform spidroin genes but not tubuliform spidroin genes. The relative expression levels of particular spidroin genes varied between sexes and species. Because mature males desert their prey-capture webs and become cursorial in their search for mates, we anticipated that major ampullate (dragline) spidroin genes would be the silk genes most highly expressed by males. Indeed, major ampullate spidroin genes had the highest expression in S. grossa males. However, minor ampullate spidroin genes were the most highly expressed spidroin genes in L. geometricus and L. hesperus males. Our expression profiling results suggest species-specific adaptive divergence of silk use by male theridiids. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier GmbH.. All rights reserved.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Correa-Garhwal, Sandra M; Garb, Jessica E

    2014-12-08

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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Silk elasticity as a potential constraint on spider body size.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Gironés, Miguel A; Corcobado, Guadalupe; Moya-Laraño, Jordi

    2010-10-07

    Silk is known for its strength and extensibility and has played a key role in the radiation of spiders. Individual spiders use different glands to produce silk types with unique sets of proteins. Most research has studied the properties of major ampullate and capture spiral silks and their ecological implications, while little is known about minor ampullate silk, the type used by those spider species studied to date for bridging displacements. A biomechanical model parameterised with available data shows that the minimum radius of silk filaments required for efficient bridging grows with the square root of the spider's body mass, faster than the radius of minor ampullate silk filaments actually produced by spiders. Because the morphology of spiders adapted to walking along or under silk threads is ill suited for moving on a solid surface, for these species there is a negative relationship between body mass and displacement ability. As it stands, the model suggests that spiders that use silk for their displacements are prevented from attaining a large body size if they must track their resources in space. In particular, silk elasticity would favour sexual size dimorphism because males that must use bridging lines to search for females cannot grow large. 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Punctuated evolution of viscid silk in spider orb webs supported by mechanical behavior of wet cribellate silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Piorkowski, Dakota; Blackledge, Todd A.

    2017-08-01

    The origin of viscid capture silk in orb webs, from cribellate silk-spinning ancestors, is a key innovation correlated with significant diversification of web-building spiders. Ancestral cribellate silk consists of dry nanofibrils surrounding a stiff, axial fiber that adheres to prey through van der Waals interactions, capillary forces, and physical entanglement. In contrast, viscid silk uses chemically adhesive aqueous glue coated onto a highly compliant and extensible flagelliform core silk. The extensibility of the flagelliform fiber accounts for half of the total work of adhesion for viscid silk and is enabled by water in the aqueous coating. Recent cDNA libraries revealed the expression of flagelliform silk proteins in cribellate orb-weaving spiders. We hypothesized that the presence of flagelliform proteins in cribellate silk could have allowed for a gradual shift in mechanical performance of cribellate axial silk, whose effect was masked by the dry nature of its adhesive. We measured supercontraction and mechanical performance of cribellate axial silk, in wet and dry states, for two species of cribellate orb web-weaving spiders to see if water enabled flagelliform silk-like performance. We found that compliance and extensibility of wet cribellate silk increased compared to dry state as expected. However, when compared to other silk types, the response to water was more similar to other web silks, like major and minor ampullate silk, than to viscid silk. These findings support the punctuated evolution of viscid silk mechanical performance.

  3. 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

  4. 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. © 2014 The Authors. Published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-06-01

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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Functional design of spider's silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gosline, John; Guerette, Paul; Ortlepp, Christine

    1996-02-01

    The orb-web weaving spiders produce a broad range of high performance structural fibers (i.e. silks) with mechanical properties that are superbly matched to their function. Our interest in these materials stems both from an interest in the biology of the spiders and the design of their webs and also from a desire to discover principles of mechanical design of protein-based structural materials that can guide the development of novel bio-engineered materials. All spiders produce silks, but the orb-web weaving spiders are unique in their ability to produce seven different silks, each from distinct gland/spinneret complexes. Considering the wide diversity of spider species, there is likely to be an enormous range of material properties available in spider silk. However, at present, we only have information on two species of spiders, and only two of their seven silks have been studied in any detail. These are: (1) the silk produced by the major ampullate gland, which forms the safety-line or dragline of the spider and also is used to form the frame of its orb-web, and (2) the viscid silk produced by the flagelliform gland, which forms the glue-covered catching spiral of the web. In this paper we describe several aspects of the mechanical design of the dragline and viscid silks produced by the spider Araneus diadematus.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  14. Post-secretion processing influences spider silk performance

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-13

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-11

    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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-12-10

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

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-13

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-28

    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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-10-01

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

  13. Physicochemical Property Variation in Spider Silk: Ecology, Evolution, and Synthetic Production.

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-31

    The unique combination of great stiffness, strength, and extensibility makes spider major ampullate (MA) silk desirable for various biomimetic and synthetic applications. Intensive research on the genetics, biochemistry, and biomechanics of this material has facilitated a thorough understanding of its properties at various levels. Nevertheless, methods such as cloning, recombination, and electrospinning have not successfully produced materials with properties as impressive as those of spider silk. It is nevertheless becoming clear that silk properties are a consequence of whole-organism interactions with the environment in addition to genetic expression, gland biochemistry, and spinning processes. Here we assimilate the research done and assess the techniques used to determine distinct forms of spider silk chemical and physical property variability. We suggest that more research should focus on testing hypotheses that explain spider silk property variations in ecological and evolutionary contexts.

  14. Spinning an elastic ribbon of spider silk.

    PubMed

    Knight, David P; Vollrath, Fritz

    2002-02-28

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2002-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

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

    DOE PAGES

    Sampath, Sujatha; Yarger, Jeffery L.

    2014-11-27

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

  2. Quasistatic and continuous dynamic characterization of the mechanical properties of silk from the cobweb of the black widow spider Latrodectus hesperus.

    PubMed

    Blackledge, Todd A; Swindeman, John E; Hayashi, Cheryl Y

    2005-05-01

    Spider silks are among the strongest and toughest known materials, but investigation of these remarkable properties has been confined largely to orb-weaving spiders. We investigated the mechanical performance of silk from the cobweb-weaving spider Latrodectus hesperus. Both silk from the scaffolding region of the web and sticky gumfooted capture lines had material properties similar to the major ampullate silk that orb weavers use as the framework for their orb webs. Major ampullate fibers obtained from anaesthetized Latrodectus spiders were similar, but exhibited increased stiffness and reduced extensibility. Novel continuous dynamic analysis of the silks revealed that the loss tangent (tandelta) increased rapidly during the first 2-3% of extension and reached a maximum near the yield point of fibers. The loss tangent then rapidly declined at an ever-decreasing rate until failure. We suggest that these data support molecular models for the mechanics of spider silk. We also demonstrate that the addition of sticky aggregate glue to the ends of the gumfooted lines modulates their mechanical performance--reducing stiffness and increasing extensibility. The storage modulus of viscid regions of the gumfooted lines was much lower than dry regions. This may be explained by disruption of hydrogen bonding within the amorphous regions of the fibers due to hydration from the glue.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-14

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

  6. Nanostructural and mechanical property changes to spider silk as a consequence of insecticide exposure.

    PubMed

    Benamú, Marco; Lacava, Mariángeles; García, Luis F; Santana, Martín; Fang, Jian; Wang, Xungai; Blamires, Sean J

    2017-08-01

    Neonicotinoids are one of the world's most extensively used insecticides, but their sub-lethal influences on non-target and beneficial organisms are not well known. Here we exposed the orb web spider Parawixia audax, which is found on arable lands in Uruguay, to a sub-lethal concentration of the broad spectrum insecticide Geonex (thiamethoxam + lambda-cyhalothrin) and monitored their web building. We collected their major ampullate silk and subjected it to tensile tests, wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXS) analysis, and amino acid composition analysis. Around half of the exposed spiders failed to build webs. Those that built webs produced irregular webs lacking spiral threads. The mechanical properties, nanostructures, and amino acid compositions of the silk were all significantly affected when the spiders were exposed to insecticides. We found that silk proline, glutamine, alanine and glycine compositions differed between treatments, indicating that insecticide exposure induced downregulation of the silk protein MaSp2. The spiders in the control group had stronger, tougher and more extensible silks than those in the insecticide exposed group. Our WAXS analyses showed the amorphous region nanostructures became misaligned in insecticide exposed silks, explaining their greater stiffness. While the insecticide dose we subjected P. audax to was evidently sub-lethal, the changes in silk physicochemical properties and the impairment to web building will indelibly affect their ability to catch prey. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-10

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

  8. Quantitative Correlation Between the Protein Primary Sequences and Secondary Structures in Spider Dragline Silks

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Hox genes 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 Hox genes can also function in terminally differentiated tissue of the lepidopteran Bombyx mori. In this species, Antennapedia (Antp) regulates expression of sericin-1, a major silk protein gene, in the silk gland. Here, we investigated whether Antp can regulate expression of multiple genes in this tissue. By means of proteomic, RT-PCR, and in situ hybridization analyses, we demonstrate that misexpression of Antp in the posterior silk gland induced ectopic expression of major silk protein genes such as sericin-3, fhxh4, and fhxh5. These genes are normally expressed specifically in the middle silk gland as is Antp. Therefore, the evidence strongly suggests that Antp activates these silk protein genes in the middle silk gland. The putative sericin-1 activator complex (middle silk gland-intermolt-specific complex) can bind to the upstream regions of these genes, suggesting that Antp directly activates their expression. We also found that the pattern of gene expression was well conserved between B. mori and 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 Hox genes have a role as a master control in terminally differentiated tissues, possibly acting as a primary regulator for a range of physiological processes. PMID:26814126

  14. 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. © 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

  15. Damping capacity is evolutionarily conserved in the radial silk of orb-weaving spiders.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Sean P; Sensenig, Andrew; Lorentz, Kimberly A; Blackledge, Todd A

    2011-09-01

    Orb-weaving spiders depend upon their two-dimensional silk traps to stop insects in mid flight. While the silks used to construct orb webs must be extremely tough to absorb the tremendous kinetic energy of insect prey, webs must also minimize the return of that energy to prey to prevent insects from bouncing out of oscillating webs. We therefore predict that the damping capacity of major ampullate spider silk, which forms the supporting frames and radial threads of orb webs, should be evolutionarily conserved among orb-weaving spiders. We test this prediction by comparing silk from six diverse species of orb spiders. Silk was taken directly from the radii of orb webs and a Nano Bionix test system was used either to sequentially extend the silk to 25% strain in 5% increments while relaxing it fully between each cycle, or to pull virgin silk samples to 15% strain. Damping capacity was then calculated as the percent difference in loading and unloading energies. Damping capacity increased after yield for all species and typically ranged from 40 to 50% within each cycle for sequentially pulled silk and from 50 to 70% for virgin samples. Lower damping at smaller strains may allow orb webs to withstand minor perturbations from wind and small prey while still retaining the ability to capture large insects. The similarity in damping capacity of silk from the radii spun by diverse spiders highlights the importance of energy absorption by silk for orb-weaving spiders. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-01

    The spinning process of spiders can modulate the mechanical properties of their silk fibers. It is therefore of primary importance to understand what are the key elements of the spider spinning process to develop efficient industrial spinning processes. We have exhaustively investigated the native conformation of major ampullate silk (MaS) proteins by comparing the content of the major ampullate gland of Nephila clavipes, solubilized MaS (SolMaS) fibers and the recombinant proteins rMaSpI and rMaSpII using (1) H solution NMR spectroscopy. The results indicate that the protein secondary structure is basically identical for the recombinant protein rMaSpI, SolMaS proteins, and the proteins in the dope, and corresponds to a disordered protein rich in 3(1) -helices. The data also show that glycine proton chemical shifts of rMaSpI and SolMaS are affected by pH, but that this change is not due to a modification of the secondary structure. Using a combination of NMR and dynamic light scattering, we have found that the spectral alteration of glycine is concomitant to a modification of the hydrodynamical diameter of recombinant and solubilized MaS. This led us to suggest new potential roles for the pH acidification in the spinning process of MaS proteins. Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  5. Heat Capacity of Spider Silk-like Block Copolymers.

    PubMed

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

    2011-07-12

    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=1-3), comprising an alanine-rich hydrophobic block, A, a glycine-rich hydrophilic block, B, and a histidine tag, H. The reversing heat capacities, Cp(T), for temperatures below and above the glass transition, Tg, were measured by temperature modulated differential scanning calorimetry. For the solid state, we then calculated the heat capacities of our novel block copolymers based on the vibrational motions of the constituent poly(amino acid)s, whose heat capacities are known or can be estimated from the ATHAS Data Bank. For the liquid state, the heat capacity was estimated by using the rotational and translational motions in the polymer chain. Excellent agreement was found between the measured and calculated values of the heat capacity, showing that this method can serve as a standard by which to assess the Cp for other biologically inspired block copolymers. The fraction of beta sheet crystallinity of spider silk block copolymers was also determined by using the predicted Cp, and was verified by wide angle X-ray diffraction and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The glass transition temperatures of spider silk block copolymer were fitted by Kwei's equation and the results indicate that attractive interaction exists between the A-block and B-block.

