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Fascinating spider silk

eb production: within the silk gland, the pH is relatively high, but within the spinning duct it drops to a slightly acidic level. No phase separation was observed for the synthetic spider protein when the pH was maintained at an alkaline level. At high pH, the normally uncharged tyrosine groups in the protein are deprotonated, which gives them a negative charge. This charge weakens the interactions between the hydrophobic, lipophilic regions of the proteins, which are necessary for oligomerization.

"Our insights form a foundation for the establishment of an effective spinning process for the production genetically engineered spider silk," hopes Scheibel.


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Source:John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


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