  6. 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

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

    PubMed

    Lane, Amanda Kelly; Hayashi, Cheryl Y; Whitworth, Gregg B; Ayoub, Nadia A

    2013-12-02

    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. 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. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Validation of a microwave sterilizer for injection ampules.

    PubMed

    Sasaki, K; Honda, W; Ohsawa, S; Miyake, Y; Kawashima, Y

    1999-01-01

    A program for validating the microwave sterilizer, which is a new type of sterilizer, was established and implemented. This program includes the following tests specific to microwave sterilizers: the internal pressure strength of ampules, the acceptable range of sterilizing temperature, performance and calibration of the infrared thermometer and the plane blackbody, maintaining of sterilizing temperature, the processing speed (sterilizing time), the unacceptable ampules selection mechanism, microwave leaks, and a microbiological challenge test of the ampule head space using a biological indicator. Injectable preparations of mecobalamin and diprophylline were used as models for validation of the microwave sterilizer. The bioburden approach was used for injectable mecobalamin preparation, and the over-kill approach was used for injectable diprophylline preparation. The basis for practical use of this microwave sterilizer has been confirmed by the establishment and implementation of this validation program.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Sequential pH-driven dimerization and stabilization of the N-terminal domain enables rapid spider silk formation.

    PubMed

    Kronqvist, Nina; Otikovs, Martins; Chmyrov, Volodymyr; Chen, Gefei; Andersson, Marlene; Nordling, Kerstin; Landreh, Michael; Sarr, Médoune; Jörnvall, Hans; Wennmalm, Stefan; Widengren, Jerker; Meng, Qing; Rising, Anna; Otzen, Daniel; Knight, Stefan D; Jaudzems, Kristaps; Johansson, Jan

    2014-01-01

    The mechanisms controlling the conversion of spider silk proteins into insoluble fibres, which happens in a fraction of a second and in a defined region of the silk glands, are still unresolved. The N-terminal domain changes conformation and forms a homodimer when pH is lowered from 7 to 6; however, the molecular details still remain to be determined. Here we investigate site-directed mutants of the N-terminal domain from Euprosthenops australis major ampullate spidroin 1 and find that the charged residues D40, R60 and K65 mediate intersubunit electrostatic interactions. Protonation of E79 and E119 is required for structural conversions of the subunits into a dimer conformation, and subsequent protonation of E84 around pH 5.7 leads to the formation of a fully stable dimer. These residues are highly conserved, indicating that the now proposed three-step mechanism prevents premature aggregation of spidroins and enables fast formation of spider silk fibres in general.

  20. 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.

  1. Analysis of repetitive amino acid motifs reveals the essential features of spider dragline silk proteins.

    PubMed

    Malay, Ali D; Arakawa, Kazuharu; Numata, Keiji

    2017-01-01

    The extraordinary mechanical properties of spider dragline silk are dependent on the highly repetitive sequences of the component proteins, major ampullate spidroin 1 and 2 (MaSp2 and MaSp2). MaSp sequences are dominated by repetitive modules composed of short amino acid motifs; however, the patterns of motif conservation through evolution and their relevance to silk characteristics are not well understood. We performed a systematic analysis of MaSp sequences encompassing infraorder Araneomorphae based on the conservation of explicitly defined motifs, with the aim of elucidating the essential elements of MaSp1 and MaSp2. The results show that the GGY motif is nearly ubiquitous in the two types of MaSp, while MaSp2 is invariably associated with GP and di-glutamine (QQ) motifs. Further analysis revealed an extended MaSp2 consensus sequence in family Araneidae, with implications for the classification of the archetypal spidroins ADF3 and ADF4. Additionally, the analysis of RNA-seq data showed the expression of a set of distinct MaSp-like variants in genus Tetragnatha. Finally, an apparent association was uncovered between web architecture and the abundance of GP, QQ, and GGY motifs in MaSp2, which suggests a co-expansion of these motifs in response to the evolution of spiders' prey capture strategy.

  2. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

    In this study, the secondary structure of the major ampullate silk from Peucetia viridans (Green Lynx) spiders is characterized by X-ray diffraction and solid-state NMR spectroscopy. From X-ray diffraction measurement, β-sheet nanocrystallites were observed and found to be highly oriented along the fiber axis, with an orientational order, fc≈0.98. The size of the nanocrystallites was determined to be on average 2.5nm×3.3nm×3.8nm. Besides a prominent nanocrystalline region, a partially oriented amorphous region was also observed with an fa≈0.89. Two-dimensional (13)C-(13)C through-space and through-bond solid-state NMR experiments were employed to elucidate structure details of P. viridans silk proteins. It reveals that β-sheet nanocrystallites constitutes 40.0±1.2% of the protein and are dominated by alanine-rich repetitive motifs. Furthermore, based upon the NMR data, 18±1% of alanine, 60±2% glycine and 54±2% serine are incorporated into helical conformations. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    Spider silk is a biomaterial with impressive mechanical properties, resulting in various potential applications. Recent research has focused on producing synthetic spider silk fibers with the same mechanical properties as the native fibers. For this study, three proteins based on the Argiope aurantia Major ampullate Spidroin 2 consensus repeat sequence were expressed, purified and spun into fibers. A number of post-spin draw conditions were tested to determine the effect of each condition on the mechanical properties of the fiber. In all cases, post-spin stretching improved the mechanical properties of the fibers. Aqueous isopropanol was the most effective solution for increasing extensibility, while other solutions worked best for each fiber type for increasing tensile strength. The strain values of the stretched fibers correlated with the length of the proline-rich protein sequence. Structural analysis, including X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy, showed surprisingly little change in the initial as-spun fibers compared with the post-spin stretched fibers. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  8. The effect of different methods of intravenous injection on glass particle contamination from ampules.

    PubMed

    Joo, Ga Eul; Sohng, Kyeong-Yae; Park, Michael Yong

    2016-01-01

    There have been many studies on glass particle contamination from glass ampules during the injection of glass ampules, but only the contamination from direct IV bolus injection has been measured. This research aimed to study the difference in glass particle contamination from ampules with different intravenous administration methods commonly used in clinical practice. Four methods were studied: IV bolus injection directly after immediate aspiration, IV bolus injection directly after 2 min' delayed aspiration, IV bolus injection directly after aspiration with a filter needle, and side shooting to an infusion set with an in-line filter. 45 ampules per method for a total of 180 ampules were used. The number and length of glass particles were measured using a slide scanner. Aspiration was performed without specifically using a slow aspiration method. The longest glass particle was observed in the immediate aspiration group. The side shooting group showed the lowest maximum number of glass particles per ampule. The side shooting group also showed the smallest number of glass particles, but it was statistically insignificant. Using a filter needle syringe and 2 min' delayed aspiration, which are frequently recommended to minimize contamination, may not be as effective as commonly believed, unless combined with a slow and low pressure aspiration method. Using a side shooting to an infusion set with an in-line filter may minimize glass particle contamination from ampules even without a slow and low pressure aspiration method, but more evidence from a larger study is needed.

  9. 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.

  10. [Particulate contamination associated with the manipulation of drugs in glass ampules: A literature review].

    PubMed

    Painchart, L; Odou, P; Bussières, J-F

    2017-08-08

    The manipulation of drugs from glass ampules can generate particles when the ampule is broken. Several authors recommend the use of filter needle to withdraw the drug content. The aim of this study is to make an assessment of the presence of particles during the manipulation of glass ampules and to discuss the current practices. Literature review based on a search strategy (Pubmed, Google Scholar) and a summary table of available data. Analysis to evaluate the efficacy of the filtration when data are available. Eighteen articles have been included. Most of study shows the presence of particles in glass ampules. Important discrepancies reported regarding the number of particles per ampule. Analysis of data from seven studies: decrease of 83% of the total number of particles (>10μm) identified when drugs are removed with filter needle. All studies but two confirm the efficacy of filter needles. Studies show the presence of particles when drugs are removed from glass ampules. They do not allow to make a conclusion on human clinical consequences associated with the presence of particles. It is necessary to evaluate in human the risks associated with particle contamination to determine the optimal use of filter needle. Copyright © 2017 Académie Nationale de Pharmacie. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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)

  15. 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)

  16. Functionalised Silk Fibres

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-07-30

    Abstract The aim of this project was to understand the structure-properties-performance relationship of honeybee silks and to use this information...to guide design of second-generation honeybee silk materials. We demonstrated that a single recombinant silk protein could adopt the native silk...four silk genes found in honeybees . We selected a number of amino acids for specific alanine to cysteine mutations and then used site- directed

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Molecular nanosprings in spider capture-silk threads

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2003-04-01

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

  1. 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...

  2. Stylized Silk Painting.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Skophammer, Karen

    1998-01-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Qualitative ampule and multitest for beta-lactam residues in fluid milk products: collaborative study.

    PubMed

    Kelley, W N

    1982-09-01

    A collaborative study was performed on a rapid Bacillus stearothermophilus agar diffusion ampule method to detect low levels of penicillin G in 7 types of fluid milk products. A multitest technique for processing a large number of samples simultaneously was also studied. Slight modifications were made in the original method to establish more uniformity and to eliminate doubtful responses by specifying a confirmation procedure. Twenty samples spiked with penicillin G (0.000 to 0.008 IU/mL) and tetracycline hydrochloride were frozen and sent to 20 laboratories in the ampule test, and 16 laboratories in the multitest. Each analyst was asked to do a screening run and a confirmation run. Results were reported by color reaction and also as positive or negative for beta-lactam inhibitors. The concentrations (penicillin G) where percent positive results equal 100 or not significantly less than 100 (alpha = 0.05) ranged from 0.005 to 0.007 IU/mL in the ampule test and from 0.004 to 0.007 IU/mL in the multitest. Both techniques have been adopted official first action.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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...characterize the recombinant proteins The design, construction, and characterization of a novel family of spider silk -like block copolymers was described. The...design was based on the assembly of individual spider silk modules, in particular poly- alanine (A) and glycine-rich (B) blocks, that display

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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. …

  13. 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.

  14. Silk Batik using Cochineal Dye

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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,...

  15. 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'…

  16. 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'…

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Toward spinning artificial spider silk.

    PubMed

    Rising, Anna; Johansson, Jan

    2015-05-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-05-06

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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Spider silk reduces insect herbivory.

    PubMed

    Rypstra, Ann L; Buddle, Christopher M

    2013-02-23

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

  12. Spider silk reduces insect herbivory

    PubMed Central

    Rypstra, Ann L.; Buddle, Christopher M.

    2013-01-01

    The role of predators in food webs extends beyond their ability to kill and consume prey. Such trait-mediated effects occur when signals of the predator influence the behaviour of other animals. Because all spiders are silk-producing carnivores, we hypothesized that silk alone would signal other arthropods and enhance non-lethal effects of spiders. We quantified the herbivory inflicted by two beetle species on green bean plants (Phaseolus vulgaris) in the presence of silkworm silk and spider silk along with no silk controls. Single leaflets were treated and enclosed with herbivores in the laboratory and field. Another set of leaflets were treated and left to experience natural herbivory in the field. Entire plants in the field were treated with silk and enclosed with herbivores or left exposed to herbivory. In all cases, the lowest levels of herbivory occurred with spider silk treatments and, in general, silkworm silk produced intermediate levels of leaf damage. These results suggest that silk may be a mechanism for the trait-mediated impacts of spiders and that it might contribute to integrated pest management programmes. PMID:23193048

  13. Primary structure elements of spider dragline silks and their contribution to protein solubility.

    PubMed

    Huemmerich, Daniel; Helsen, Christopher W; Quedzuweit, Susanne; Oschmann, Jan; Rudolph, Rainer; Scheibel, Thomas

    2004-10-26

    Spider silk proteins have mainly been investigated with regard to their contribution to mechanical properties of the silk thread. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms of silk assembly. As a first step toward characterizing this process, we aimed to identify primary structure elements of the garden spider's (Araneus diadematus) major dragline silk proteins ADF-3 and ADF-4 that determine protein solubility. In addition, we investigated the influence of conditions involved in mediating natural thread assembly on protein aggregation. Genes encoding spider silk-like proteins were generated using a cloning strategy, which is based on a combination of synthetic DNA modules and PCR-amplified authentic gene sequences. Comparing secondary structure, solubility, and aggregation properties of the synthesized proteins revealed that single primary structure elements have diverse influences on protein characteristics. Repetitive regions representing the largest part of dragline silk proteins determined the solubility of the synthetic proteins, which differed greatly between constructs derived from ADF-3 and ADF-4. Factors, such as acidification and increases in phosphate concentration, which promote silk assembly in vivo generally decreased silk protein solubility in vitro. Strikingly, this effect was pronounced in engineered proteins comprising the carboxyl-terminal nonrepetitive regions of ADF-3 or ADF-4, indicating that these regions might play an important role in initiating assembly of spider silk proteins.

  14. 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. The...

  15. 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. The...

  16. 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. The...

  17. 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. The...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 'Surfing the Silk Road': a study of users' experiences.

    PubMed

    Van Hout, Marie Claire; Bingham, Tim

    2013-11-01

    The online drug marketplace called 'Silk Road' has operated anonymously on the 'Deep Web' since 2011. It is accessible through computer encrypting software (Tor) and is supported by online transactions using peer to peer anonymous and untraceable crypto-currency (Bit Coins). The study aimed to describe user motives and realities of accessing, navigating and purchasing on the 'Silk Road' marketplace. Systematic online observations, monitoring of discussion threads on the site during four months of fieldwork and analysis of anonymous online interviews (n=20) with a convenience sample of adult 'Silk Road' users was conducted. The majority of participants were male, in professional employment or in tertiary education. Drug trajectories ranged from 18 months to 25 years, with favourite drugs including MDMA, 2C-B, mephedrone, nitrous oxide, ketamine, cannabis and cocaine. Few reported prior experience of online drug sourcing. Reasons for utilizing 'Silk Road' included curiosity, concerns for street drug quality and personal safety, variety of products, anonymous transactioning, and ease of product delivery. Vendor selection appeared to be based on trust, speed of transaction, stealth modes and quality of product. Forums on the site provided user advice, trip reports, product and transaction reviews. Some users reported solitary drug use for psychonautic and introspective purposes. A minority reported customs seizures, and in general a displacement away from traditional drug sourcing (street and closed markets) was described. Several reported intentions to commence vending on the site. The study provides an insight into 'Silk Road' purchasing motives and processes, the interplay between traditional and 'Silk Road' drug markets, the 'Silk Road' online community and its communication networks. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  3. Invited review nonmulberry silk biopolymers.

    PubMed

    Kundu, S C; Kundu, Banani; Talukdar, Sarmistha; Bano, Subia; Nayak, Sunita; Kundu, Joydip; Mandal, Biman B; Bhardwaj, Nandana; Botlagunta, Mahendran; Dash, Biraja C; Acharya, Chitrangada; Ghosh, Ananta K

    2012-06-01

    The silk produced by silkworms are biopolymers and can be classified into two types--mulberry and nonmulberry. Mulberry silk of silkworm Bombyx mori has been extensively explored and used for century old textiles and sutures. But for the last few decades it is being extensively exploited for biomedical applications. However, the transformation of nonmulberry silk from being a textile commodity to biomaterials is relatively new. Within a very short period of time, the combination of load bearing capability and tensile strength of nonmulberry silk has been equally envisioned for bone, cartilage, adipose, and other tissue regeneration. Adding to its advantage is its diverse morphology, including macro to nano architectures with controllable degradation and biocompatibility yields novel natural material systems in vitro. Its follow on applications involve sustained release of model compounds and anticancer drugs. Its 3D cancer models provide compatible microenvironment systems for better understanding of the cancer progression mechanism and screening of anticancer compounds. Diversely designed nonmulberry matrices thus provide an array of new cutting age technologies, which is unattainable with the current synthetic materials that lack biodegradability and biocompatibility. Scientific exploration of nonmulberry silk in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and biotechnological applications promises advancement of sericulture industries in India and China, largest nonmulberry silk producers of the world. This review discusses the prospective biomedical applications of nonmulberry silk proteins as natural biomaterials. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-28

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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Carbon nanotubes on a spider silk scaffold.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  10. Carbon nanotubes on a spider silk scaffold

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-09-01

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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. High-strength silk protein scaffolds for bone repair.

    PubMed

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

    2012-05-15

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  17. Mechanical improvements to reinforced porous silk scaffolds.

    PubMed

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

    2011-10-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. Optically probing torsional superelasticity in spider silks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-11-01

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

  20. 21 CFR 184.1262 - Corn silk and corn silk extract.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-04-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. Discrimination of cultivated silk and wild silk by conventional instrumental analyses.

    PubMed

    Matsuyama, Yuji; Nagatani, Yoshiaki; Goto, Toshiyuki; Suzuki, Shinichi

    2013-09-10

    In Japan, recent trends have seen wild silk preferred over cultivated silk because of its texture. Some cases of fraud have occurred where cultivated silk garments are sold as wild silk. Samples from these cases, morphological observation using light microscope and polarized microscope have been conducted in forensic science laboratories. Sometimes scanning electron microscopy was also carried out. However, the morphology of silk shows quite wide variation, which makes it difficult to discriminate wild and cultivated silks by this method. In this report, silk discrimination was investigated using conventional instrumental analyses commonly available in forensic laboratories, such as Fourier-transfer infrared spectrometry (FT-IR), pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (pyr-GC/MS) and differential thermal analysis (DTA). By FT-IR, cultivated and wild silk gave similar infrared spectra, but wild silk had a characteristic peak at 965 cm(-1) from the deformation vibration of the carbon-carbon double bond of the indole ring. Comparison of the pyrograms of cultivated and wild silk showed that wild silk had large indole and skatole peaks that cultivated silk did not, and these peaks might arise from tryptophan. The results of thermogravimetry/DTA showed that the endothermic peak was about 40 °C higher for wild silk than for cultivated silk. Using a combination of these results, cultivated and wild silk could be discriminated by common forensic instrumental techniques. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  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. Silks produced by insect labial glands

    PubMed Central

    Sutherland, Tara

    2008-01-01

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

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. Judaism and the Silk Route.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Foltz, Richard

    1998-01-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. Thromboelastometric and platelet responses to silk biomaterials

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  16. Spider Silk Spun and Integrated into Composites

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2009-02-20

    fritz.vollrath@zoo.ox.ac.uk 19/02/2009 Enclosed please find my Final Report to the AFOSR on: SPIDER SILK SPUN AND INTEGRATED INTO COMPOSITES. 2006...3rd Year) Report to the AFOSR on: SPIDER SILK SPUN AND INTEGRATED INTO COMPOSITES. Fritz Vollrath, Oxford University, England Subject FA9550-06-1...0311 20090325292 Final RFPDRT FAQSSO-rin-1 -0^ 1 1-? SPIDER SILK SPUN AND INTEGRATED INTO COMPOSITES. Fritz Vollrath, 3rd Year Report (starting

  17. 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

  18. I Celebrate My Silk, and Shear My Silk: Assembly and Rheology of Reconstituted Silk Protein

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tabatabai, Alan Pasha

    Reconstituting silk cocoons into aqueous protein solutions allows for the mechanical properties of silk to be utilized in non-fibrous forms. However, the exact impact of reconstitution on the protein was previously unknown. I quantify the molecular weight distribution of the protein after reconstitution as a function of extraction time and suggest a possible mechanism for the degradation of the protein. Additionally, the structure and mechanical properties of films made from silk with different molecular weight distributions is explored. Once a reconstituted silk solution is made, it can then be transformed into a gel by running an electric current through the sample. The electric current creates an acidic domain near the positive electrode, leading to the assembly of an electrogel. I discuss the mechanical properties of these electrogels through rheological measurements. The structure of the protein and protein-aggregates is measured by the controlled addition of acid instead of using an electric current. Aggregate sizes are measured with dynamic light scattering, while protein structure is observed through small angle neutron scattering. A possible explanation of the assembly of protein is generated by interpreting both protein structural and ionic concentration changes. Additionally, I move towards the covalent enzymatic gelling of reconstituted silk, where bonds have a particular fluorescent signal and are monitored during gelation. A comparison between bond growth and modulus growth, as measured through bulk rheology, indicates that percolation drives the initial stages of gelation. However, depending on the molecular weight of the protein, either gelation ends after percolation, or another mode of growth continues gelation. This secondary mode of growth is not related to the covalent bonds signifying that the molecular weight of the protein governs whether or not a secondary mechanism contributes to network formation.

  19. 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

  20. Silk production from tarantula feet questioned.

    PubMed

    Pérez-Miles, Fernando; Panzera, Alejandra; Ortiz-Villatoro, David; Perdomo, Cintya

    2009-10-22

    As with all spiders, tarantulas spin silk from specialized structures in the abdomen called spinnerets, which are key features unique to the group. Recently Gorb et al. reported that the zebra tarantula Aphonopelma seemanni also secretes silk from its feet, which might improve its ability to climb on vertical surfaces. Here we show that when the spinnerets are experimentally sealed, the zebra tarantula cannot secrete silk or similar threads, disagreeing with previous reports by Gorb et al.. Additional evidence also disagrees with leg secretion of silk.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Silverfish silk is formed by entanglement of randomly coiled protein chains.

    PubMed

    Walker, Andrew A; Church, Jeffrey S; Woodhead, Andrea L; Sutherland, Tara D

    2013-07-01

    Silks are semi-crystalline solids in which protein chains are associated by intermolecular hydrogen bonding within ordered crystallites, and by entanglement within unordered regions. By varying the type of protein secondary structure within crystallites and the overall degree of molecular order within fibers, arthropods produce fibers with a variety of physical properties suited to many purposes. We characterized silk produced as a tactile stimulus during mating by the grey silverfish (Ctenolepisma longicaudata) using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, polarized Raman spectroscopy, gel electrophoresis and amino acid analysis. Fibers were proteinaceous-the main component being a 220 kDa protein-and were rich in Gln/Glu, Leu, and Lys. The protein structure present was predominantly random coil, with a lesser amount of beta-structure. Silk fibers could readily be solubilized in aqueous solutions of a mild chaotrope, sodium dodecyl sulfate, indicating protein chains were not cross-linked by disulfide or other covalent bonds. We conclude that entanglement is the major mechanism by which these silk proteins cohere into a solid material. We propose silks used as short-term tactile cues are subject to less stringent requirements for molecular order relative to other silks, allowing the random coil structure to be favored as an adaptation promoting maximal entanglement and adhesion. Crown Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Tardieu, François

    2016-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. Silk film biomaterials for ocular surface repair

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lawrence, Brian David

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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-04-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. Insoluble and flexible silk films containing glycerol.

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-11

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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-17

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

  7. 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.

  8. High-strength silk protein scaffolds for bone repair

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Ras1(CA) overexpression in the posterior silk gland improves silk yield.

    PubMed

    Ma, Li; Xu, Hanfu; Zhu, Jinqi; Ma, Sanyuan; Liu, Yan; Jiang, Rong-Jing; Xia, Qingyou; Li, Sheng

    2011-06-01

    Sericulture has been greatly advanced by applying hybrid breeding techniques to the domesticated silkworm, Bombyx mori, but has reached a plateau during the last decades. For the first time, we report improved silk yield in a GAL4/UAS transgenic silkworm. Overexpression of the Ras1(CA) oncogene specifically in the posterior silk gland improved fibroin production and silk yield by 60%, while increasing food consumption by only 20%. Ras activation by Ras1(CA) overexpression in the posterior silk gland enhanced phosphorylation levels of Ras downstream effector proteins, up-regulated fibroin mRNA levels, increased total DNA content, and stimulated endoreplication. Moreover, Ras1 activation increased cell and nuclei sizes, enriched subcellular organelles related to protein synthesis, and stimulated ribosome biogenesis for mRNA translation. We conclude that Ras1 activation increases cell size and protein synthesis in the posterior silk gland, leading to silk yield improvement.

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. Silk Spinning in Silkworms and Spiders.

    PubMed

    Andersson, Marlene; Johansson, Jan; Rising, Anna

    2016-08-09

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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

    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. To identify and compare the magnitude of silk allergen sensitization in workers of silk filatures. 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. 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). There is high burden of silk allergen sensitization among silk filature workers.

  9. Materials fabrication from Bombyx mori silk fibroin.

    PubMed

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

    2011-09-22

    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 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 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, as well as for drug delivery.

  10. 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.

  11. Spider silk as a model biomaterial

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vollrath, F.; Porter, D.

    2006-02-01

    Spider silk combines strength and extensibility, and a wide range of mechanical properties can be achieved with only minute (if any) changes in chemical structure. It appears that the full range of thermo-mechanical properties of such silk fibres can be predicted by examining the energy imparted during stretching with the theoretical framework provided by Mean Field Theory for Polymers. This approach attempts to integrate strain and tensile stress with a range of relevant energetic and mechanical parameters such as the loss tangent and potential energy of atomic inter-chain bonding as well as the tensile and bulk elastic moduli. The model reveals that the underlying design principle of silks seems to share an inherent and surprising simplicity at the macromolecular level. We conclude that our modelling approach allows in-depth analysis of natural silks as well as a comparison with synthetic fibres.

  12. 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

  13. Dating silk by capillary electrophoresis mass spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Moini, Mehdi; Klauenberg, Kathryn; Ballard, Mary

    2011-10-01

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

  14. Flexible Microsupercapacitors Using Silk and Cotton Substrates.

    PubMed

    Das, Chayanika; Krishnamoorthy, Kothandam

    2016-11-02

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

  15. Soft Tissue Augmentation with Silk Composite Graft

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  16. pH-Dependent anticancer drug release from silk nanoparticles

    PubMed Central

    Seib, F. Philipp; Jones, Gregory T.; Rnjak-Kovacina, Jelena; Lin, Yinan; Kaplan, David L.

    2013-01-01

    Silk has traditionally been used as a suture material because of its excellent mechanical properties and biocompatibility. These properties have led to the development of different silk-based material formats for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Although there have been a small number of studies about the use of silk particles for drug delivery, none of these studies have assessed the potential of silk to act as a stimulus-responsive anticancer nanomedicine. This report demonstrates that an acetone precipitation of silk allowed the formation of uniform silk nanoparticles (98 nm diameter, polydispersity index 0.109), with an overall negative surface charge (-33.6 ±5.8 mV), in a single step. Silk nanoparticles were readily loaded with doxorubicin (40 ng doxorubicin/μg silk) and showed pH-dependent release (pH 4.5>> 6.0 > 7.4). In vitro studies with human breast cancer cell lines demonstrated that the silk nanoparticles were not cytotoxic (IC50 >120/μ/ml) and that doxorubicin-loaded silk nanoparticles were able to overcome drug resistance mechanisms. Live cell fluorescence microscopy studies showed endocytic uptake and lysosomal accumulation of silk nanoparticles. In summary, the pH-dependent drug release and lysosomal accumulation of silk nanoparticles demonstrated the ability of drug-loaded silk nanoparticles to serve as a lysosomotropic anticancer nanomedicine. PMID:23625825

  17. 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

  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. Encapsulation of Volatile Compounds in Silk Microparticles

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  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 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)

  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. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Silk from Crickets: A New Twist on Spinning

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  8. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. 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.

  10. Silk: A Potential Medium for Tissue Engineering

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

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

  11. Non-equilibrium Silk Fibroin Adhesives

    PubMed Central

    Yucel, Tuna; Kojic, Nikola; Leisk, Gary G.; Lo, Tim J.; Kaplan, David L.

    2009-01-01

    Regenerated silkworm silk solutions formed metastable, soft-solid-like materials (e-gels) under weak electric fields, displaying interesting mechanical characteristics such as dynamic adhesion and strain stiffening. Raman spectroscopy, in situ electric field dynamic oscillatory rheology and polarized optical microscopy indicated that silk fibroin electrogelation involved intermolecular self-assembly of silk molecules into amorphous, micron-scale, micellar structures and the formation of relatively long lifetime, intermicellar entanglement crosslinks. Overall, the electrogelation process did not require significant intramolecular β-strand or intermolecular β-sheet formation, unlike silk hydrogels. The kinetics of e-gel formation could be tuned by changing the field strength and assembly conditions, such as silk concentration and solution pH, while e-gel stiffness was partially reversible by removal of the applied field. Transient adhesion testing indicated that the adhesive characteristics of e-gels could at least partially be attributed to a local increase in proton concentration around the positive electrode due to the applied field and surface effects. A working model of electrogelation was described en route to understanding the origins of the adhesive characteristics. PMID:20026216

  12. 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

  13. Bone Tissue Engineering with Premineralized Silk Scaffolds

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Hyeon Joo; Kim, Ung-Jin; Kim, Hyun Suk; Li, Chunmei; Wada, Masahisa; Leisk, Gary G.; Kaplan, David L.

    2009-01-01

    Silks fibroin biomaterials are being explored as novel protein-based systems for cell and tissue culture. In the present study, biomimetic growth of calcium phosphate on porous silk fibroin polymeric scaffolds was explored to generate organic/inorganic composites as scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. Aqueous-derived silk fibroin scaffolds were prepared with the addition of polyaspartic acid during processing, followed by the controlled deposition of calcium phosphate by exposure to CaCl2 and Na2HPO4. These mineralized protein-composite scaffolds were subsequently seeded with human bone marrow stem cells (hMSC) and cultured in vitro for 6 weeks under osteogenic conditions with or without BMP-2. The extent of osteoconductivity was assessed by cell numbers, alkaline phosphatase and calcium deposition, along with immunohistochemistry for bone related outcomes. The results suggest increased osteoconductive outcomes with an increase in initial content of apatite and BMP-2 in the silk fibroin porous scaffolds. The premineralization of these highly porous silk fibroin protein scaffolds provided enhanced outcomes for the bone tissue engineering. PMID:18387349

  14. Silk fibroin rods for sustained delivery of breast cancer therapeutics.

    PubMed

    Yucel, Tuna; Lovett, Michael L; Giangregorio, Raffaella; Coonahan, Erin; Kaplan, David L

    2014-10-01

    A silk-protein based reservoir rod was developed for zero-order and long-term sustained drug delivery applications. Silk reservoir rod formulations were processed in three steps. First, a regenerated silk fibroin solution, rich in random-coil content was transformed into a tubular silk film with controllable dimensions, uniform film morphology and a structure rich in silk II, β-sheet content via "film-spinning." Second, the drug powder was loaded into swollen silk tubes followed by tube end clamping. Last, clamped silk tube ends were sealed completely via dip coating. Anastrozole, an FDA approved active ingredient for the treatment of breast cancer, was used as a model drug to investigate viability of the silk reservoir rod technology for sustained drug delivery. The in vitro and in vivo pharmacokinetic data (in a female Sprague-Dawley rat model) analyzed via liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectroscopy indicated zero-order release for 91 days. Both in vitro and in vivo anastrozole release rates could be controlled simply by varying silk rod dimensions. The swelling behavior of silk films and zero-order anastrozole release kinetics indicated practically immediate film hydration and formation of a linear anastrozole concentration gradient along the silk film thickness. The dependence of anastrozole release rate on the overall silk rod dimensions was in good agreement with an essentially diffusion-controlled sustained release from a reservoir cylindrical geometry. In vivo results highlighted a strong in vitro-in vivo pharmacokinetic correlation and a desirable biocompatibility profile of silk reservoir rods. During a 6-month implantation in rats, the apparent silk molecular weight values decreased gradually, while rod dry mass and β-sheet crystal content values remained essentially constant, providing a suitable timeframe for controlled, long-term sustained delivery applications. Overall, the silk reservoir rod may be a viable candidate for sustained delivery of

  15. 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.

  16. Functionalized bioengineered spider silk spheres improve nuclease resistance and activity of oligonucleotide therapeutics providing a strategy for cancer treatment.

    PubMed

    Kozlowska, Anna Karolina; Florczak, Anna; Smialek, Maciej; Dondajewska, Ewelina; Mackiewicz, Andrzej; Kortylewski, Marcin; Dams-Kozlowska, Hanna

    2017-09-01

    Cell-selective delivery and sensitivity to serum nucleases remain major hurdles to the clinical application of RNA-based oligonucleotide therapeutics, such as siRNA. Spider silk shows great potential as a biomaterial due to its biocompatibility and biodegradability. Self-assembling properties of silk proteins allow for processing into several different morphologies such as fibers, scaffolds, films, hydrogels, capsules and spheres. Moreover, bioengineering of spider silk protein sequences can functionalize silk by adding peptide moieties with specific features including binding or cell recognition domains. We demonstrated that modification of silk protein by adding the nucleic acid binding domain enabled the development of a novel oligonucleotide delivery system that can be utilized to improve pharmacokinetics of RNA-based therapeutics, such as CpG-siRNA. The MS2 bioengineered silk was functionalized with poly-lysine domain (KN) to generate hybrid silk MS2KN. CpG-siRNA efficiently bound to MS2KN in contrary to control MS2. Both MS2KN complexes and spheres protected CpG-siRNA from degradation by serum nucleases. CpG-siRNA molecules encapsulated into MS2KN spheres were efficiently internalized and processed by TLR9-positive macrophages. Importantly, CpG-STAT3siRNA loaded in silk spheres showed delayed and extended target gene silencing compared to naked oligonucleotides. The prolonged Stat3 silencing resulted in the more pronounced downregulation of interleukin 6 (IL-6), a proinflammatory cytokine and upstream activator of STAT3, which limits the efficacy of TLR9 immunostimulation. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of using spider silk spheres as a carrier of therapeutic nucleic acids. Moreover, the modified kinetic and activity of the CpG-STAT3siRNA embedded into silk spheres is likely to improve immunotherapeutic effects in vivo. We demonstrated that modification of silk protein by adding the nucleic acid binding domain enabled the development of a novel

  17. 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.

  18. Silk film biomaterials for cornea tissue engineering.

    PubMed

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

    2009-03-01

    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 microm 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 0.5-5.0 microm 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 were demonstrated. The mechanical properties, optical clarity and surface patterned features of these films, combined with their ability to support corneal cell functions suggest that this new biomaterial system offers important potential benefits for corneal tissue regeneration.

  19. Multifunctional silk-tropoelastin biomaterial systems

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Salt-leached silk scaffolds with tunable mechanical properties.

    PubMed

    Yao, Danyu; Dong, Sen; Lu, Qiang; Hu, Xiao; Kaplan, David L; Zhang, Bingbo; Zhu, Hesun

    2012-11-12

    Substrate mechanical properties have remarkable influences on cell behavior and tissue regeneration. Although salt-leached silk scaffolds have been used in tissue engineering, applications in softer tissue regeneration can be encumbered with excessive stiffness. In the present study, silk-bound water interactions were regulated by controlling processing to allow the preparation of salt-leached porous scaffolds with tunable mechanical properties. Increasing silk-bound water interactions resulted in reduced silk II (β-sheet crystal) formation during salt-leaching, which resulted in a modulus decrease in the scaffolds. The microstructures as well as degradation behavior were also changed, implying that this water control and salt-leaching approach can be used to achieve tunable mechanical properties. Considering the utility of silk in various fields of biomedicine, the results point to a new approach to generate silk scaffolds with controllable properties to better mimic soft tissues by combining scaffold preparation methods and silk self-assembly in aqueous solutions.

  4. 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

  5. Knockdown of Broad-Complex Gene Expression of Bombyx mori by Oligopyrrole Carboxamides Enhances Silk Production.

    PubMed

    Ali, Asfa; Bovilla, Venugopal Reddy; Mysarla, Danti Kumari; Siripurapu, Prasanthi; Pathak, Rashmi U; Basu, Bhakti; Mamillapalli, Anitha; Bhattacharya, Santanu

    2017-04-11

    Bombyx mori (B. mori) is important due to its major role in the silk production. Though DNA binding ligands often influence gene expression, no attempt has been made to exploit their use in sericulture. The telomeric heterochromatin of B. mori is enriched with 5'-TTAGG-3' sequences. These sequences were also found to be present in several genes in the euchromatic regions. We examined three synthetic oligopyrrole carboxamides that target 5'-TTAGG-3' sequences in controlling the gene expression in B. mori. The ligands did not show any defect or feeding difference in the larval stage, crucial for silk production. The ligands caused silencing of various isoforms of the broad-complex transcription factor and cuticle proteins which resulted in late pupal developmental defects. Furthermore, treatment with such drugs resulted in statistically enhanced cocoon weight, shell weight, and silk yield. This study shows for the first time use of oligopyrrole carboxamide drugs in controlling gene expression in B. mori and their long term use in enhancing silk production.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-05

    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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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…

  16. 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

  17. 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.)

  18. 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.

  19. 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)

  20. 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.)

  1. 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)

  2. 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.

  3. 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. © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  4. Antimicrobial functionalized genetically engineered spider silk

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  5. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Collagen-like proteins in the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes adopt a triple-helix structure with a thermal stability similar to that of animal collagens, can be expressed in high yield in E. coli and can be easily modified through molecular biology techniques. However, potential applications for such recombinant collagens are limited by their lack of higher order structure to achieve the physical properties needed for most biomaterials. To overcome this problem, the S. pyrogenes collagen domain was fused to a repetitive Bombyx mori silk consensus sequence, as a strategy to direct specific non-covalent binding onto solid silk materials whose superior stability, mechanical and material properties have been previously established. This approach resulted in the successful binding of these new collagen-silk chimeric proteins to silk films and porous scaffolds, and the binding affinity could be controlled by varying the number of repeats in the silk sequence. To explore the potential of collagen-silk chimera for regulating biological activity, integrin (Int) and fibronectin (Fn) binding sequences from mammalian collagens were introduced into the bacterial collagen domain. The attachment of bioactive collagen-silk chimeras to solid silk biomaterials promoted hMSC spreading and proliferation substantially in comparison to the controls. The ability to combine the biomaterial features of silk with the biological activities of collagen allowed more rapid cell interactions with silk-based biomaterials, improved regulation of stem cell growth and differentiation, as well as the formation of artificial extracellular matrices useful for tissue engineering applications. PMID:23088839

  8. 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.

  9. Silk micrococoons for protein stabilisation and molecular encapsulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shimanovich, Ulyana; Ruggeri, Francesco S.; de Genst, Erwin; Adamcik, Jozef; Barros, Teresa P.; Porter, David; Müller, Thomas; Mezzenga, Raffaele; Dobson, Christopher M.; Vollrath, Fritz; Holland, Chris; Knowles, Tuomas P. J.

    2017-07-01

    Naturally spun silks generate fibres with unique properties, including strength, elasticity and biocompatibility. Here we describe a microfluidics-based strategy to spin liquid native silk, obtained directly from the silk gland of Bombyx mori silkworms, into micron-scale capsules with controllable geometry and variable levels of intermolecular β-sheet content in their protein shells. We demonstrate that such micrococoons can store internally the otherwise highly unstable liquid native silk for several months and without apparent effect on its functionality. We further demonstrate that these native silk micrococoons enable the effective encapsulation, storage and release of other aggregation-prone proteins, such as functional antibodies. These results show that native silk micrococoons are capable of preserving the full activity of sensitive cargo proteins that can aggregate and lose function under conditions of bulk storage, and thus represent an attractive class of materials for the storage and release of active biomolecules.

  10. Adhesion modulation using glue droplet spreading in spider capture silk.

    PubMed

    Amarpuri, Gaurav; Zhang, Ci; Blackledge, Todd A; Dhinojwala, Ali

    2017-05-01

    Orb web spiders use sticky capture spiral silk to retain prey in webs. Capture spiral silk is composed of an axial fibre of flagelliform silk covered with glue droplets that are arranged in a beads-on-a-string morphology that allows multiple droplets to simultaneously extend and resist pull off. Previous studies showed that the adhesion of capture silk is responsive to environmental humidity, increasing up to an optimum humidity that varied among different spider species. The maximum adhesion was hypothesized to occur when the viscoelasticity of the glue optimized contributions from glue spreading and bulk cohesion. In this study, we show how glue droplet shape during peeling contributes significantly to capture silk adhesion. Both overspreading and underspreading of glue droplets reduces adhesion through changes in crack propagation and failure regime. Understanding the mechanism of stimuli-responsive adhesion of spider capture silk will lead to new designs for smarter adhesives. © 2017 The Author(s).

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Rapid Characterization of Spider Silk Genes via Exon Capture

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-03-28

    SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF: Spider silks are high-performance materials with an array of potential military and civilian applications. As such, there...Capture Report Title Spider silks are high-performance materials with an array of potential military and civilian applications. As such, there is...advantageous traits are a few of the reasons underlying the extensive research on synthesizing materials that replicate the properties of spider silks

  16. 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

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

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-01-01

    Film Assembly of Spider Silk -like Block Copolymers Sreevidhya T. Krishnaji,†,‡ Wenwen Huang,§ Olena Rabotyagova,†,‡ Eugenia Kharlampieva, ) Ikjun Choi...Received November 26, 2010 We report the self-assembly of monolayers of spider silk -like block copolymers. Langmuir isotherms were obtained for a series of...bioengineered variants of the spider silks , and stable monolayers were generated. Langmuir-Blodgett films were prepared by transferring the monolayers

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-09-01

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

  2. Structure-function-property-design interplay in biopolymers: spider silk.

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-01

    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. Copyright © 2013 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Spider silk as guiding biomaterial for human model neurons.

    PubMed

    Roloff, Frank; Strauß, Sarah; Vogt, Peter M; Bicker, Gerd; Radtke, Christine

    2014-01-01

    Over the last years, a number of therapeutic strategies have emerged to promote axonal regeneration. An attractive strategy is the implantation of biodegradable and nonimmunogenic artificial scaffolds into injured peripheral nerves. In previous studies, transplantation of decellularized veins filled with spider silk for bridging critical size nerve defects resulted in axonal regeneration and remyelination by invading endogenous Schwann cells. Detailed interaction of elongating neurons and the spider silk as guidance material is unknown. To visualize direct cellular interactions between spider silk and neurons in vitro, we developed an in vitro crossed silk fiber array. Here, we describe in detail for the first time that human (NT2) model neurons attach to silk scaffolds. Extending neurites can bridge gaps between single silk fibers and elongate afterwards on the neighboring fiber. Culturing human neurons on the silk arrays led to an increasing migration and adhesion of neuronal cell bodies to the spider silk fibers. Within three to four weeks, clustered somata and extending neurites formed ganglion-like cell structures. Microscopic imaging of human neurons on the crossed fiber arrays in vitro will allow for a more efficient development of methods to maximize cell adhesion and neurite growth on spider silk prior to transplantation studies.

  4. Second-order nonlinear optical microscopy of spider silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, Yue; Hien, Khuat Thi Thu; Mizutani, Goro; Rutt, Harvey N.

    2017-06-01

    Asymmetric β-sheet protein structures in spider silk should induce nonlinear optical interaction such as second harmonic generation (SHG) which is experimentally observed for a radial line and dragline spider silk using an imaging femtosecond laser SHG microscope. By comparing different spider silks, we found that the SHG signal correlates with the existence of the protein β-sheets. Measurements of the polarization dependence of SHG from the dragline indicated that the β-sheet has a nonlinear response depending on the direction of the incident electric field. We propose a model of what orientation the β-sheet takes in spider silk.

  5. Silk fibroin encapsulated powder reservoirs for sustained release of adenosine.

    PubMed

    Pritchard, Eleanor M; Szybala, Cory; Boison, Detlev; Kaplan, David L

    2010-06-01

    Due to its unique properties, silk fibroin was studied as a biodegradable polymer vehicle for sustained, local delivery of the anticonvulsant adenosine from encapsulated reservoirs. Silk is a biologically derived protein polymer that is biocompatible, mechanically strong and degrades to non-toxic products in vivo. To achieve local, sustained, controlled adenosine release from fully degradable implants, solid adenosine powder reservoirs were coated with silk fibroin. Material properties of the silk coating including thickness, crystallinity and morphology were investigated to assess the relationships between silk coating biomaterial features and adenosine release from silk encapsulated reservoirs. Reservoir coating thickness was varied through manipulation of the silk coating solution concentration and number of coatings applied. Release studies were also performed in proteinase type XIV to model the effects of degradation. Increasing the barrier to diffusion, either by increasing coating thickness or crystallinity was found to delay adenosine burst, decrease average daily release rate, and increase duration of release. In the case of encapsulated reservoirs coated with eight layers of 8% (w/v) silk, a linear release profile was observed and adenosine release was sustained for 14days. The ability to achieve nearly constant release for 2weeks for adenosine via control of the silk coating suggests these encapsulated reservoirs represent a novel system for delivering adenosine. We anticipate that this approach could also be extended to other implant needs and small-molecule drugs to treat a range of clinical needs.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  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. Absorbable Versus Silk Sutures for Surgical Treatment of Trachomatous Trichiasis in Ethiopia: A Randomised Controlled Trial

    PubMed Central

    Rajak, Saul N.; Habtamu, Esmael; Weiss, Helen A.; Kello, Amir Bedri; Gebre, Teshome; Genet, Asrat; Bailey, Robin L.; Mabey, David C. W.; Khaw, Peng T.; Gilbert, Clare E.; Emerson, Paul M.; Burton, Matthew J.

    2011-01-01

    Background Trachoma causes blindness through an anatomical abnormality called trichiasis (lashes touching the eye). Trichiasis can recur after corrective surgery. We tested the hypothesis that using absorbable sutures instead of silk sutures might reduce the risk of recurrent disease among patients with major trichiasis in a randomised trial. Methods and Findings 1,300 individuals with major trichiasis from rural villages in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia were recruited and assigned (1∶1) by computer-generated randomisation sequence to receive trichiasis surgery using either an absorbable suture (polyglactin-910) or silk sutures (removed at 7–10 days) in an otherwise identical surgical technique. Participants were examined every 6 months for 2 years by clinicians masked to allocation. The primary outcome measure was recurrent trichiasis (≥one lash touching the eye) at 1 year. There was no difference in prevalence of recurrent trichiasis at 1 year (114 [18.2%] in the absorbable suture group versus 120 [19.7%] in the silk suture group; odds ratio = 0.90, 95% CI 0.68–1.20). The two groups also did not differ in terms of corneal opacification, visual acuity, conjunctival inflammation, and surgical complications. Conclusions There was no evidence that use of absorbable polyglactin-910 sutures was associated with a lower prevalence of trichiasis recurrence at 1 year postsurgery than silk sutures. However, from a programmatic perspective, polyglactin-910 offers the major advantage that patients do not have to be seen soon after surgery for suture removal. The postoperative review after surgery using absorbable polyglactin-910 sutures can be delayed for 3–6 months, which might allow us to better determine whether a patient needs additional surgery. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00522860 Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary PMID:22180732

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Regenerated cellulose-silk fibroin blends fibers.

    PubMed

    Marsano, Enrico; Corsini, Paola; Canetti, Maurizio; Freddi, Giuliano

    2008-08-15

    Fibers made of cellulose and silk fibroin at different composition were wet spun from solutions by using N-methylmorpholine N-oxide hydrates (NMMO/H(2)O) as solvent and ethanol as coagulant. Different spinning conditions were used. The fibers were characterized by different techniques: FTIR-Raman, scanning electron microscopy, wide-angle x-ray diffraction, DSC analysis. The results evidence a phase separation in the whole blends compositions. The tensile characterization, however, illustrates that the properties of the blends fibers are higher respect to a linear behaviour between the pure polymers, confirming a good compatibility between cellulose and silk fibroin. The fibers containing 75% of cellulose show better mechanical properties than pure cellulose fibers: modulus of about 23 GPa and strength to break of 307 MPa.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Comparative transcriptome analyses on silk glands of six silkmoths imply the genetic basis of silk structure and coloration.

    PubMed

    Dong, Yang; Dai, Fangyin; Ren, Yandong; Liu, Hui; Chen, Lei; Yang, Pengcheng; Liu, Yanqun; Li, Xin; Wang, Wen; Xiang, Hui

    2015-03-17

    Silk has numerous unique properties that make it a staple of textile manufacturing for several thousand years. However, wider applications of silk in modern have been stalled due to limitations of traditional silk produced by Bombyx mori. While silk is commonly produced by B. mori, several wild non-mulberry silkmoths--especially members of family Saturniidae--produce silk with superior properties that may be useful for wider applications. Further utilization of such silks is hampered by the non-domestication status or limited culturing population of wild silkworms. To date there is insufficient basic genomic or transcriptomic data on these organisms or their silk production. We sequenced and compared the transcriptomes of silk glands of six Saturniidae wild silkmoth species through next-generation sequencing technology, identifying 37758 ~ 51734 silkmoth unigenes, at least 36.3% of which are annotated with an e-value less than 10(-5). Sequence analyses of these unigenes identified a batch of genes specific to Saturniidae that are enriched in growth and development. Analyses of silk proteins including fibroin and sericin indicate intra-genus conservation and inter-genus diversification of silk protein features among the wild silkmoths, e.g., isoelectric points, hydrophilicity profile and amino acid composition in motifs of silk H-fibroin. Interestingly, we identified p25 in two of the silkmoths, which were previously predicted to be absent in Saturniidae. There are rapid evolutionary changes in sericin proteins, which might account for the highly heterogeneity of sericin in Saturniidae silkmoths. Within the six sikmoths, both colored-cocoon silkmoth specific transcripts and differentially expressed genes between the colored-cocoon and non-colored-cocoon silkmoths are significantly enriched in catalytic activity, especially transferase activity, suggesting potentially viable targets for future gene mining or genetic manipulation. Our results characterize novel and

  2. 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

  3. 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. Copyright © 2013 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Geographic Perspectives with Elementary Students: The Silk Road

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bisland, Beverly Milner

    2006-01-01

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

  5. Structure and biodegradation mechanism of milled Bombyx mori silk particles.

    PubMed

    Rajkhowa, Rangam; Hu, Xiao; Tsuzuki, Takuya; Kaplan, David L; Wang, Xungai

    2012-08-13

    The aim of this study was to understand the structure and biodegradation relationships of silk particles intended for targeted biomedical applications. Such a study is also useful in understanding structural remodelling of silk debris that may be generated from silk-based implants. Ultrafine silk particles were prepared using a combination of efficient wet-milling and spray-drying processes with no addition of chemicals other than those used in degumming. Milling reduced the intermolecular stacking forces within the β-sheet crystallites without changing the intramolecular binding energy. Because of the rough morphology and the ultrafine size of the particles, degradation of silk particles by protease XIV was increased by about 3-fold compared to silk fibers. Upon biodegradation, the thermal degradation temperature of silk increased, which was attributed to the formation of tight aggregates by the hydrolyzed residual macromolecules. A model of the biodegradation mechanism of silk particles was developed based on the experimental data. The model explains the process of disintegration of β-sheets, supported by quantitative secondary structural analysis and microscopic images.

  6. Understanding the variability of properties in Antheraea pernyi silk fibres.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yu; Guan, Juan; Hawkins, Nick; Porter, David; Shao, Zhengzhong

    2014-09-07

    Variability is a common feature of natural silk fibres, caused by a range of natural processing conditions. Better understanding of variability will not only be favourable for explaining the enviable mechanical properties of animal silks but will provide valuable information for the design of advanced artificial and biomimetic silk-like materials. In this work, we have investigated the origin of variability in forcibly reeled Antheraea pernyi silks from different individuals using dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA) combined with the effect of polar solvent penetration. Quasi-static tensile curves in different media have been tested to show the considerable variability of tensile properties between samples from different silkworms. The DMTA profiles (as a function of temperature or humidity) through the glass transition region of different silks as well as dynamic mechanical properties after high temperature and water annealing are analysed in detail to identify the origin of silk variability in terms of molecular structures and interactions, which indicate that different hydrogen bonded structures exist in the amorphous regions and they are notably different for silks from different individuals. Solubility parameter effects of solvents are quantitatively correlated with the different glass transitions values. Furthermore, the overall ordered fraction is shown to be a key parameter to quantify the variability in the different silk fibres, which is consistent with DMTA and FTIR observations.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Solid-state NMR relaxation studies of Australian spider silks.

    PubMed

    Kishore, A I; Herberstein, M E; Craig, C L; Separovic, F

    Solid-state NMR techniques were used to study two different types of spider silk from two Australian orb-web spider species, Nephila edulis and Argiope keyserlingi. A comparison of (13)C-T(1) and (1)H-T(1rho) solid-state NMR relaxation data of the Ala Calpha, Ala Cbeta, Gly Calpha, and carbonyl resonances revealed subtle differences between dragline and cocoon silk. (13)C-T(1rho) and (1)H-T(1) relaxation experiments showed significant differences between silks of the two species with possible structural variations. Comparison of our data to previous (13)C-T(1) relaxation studies of silk from Nephila clavipes (A. Simmons et al., Macromolecules, 1994, Vol. 27, pp. 5235-5237) also supports the finding that differences in molecular mobility of dragline silk exist between species. Interspecies differences in silk structure may be due to different functional properties. Relaxation studies performed on wet (supercontracted) and dry silks showed that the degree of hydration affects relaxation properties, and hence changes in molecular mobility are correlated with functional properties of silk. Copyright 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Mechanism of Stabilization of Labile Compounds by Silk Fibroin Proteins

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2017-04-05

    to stability of labile molecules. In addition , we plan to complete efforts initiated to refine our understanding of electrogelation mechanisms of...paper approaches. Additional processing can remediate interactions with conformational structures of the silk protein to further enhance blood... additional benefits such as preventing exposure to enzymatic and UV stresses. Long-term temperature stability of dried silk formats such as films or

  13. 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

  14. 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. © 2016 The Author(s). published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

  16. Biofabrication of cell-loaded 3D spider silk constructs.

    PubMed

    Schacht, Kristin; Jüngst, Tomasz; Schweinlin, Matthias; Ewald, Andrea; Groll, Jürgen; Scheibel, Thomas

    2015-02-23

    Biofabrication is an emerging and rapidly expanding field of research in which additive manufacturing techniques in combination with cell printing are exploited to generate hierarchical tissue-like structures. Materials that combine printability with cytocompatibility, so called bioinks, are currently the biggest bottleneck. Since recombinant spider silk proteins are non-immunogenic, cytocompatible, and exhibit physical crosslinking, their potential as a new bioink system was evaluated. Cell-loaded spider silk constructs can be printed by robotic dispensing without the need for crosslinking additives or thickeners for mechanical stabilization. Cells are able to adhere and proliferate with good viability over at least one week in such spider silk scaffolds. Introduction of a cell-binding motif to the spider silk protein further enables fine-tuned control over cell-material interactions. Spider silk hydrogels are thus a highly attractive novel bioink for biofabrication. © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Foelix, Rainer; Erb, Bruno; Rast, Bastian

    2013-05-01

    Several studies on tarantulas have claimed that their tarsi could secrete fine silk threads which would provide additional safety lines for maintaining a secure foot-hold on smooth vertical surfaces. This interpretation was seriously questioned by behavioral experiments, and more recently morphological evidence indicated that the alleged spigots ("ribbed hairs") were not secretory but most likely sensory hairs (chemoreceptors). However, since fine structural studies were lacking, the sensory nature was not proven convincingly. By using transmission electron microscopy we here present clear evidence that these "ribbed hairs" contain many dendrites inside the hair lumen - as is the case in the well-known contact chemoreceptors of spiders and insects. For comparison, we also studied the fine structure of regular silk spigots on the spinnerets and found them distinctly different from sensory hairs. Finally, histological studies of a tarantula tarsus did not reveal any silk glands, which, by contrast, are easily found within the spinnerets. In conclusion, the alleged presence of silk spigots on tarantula feet is refuted. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Silk fibroin scaffolds with inverse opal structure for bone tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Sommer, Marianne R; Vetsch, Jolanda R; Leemann, Jessica; Müller, Ralph; Studart, André R; Hofmann, Sandra

    2017-10-01

    How scaffold porosity, pore diameter and geometry influence cellular behavior is-although heavily researched - merely understood, especially in 3D. This is mainly caused by a lack of suitable, reproducible scaffold fabrication methods, with processes such as gas foaming, lyophilization or particulate leaching still being the standard. Here we propose a method to generate highly porous silk fibroin scaffolds with monodisperse spherical pores, namely inverse opals, and study their effect on cell behavior. These silk fibroin inverse opal scaffolds were compared to salt-leached silk fibroin scaffolds in terms of human mesenchymal stem cell response upon osteogenic differentiation signals. While cell number remained similar on both scaffold types, extracellular matrix mineralization nearly doubled on the newly developed scaffolds, suggesting a positive effect on cell differentiation. By using the very same material with comparable average pore diameters, this increase in mineral content can be attributed to either the differences in pore diameter distribution or the pore geometry. Although the exact mechanisms leading to enhanced mineralization in inverse opals are not yet fully understood, our results indicate that control over pore geometry alone can have a major impact on the bioactivity of a scaffold toward stem cell differentiation into bone tissue. © 2016 The Authors Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B: Applied Biomaterials Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 105B: 2074-2084, 2017. © 2016 The Authors Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B: Applied Biomaterials Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Sustainable Release of Vancomycin from Silk Fibroin Nanoparticles for Treating Severe Bone Infection in Rat Tibia Osteomyelitis Model.

    PubMed

    Hassani Besheli, Negar; Mottaghitalab, Fatemeh; Eslami, Masoud; Gholami, Mahdi; Kundu, Subhas C; Kaplan, David L; Farokhi, Mehdi

    2017-02-15

    The successful treatment of bone infections is a major challenge in the field of orthopedics. There are some common methods for treating bone infections, including systemic antibiotic administration, local nondegradable drug vehicles, and surgical debridement, and each of these approaches has advantages and disadvantages. In the present study, the antibiotic vancomycin (VANCO) was loaded in silk fibroin nanoparticles (SFNPs) and the complexes were then entrapped in silk scaffolds to form sustained drug delivery systems. The release kinetics of VANCO from SFNPs alone and when the SFNPs were entrapped in silk scaffolds were assessed at two different pH values, 4.5 and 7.4, that affected the release profiles of VANCO. Disk diffusion tests performed with pathogens causing osteomyelitis methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) showed antibacterial activity of the released drug at two different pH values. Additionally, injection of 8 × 10(6) CFU MRSA in rat's tibia induced severe osteomyelitis disease. Radiographic and histopathological analyses were performed to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment after 6 weeks. The VANCO-loaded silk fibroin nanoparticles entrapped in scaffolds reduced bone infections at the defected site with better outcomes than the other treatment groups. In conclusion, the delivery system with good biocompatibility and sustained release properties would be appropriate for further study in the context of osteomyelitis disease.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

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

  14. 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

  15. The processing and heterostructuring of silk with light

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sidhu, Mehra S.; Kumar, Bhupesh; Singh, Kamal P.

    2017-09-01

    Spider silk is a tough, elastic and lightweight biomaterial, although there is a lack of tools available for non-invasive processing of silk structures. Here we show that nonlinear multiphoton interactions of silk with few-cycle femtosecond pulses allow the processing and heterostructuring of the material in ambient air. Two qualitatively different responses, bulging by multiphoton absorption and plasma-assisted ablation, are observed for low- and high-peak intensities, respectively. Plasma ablation allows us to make localized nanocuts, microrods, nanotips and periodic patterns with minimal damage while preserving molecular structure. The bulging regime facilitates confined bending and microwelding of silk with materials such as metal, glass and Kevlar with strengths comparable to pristine silk. Moreover, analysis of Raman bands of microwelded joints reveals that the polypeptide backbone remains intact while perturbing its weak hydrogen bonds. Using this approach, we fabricate silk-based functional topological microstructures, such as Mobiüs strips, chiral helices and silk-based sensors.

  16. The processing and heterostructuring of silk with light.

    PubMed

    Sidhu, Mehra S; Kumar, Bhupesh; Singh, Kamal P

    2017-09-01

    Spider silk is a tough, elastic and lightweight biomaterial, although there is a lack of tools available for non-invasive processing of silk structures. Here we show that nonlinear multiphoton interactions of silk with few-cycle femtosecond pulses allow the processing and heterostructuring of the material in ambient air. Two qualitatively different responses, bulging by multiphoton absorption and plasma-assisted ablation, are observed for low- and high-peak intensities, respectively. Plasma ablation allows us to make localized nanocuts, microrods, nanotips and periodic patterns with minimal damage while preserving molecular structure. The bulging regime facilitates confined bending and microwelding of silk with materials such as metal, glass and Kevlar with strengths comparable to pristine silk. Moreover, analysis of Raman bands of microwelded joints reveals that the polypeptide backbone remains intact while perturbing its weak hydrogen bonds. Using this approach, we fabricate silk-based functional topological microstructures, such as Mobiüs strips, chiral helices and silk-based sensors.

  17. 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.

  18. Inhibitory effect of corn silk on skin pigmentation.

    PubMed

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

    2014-03-03

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

  19. 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

  20. Salt-leached silk scaffolds with tunable mechanical properties

    PubMed Central

    Yao, Danyu; Dong, Sen; Lu, Qiang; Hu, Xiao; Kaplan, David L; Zhang, Bingbo; Zhu, Hesun

    2012-01-01

    Substrate mechanical properties have remarkable influences on cell behavior and tissue regeneration. Although salt-leached silk scaffolds have been used in tissue engineering, applications in softer tissue regeneration can be encumbered with excessive stiffness. In the present study, silk-bound water interactions were regulated by controlling processing to allow the preparation of salt-leached porous scaffolds with tunable mechanical properties. Increasing silk-bound water interactions resulted in reduced silk II (beta-sheet crystal) formation during salt-leaching, which resulted in a modulus decrease in the scaffolds. The microstructures as well as degradation behavior were also changed, implying that this water control and salt-leaching approach can be used to achieve tunable mechanical properties. Considering the utility of silk in various fields of biomedicine, the results point to a new approach to generate silk scaffolds with controllable properties to better mimic soft tissues, by combining scaffold preparation methods and silk self-assembly in aqueous solutions. PMID:23016499

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    Silk based biomaterials have not only carved a unique niche in the domain of regenerative medicine but new avenues are also being explored for lab-on-a-chip applications. It is pertinent to note that biospinning of silk represents nature's signature microfluidic-maneuver. Elucidation of non-Newtonian flow of silk in the glands of spiders and silkworms has inspired researchers to fabricate devices for continuous extrusion and concentration of silk. Microfluidic channel networks within porous silk scaffolds ensure optimal nutrient and oxygen supply apart from serving as precursors for vascularization in tissue engineering applications. On the other hand, unique topographical features and surface wettability of natural silk fibers have inspired development of a number of simple and cost-effective devices for applications like blood typing and chemical sensing. This review mirrors the recent progress and challenges in the domain of silk-microfluidics for prospective avant-garde applications in the realm of biotechnology. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Spider silk reinforced by graphene or carbon nanotubes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lepore, Emiliano; Bosia, Federico; Bonaccorso, Francesco; Bruna, Matteo; Taioli, Simone; Garberoglio, Giovanni; Ferrari, Andrea C.; Pugno, Nicola Maria

    2017-09-01

    Spider silk has promising mechanical properties, since it conjugates high strength (~1.5 GPa) and toughness (~150 J g-1). Here, we report the production of silk incorporating graphene and carbon nanotubes by spider spinning, after feeding spiders with the corresponding aqueous dispersions. We observe an increment of the mechanical properties with respect to pristine silk, up to a fracture strength ~5.4 GPa and a toughness modulus ~1570 J g-1. This approach could be extended to other biological systems and lead to a new class of artificially modified biological, or ‘bionic’, materials.

  10. Synthetic Engineering of Spider Silk Fiber as Implantable Optical Waveguides for Low-Loss Light Guiding.

    PubMed

    Qiao, Xin; Qian, Zhigang; Li, Junjie; Sun, Hongji; Han, Yao; Xia, Xiaoxia; Zhou, Jin; Wang, Chunlan; Wang, Yan; Wang, Changyong

    2017-05-03

    A variety of devices used for biomedical engineering have been fabricated using protein polymer because of their excellent properties, such as strength, toughness, biocompatibility, and biodegradability. In this study, we fabricated an optical waveguide using genetically engineered spider silk protein. This method has two significant advantages: (1) recombinant spider silk optical waveguide exhibits excellent optical and biological properties and (2) biosynthesis of spider silk protein can overcome the limitation to the research on spider silk optical waveguide due to the low yield of natural spider silk. In detail, two kinds of protein-based optical waveguides made from recombinant spider silk protein and regenerative silkworm silk protein were successfully prepared. Results suggested that the recombinant spider silk optical waveguide showed a smoother surface and a higher refractive index when compared with regenerative silkworm silk protein. The optical loss of recombinant spider silk optical waveguide was 0.8 ± 0.1 dB/cm in air and 1.9 ± 0.3 dB/cm in mouse muscles, which were significantly lower than those of regenerative silkworm silk optical waveguide. Moreover, recombinant spider silk optical waveguide can meet the demand to guide and efficiently deliver light through biological tissue. In addition, recombinant spider silk optical waveguide showed low toxicity to cells in vitro and low-level inflammatory reaction with surrounding tissue in vivo. Therefore, recombinant spider silk optical waveguide is a promising implantable device to guide and deliver light with low loss.

  11. In vivo effects of metal ions on conformation and mechanical performance of silkworm silks.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xin; Li, Yi; Liu, Qingsong; Chen, Quanmei; Xia, Qingyou; Zhao, Ping

    2017-03-01

    The mechanism of silk fiber formation is of particular interest. Although in vitro evidence has shown that metal ions affect conformational transitions of silks, the in vivo effects of metal ions on silk conformations and mechanical performance are still unclear. This study explored the effects of metal ions on silk conformations and mechanical properties of silk fibers by adding K(+) and Cu(2+) into the silk fibroin solutions or injecting them into the silkworms. Aimed by CD analysis, FTIR analysis, and mechanical testing, the conformational and mechanical changes of the silks were estimated. By using BION Web Server, the interactions of K(+) and N-terminal of silk fibroin were also simulated. We presented that K(+) and Cu(2+) induced the conformational transitions of silk fibroin by forming β-sheet structures. Moreover, the mechanical parameters of silk fibers, such as strength, toughness and Young's modulus, were also improved after K(+) or Cu(2+) injection. Using BION Web Server, we found that potassium ions may have strong electrostatic interactions with the negatively charged residues. We suggest that K(+) and Cu(2+) play crucial roles in the conformation and mechanical performances of silks and they are involved in the silk fiber formation in vivo. Our results are helpful for clarifying the mechanism of silk fiber formation, and provide insights for modifying the mechanical properties of silk fibers. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  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. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-12-01

    Spider silk has been drawing much attention as a great biomaterial having many applications in biotechnology and biomedicine owing to its several desired material characteristics such as outstanding strength, toughness, and elasticity as well as biodegradability and biocompatibility. With various applications foreseeable in industry, there has been much effort to produce recombinant spider silk protein in large amounts. However, owing to the difficulties in its production using spiders, alternative host systems and engineering methods have been investigated to develop suitable production systems that can efficiently produce spider silk protein. Here, we review recent advances in production of spider silk proteins in various heterologous host systems with focus given on the development of metabolic and cellular engineering strategies. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silva, Luciano P.; Rech, Elibio L.

    2013-12-01

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

  2. 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

  3. [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.

  4. Biopatterning of Silk Proteins for Soft Micro-optics.

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-29

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Silk scaffolds in bone tissue engineering: An overview.

    PubMed

    Bhattacharjee, Promita; Kundu, Banani; Naskar, Deboki; Kim, Hae-Won; Maiti, Tapas K; Bhattacharya, Debasis; Kundu, Subhas C

    2017-09-20

    Bone tissue plays multiple roles in our day-to-day functionality. The frequency of accidental bone damage and disorder is increasing worldwide. Moreover, as the world population continues to grow, the percentage of the elderly population continues to grow, which results in an increased number of bone degenerative diseases. This increased elderly population pushes the need for artificial bone implants that specifically employ biocompatible materials. A vast body of literature is available on the use of silk in bone tissue engineering. The current work presents an overview of this literature from materials and fabrication perspective. As silk is an easy-to-process biopolymer; this allows silk-based biomaterials to be molded into diverse forms and architectures, which further affects the degradability. This makes silk-based scaffolds suitable for treating a variety of bone reconstruction and regeneration objectives. Silk surfaces offer active sites that aid the mineralization and/or bonding of bioactive molecules that facilitate bone regeneration. Silk has also been blended with a variety of polymers and minerals to enhance its advantageous properties or introduce new ones. Several successful works, both in vitro and in vivo, have been reported using silk-based scaffolds to regenerate bone tissues or other parts of the skeletal system such as cartilage and ligament. A growing trend is observed toward the use of mineralized and nanofibrous scaffolds along with the development of technology that allows to control scaffold architecture, its biodegradability and the sustained releasing property of scaffolds. Further development of silk-based scaffolds for bone tissue engineering, taking them up to and beyond the stage of human trials, is hoped to be achieved in the near future through a cross-disciplinary coalition of tissue engineers, material scientists and manufacturing engineers. The state-of-art of silk biomaterials in bone tissue engineering, covering their wide

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. A small molecule peptidomimetic of spider silk and webs.

    PubMed

    Maji, Krishnendu; Sarkar, Rajib; Bera, Santu; Haldar, Debasish

    2014-10-28

    A peptidomimetic compound containing leucine, tyrosine and malonic acid self-assembles through various noncovalent interactions to form spider silk-like fibers at ambient temperature. From the high-density liquid, a liquid-solid phase transition is initiated at 20 °C and solidification occurs upon contact with air. The fiber has comprehensive mechanical strength and optical properties similar to spider silk, and can be used to mimic a natural spider web.

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

    PubMed Central

    Keten, Sinan; Buehler, Markus J.

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:20519206

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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...

  15. 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.

  16. Effects of degumming conditions on electro-spinning rate of regenerated silk.

    PubMed

    Yoon, Kyunghwan; Lee, Ha Ni; Ki, Chang Seok; Fang, Dufei; Hsiao, Benjamin S; Chu, Benjamin; Um, In Chul

    2013-10-01

    Electro-spun silk webs are potentially good candidates as tissue engineering scaffolds owing to their good bio- and cyto-compatibility. However, the low fabrication rate of electro-spun silk mats has been one of the obstacles in the mass production of such nanofibrous silk mats in applications to the biomedical field. In this study, the effects of degumming ratio and silk concentration on the electro-spinning process were investigated by using regenerated silk with different residual sericin contents and different silk concentrations in terms of the morphology and structure of the electro-spun silk web. The rate of production of electro-spun silk mats could be increased by approximately 5 fold at a degumming ratio of 19.5%. The electro-spinning rate of silk was affected by two main factors: (1) dope solution viscosity and (2) degumming ratio of silk. The conductivity of the silk dope solution, however, had little effects on the electro-spinning of regenerated silk. A constant spun fiber morphology was observed within the electro-spinning rate range (0.3-1.4 ml/h). Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy showed that partial β-sheet crystallization occurred during electro-spinning. The molecular conformation was relatively unaffected by the electro-spinning rate of silk. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  17. Flexible and wearable electronic silk fabrics for human physiological monitoring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mao, Cuiping; Zhang, Huihui; Lu, Zhisong

    2017-09-01

    The development of textile-based devices for human physiological monitoring has attracted tremendous interest in recent years. However, flexible physiological sensing elements based on silk fabrics have not been realized. In this paper, ZnO nanorod arrays are grown in situ on reduced graphene oxide-coated silk fabrics via a facile electro-deposition method for the fabrication of silk-fabric-based mechanical sensing devices. The data show that well-aligned ZnO nanorods with hexagonal wurtzite crystalline structures are synthesized on the conductive silk fabric surface. After magnetron sputtering of gold electrodes, silk-fabric-based devices are produced and applied to detect periodic bending and twisting. Based on the electric signals, the deformation and release processes can be easily differentiated. Human arterial pulse and respiration can also be real-time monitored to calculate the pulse rate and respiration frequency, respectively. Throat vibrations during coughing and singing are detected to demonstrate the voice recognition capability. This work may not only help develop silk-fabric-based mechanical sensing elements for potential applications in clinical diagnosis, daily healthcare monitoring and voice recognition, but also provide a versatile method for fabricating textile-based flexible electronic devices.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  6. Injectable silk foams for the treatment of cervical insufficiency

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fournier, Eric P.

    Preterm birth is the leading cause of neonatal mortality, resulting in over 4,000 deaths each year. A significant risk factor for preterm birth is cervical insufficiency, the weakening and subsequent deformation of cervical tissue. Cervical insufficiency is both detectable and treatable but current treatments are lacking. The most common approach requires multiple invasive procedures. This work investigates the injection of silk foams, a minimally-invasive method for supporting cervical tissue. Silk offers many advantages for use as a biomaterial including strength, versatility, and biocompatibility. Injectable silk foams will minimize patient discomfort while also providing more targeted and personalized treatment. A battery of mechanical testing was undertaken to determine silk foam response under physiologically relevant loading and environmental conditions. Mechanical testing was paired with analysis of foam morphology and structure that illustrated the effects of injection on pore geometry and size. Biological response to silk foams was evaluated using an in vitro degradation study and subcutaneous in vivo implantation in a mouse model. Results showed that foams exceeded the mechanical requirements for stiffening cervical tissue, although the current injection process limits foam size. Injection was shown to cause measurable but localized foam deformation. This work indicates that silk foams are a feasible treatment option for cervical insufficiency but challenges remain with foam delivery.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  11. Tubular silk scaffolds for small diameter vascular grafts

    PubMed Central

    Kluge, Jonathan A; Cannizzaro, Christopher; Kaplan, David L

    2010-01-01

    Vascular surgeries such as coronary artery bypass require small diameter vascular grafts with properties that are not available at this time. Approaches using synthetic biomaterials have not been completely successful in producing non-thrombogenic grafts with inner diameters less than 6 mm, and there is a need for new biomaterials and graft designs. We propose silk fibroin as a microvascular graft material and describe tubular silk scaffolds that demonstrate improved properties over existing vascular graft materials. Silk tubes produced using an aqueous gel spinning technique were first assessed in vitro in terms of thrombogenicity (thrombin and fibrinogen adsorption, platelet adhesion) and vascular cell responses (endothelial and smooth muscle cell attachment and proliferation) in comparison with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a synthetic material most frequently used for vascular grafts. Silk tubes were then implanted into the abdominal aortas of Sprague-Dawley rats. At time points of 2 weeks and 4 weeks post-implantation, tissue outcomes were assessed through gross observation (acute thrombosis, patency) and histological staining (H&E, Factor VIII, smooth muscle actin). Over the 4-week time period, we observed graft patency and endothelial cell lining of the lumen surfaces. These results demonstrate the feasibility of using silk fibroin as a vascular graft material and some advantages of silk tubes over the currently used synthetic grafts. PMID:21220960

  12. Tubular silk scaffolds for small diameter vascular grafts.

    PubMed

    Lovett, Michael; Eng, George; Kluge, Jonathan A; Cannizzaro, Christopher; Vunjak-Novakovic, Gordana; Kaplan, David L

    2010-01-01

    Vascular surgeries such as coronary artery bypass require small diameter vascular grafts with properties that are not available at this time. Approaches using synthetic biomaterials have been not completely successful in producing non-thrombogenic grafts with inner diameters less than 6 mm, and there is a need for new biomaterials and graft designs. We propose silk fibroin as a microvascular graft material and describe tubular silk scaffolds that demonstrate improved properties over existing vascular graft materials. Silk tubes produced using an aqueous gel spinning technique were first assessed in vitro in terms of thrombogenicity (thrombin and fibrinogen adsorption, platelet adhesion) and vascular cell responses (endothelial and smooth muscle cell attachment and proliferation) in comparison with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a synthetic material most frequently used for vascular grafts. Silk tubes were then implanted into the abdominal aortas of Sprague-Dawley rats. At time points of 2 weeks and 4 weeks post implantation, tissue outcomes were assessed through gross observation (acute thrombosis, patency) and histological staining (H&E, Factor VIII, smooth muscle actin). Over the 4-week time period, we observed graft patency and endothelial cell lining of the lumen surfaces. These results demonstrate the feasibility of using silk fibroin as a vascular graft material and some advantages of silk tubes over the currently used synthetic grafts.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Bioengineered Silk Protein-Based Gene Delivery Systems

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  17. 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

  18. Laser Ablation of Silk Protein (Fibroin) Films

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsuboi, Yasuyuki; Adachi, Hisanori; Yamada, Kazushi; Miyasaka, Hiroshi; Itaya, Akira

    2002-07-01

    Fibroin is the main protein component of silk and is expected to have functional applications in bioelectronics and medicine. We investigated nanosecond (ns) pulsed laser ablation of solid fibroin films with/without a dye as a photosensitizer. Laser lights at 248 nm and 532/355/351 nm excited the peptide bond of fibroin and the dye, respectively. The neat film irradiated at 248 nm was scarcely accessible to etching and swelling, and instead, a microscopic pattern (structure) was formed. In contrast, for ablation of the doped film at 532/355/351 nm, we found marked swelling (height ˜500 μm) and deep etching (depth ˜10 μm) on the irradiated surfaces. The dye-photosensitized ablation was brought about by a photothermal mechanism, whereas ablation of neat films may be induced by another process, such as a photochemical one. The ablation processes are discussed in terms of the properties of fibroin and the mode of excitation.

  19. 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

  20. 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. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

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

    PubMed

    Brooks, Amanda E

    2015-01-01

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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Templating effect of silk fibers in the oriented deposition of aragonite.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Cheng; Yang, Yuhong; Chen, Xin; Shao, Zhengzhong

    2008-11-21

    Controlled deposition of calcium carbonate crystals can be obtained on degummed Bombyx mori silk fibers through the use of a silk fibroin solution; aragonite crystallites are found on the surface of the fiber with consistent orientation along the longitudinal axis; the results indicate that the combination of the ordered surface structure on the silk fiber and the directing-effect of silk fibroin solution are the key factors in the orientative deposition process of the mineral.

  7. Solubilization of spider silk proteins and its structural analysis using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Osbin, K.; Jayan, Manuel; Bhadrakumari, S.; Predeep, P.

    2017-06-01

    This study investigates the presence of various amide bands present in different spider silk species, which provides extraordinary physical properties. Three different spider silks were collected from Western Ghats region. The collected spider silks samples belonging to the spider Heteropoda venatoria (species 1), Hersilia savignyi (species 2) and Pholcus phalangioides (species 3). Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra reveals the protein peaks in the amide I, II, and III regions in all the three types of spider silk species.

  8. Multifunctional surface modification of silk fabric via graphene oxide repeatedly coating and chemical reduction method

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cao, Jiliang; Wang, Chaoxia

    2017-05-01

    Multifunctional silk fabrics with electrical conductive, anti-ultraviolet and water repellent were successfully prepared by surface modification with graphene oxide (GO). The yellow-brown GO deposited on the surface of silk fabric was converted into graphitic black reduced graphene (RGO) by sodium hydrosulfite. The surface properties of silk fabrics were changed by repeatedly RGO coating process, which have been proved by SEM and XPS. The SEM results showed that the RGO sheets were successive form a continuously thin film on the surface of silk fabrics, and the deposition of GO or RGO also can be proved by XPS. The electrical conductivity was tested by electrical surface resistance value of the silk fabric, the surface resistance decreased with increasing of RGO surface modification times, and a low surface resistance value reached to 3.24 KΩ cm-1 after 9 times of modification, indicating the silk obtained excellent conductivity. The UPF value of one time GO modification silk fabric (silk-1RGO) was enhanced significantly to 24.45 in comparison to 10.40 of original silk. The contact angle of RGO coating silk samples was all above of 120°. The durability of RGO coated silk fabrics was tested by laundering. The electrical surface resistance of silk-4RGO (65.74 KΩ cm-1), silk-6RGO (15.54 KΩ cm-1) and silk-8RGO (3.86 KΩ cm-1) fabrics was up to 86.82, 22.30 and 6.57 KΩ cm-1 after 10 times of standard washing, respectively. The UPF value, contact angle and color differences of RGO modified silk fabric slightly changed before and after 10 times of standard washing. Therefore, the washing fastness of electric conduction, anti-ultraviolet and water repellent multifunctional silk fabrics was excellent.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Reversible Assembly of β-Sheet Nanocrystals within Caddisfly Silk

    PubMed Central

    Addison, J. Bennett; Weber, Warner S.; Mou, Qiushi; Ashton, Nicholas N.; Stewart, Russell J.; Holland, Gregory P.; yarger, Jeffery L.

    2014-01-01

    Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) experiments reveal the structural importance of divalent cation–phosphate complexes in the formation of β-sheet nanocrystals from phosphorylated serine-rich regions within aquatic silk from caddisfly larvae of the species Hesperophyla consimilis. Wide angle XRD data on native caddisfly silk show that the silk contains a significant crystalline component with a repetitive orthorhombic unit cell aligned along the fiber axis with dimensions of 5.9 Å × 23.2 Å × 17.3 Å. These nanocrystalline domains depend on multivalent cations, which can be removed through chelation with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). A comparison of wide angle X-ray diffraction data before and after EDTA treatment reveals that the integrated peak area of reflections corresponding to the nanocrystalline regions decreases by 15–25% while that of the amorphous background reflections increases by 20%, indicating a partial loss of crystallinity. 31P solid-state NMR data on native caddisfly silk also show that the phosphorylated serine-rich motifs transform from a rigid environment to one that is highly mobile and water-solvated after treatment with EDTA. The removal of divalent cations through exchange and chelation has therefore caused a collapse of the β-sheet structure. However, NMR results show that the rigid phosphorus environment is mostly recovered after the silk is re-treated with calcium. The 31P spin–lattice (T1) relaxation times were measured at 7.6 ± 3.1 and 1 ± 0.5 s for this calcium-recovered sample and the native silk sample, respectively. The shorter 31P T1 relaxation times measured for the native silk sample are attributed to the presence of paramagnetic iron that is stripped away during EDTA chelation treatment and replaced with diamagnetic calcium. PMID:24576204

  16. Reversible assembly of β-sheet nanocrystals within caddisfly silk.

    PubMed

    Addison, J Bennett; Weber, Warner S; Mou, Qiushi; Ashton, Nicholas N; Stewart, Russell J; Holland, Gregory P; Yarger, Jeffery L

    2014-04-14

    Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) experiments reveal the structural importance of divalent cation-phosphate complexes in the formation of β-sheet nanocrystals from phosphorylated serine-rich regions within aquatic silk from caddisfly larvae of the species Hesperophyla consimilis. Wide angle XRD data on native caddisfly silk show that the silk contains a significant crystalline component with a repetitive orthorhombic unit cell aligned along the fiber axis with dimensions of 5.9 Å × 23.2 Å × 17.3 Å. These nanocrystalline domains depend on multivalent cations, which can be removed through chelation with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). A comparison of wide angle X-ray diffraction data before and after EDTA treatment reveals that the integrated peak area of reflections corresponding to the nanocrystalline regions decreases by 15-25% while that of the amorphous background reflections increases by 20%, indicating a partial loss of crystallinity. (31)P solid-state NMR data on native caddisfly silk also show that the phosphorylated serine-rich motifs transform from a rigid environment to one that is highly mobile and water-solvated after treatment with EDTA. The removal of divalent cations through exchange and chelation has therefore caused a collapse of the β-sheet structure. However, NMR results show that the rigid phosphorus environment is mostly recovered after the silk is re-treated with calcium. The (31)P spin-lattice (T1) relaxation times were measured at 7.6 ± 3.1 and 1 ± 0.5 s for this calcium-recovered sample and the native silk sample, respectively. The shorter (31)P T1 relaxation times measured for the native silk sample are attributed to the presence of paramagnetic iron that is stripped away during EDTA chelation treatment and replaced with diamagnetic calcium.

  17. 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.

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    1995-05-01

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

  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. Osteoinductive silk-silica composite biomaterials for bone regeneration.

    PubMed

    Mieszawska, Aneta J; Fourligas, Nikolaos; Georgakoudi, Irene; Ouhib, Nadia M; Belton, David J; Perry, Carole C; Kaplan, David L

    2010-12-01

    Osteoinductive and biodegradable composite biomaterials for bone regeneration were prepared by combining silk fibroin with silica particles. The influence of these composite systems on osteogenesis was evaluated with human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) subjected to osteogenic differentiation. hMSCs adhered, proliferated, and differentiated towards osteogenic lineages on silk/silica films. The addition of the silica to the silk films influenced gene expression leading to upregulation of bone sialoprotein (BSP) and collagen type 1 (Col 1) osteogenic markers. Evidence for early bone formation in the form of collagen fibers and apatite nodules was obtained on the silk/silica films. Collagen fibers were closely associated with apatite deposits and overall collagen content was higher for the silica containing samples. Also, smaller sized silica particles (24 nm-2 μm) with large surface area facilitated silica biodegradation in vitro through particle dissolution, leading to ∼5-fold decrease in silica content over 10 weeks. These results indicate the suitability of silk/silica composite system towards bone regeneration, where degradation/remodeling rates of the organic and inorganic components can be controlled. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Neural Responses to Electrical Stimulation on Patterned Silk Films

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Peripheral nerve injury is a critical issue for trauma patients. Following injury, incomplete axon regeneration or misguided axon innervation into tissue will result in loss of sensory and motor functions. The objective of this study was to examine axon outgrowth and axon alignment in response to surface patterning and electrical stimulation. To accomplish our objective, metal electrodes with dimensions of 1.5 mm × 4 cm, were sputter coated onto micropatterned silk protein films, with surface grooves 3.5 μm wide × 500 nm deep. P19 neurons were seeded on the patterned electronic silk films and stimulated at 120 mV, 1 kHz, for 45 minutes each day for 7 days. Responses were compared to neurons on flat electronic silk films, patterned silk films without stimulation, and flat silk films without stimulation. Significant alignment was found on the patterned film groups compared to the flat film groups. Axon outgrowth was greater (p < 0.05) on electronic films on day 5 and day 7 compared to the unstimulated groups. In conclusion, electrical stimulation, at 120 mV, 1 kHz, for 45 minutes daily, in addition to surface patterning, of 3.5 μm wide × 500 nm deep grooves, offered control of nerve axon outgrowth and alignment. PMID:23401351

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Silk-hydrogel Lenses for Light-emitting Diodes.

    PubMed

    Melikov, Rustamzhon; Press, Daniel Aaron; Kumar, Baskaran Ganesh; Dogru, Itir Bakis; Sadeghi, Sadra; Chirea, Mariana; Yılgör, İskender; Nizamoglu, Sedat

    2017-08-03

    Today the high demand for electronics leads to massive production of waste, thus green materials based electronic devices are becoming more important for environmental protection and sustainability. The biomaterial based hydrogels are widely used in tissue engineering, but their uses in photonics are limited. In this study, silk fibroin protein in hydrogel form is explored as a bio-friendly alternative to conventional polymers for lens applications in light-emitting diodes. The concentration of silk fibroin protein and crosslinking agent had direct effects on optical properties of silk hydrogel. The spatial radiation intensity distribution was controlled via dome- and crater-type silk-hydrogel lenses. The hydrogel lens showed a light extraction efficiency over 0.95 on a warm white LED. The stability of silk hydrogel lens is enhanced approximately three-folds by using a biocompatible/biodegradable poly(ester-urethane) coating and more than three orders of magnitude by using an edible paraffin wax coating. Therefore, biomaterial lenses show promise for green optoelectronic applications.

  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. Peroxidase-catalysed interfacial adhesion of aquatic caddisworm silk

    PubMed Central