Navigation Links
Genetic Secrets Behind the Dragline Silk

Biologists at the University of California, Riverside have identified the genes, and determined the DNA sequences, for two key proteins in the 'dragline silk' of the black widow spider an advance that may lead to a variety of new materials for industrial, medical and military uses.

The black widow spiders dragline silk is a standout compared to other spider silks because of its superior strength and extensibility, a combination which enables black widow dragline silk to absorb enormous amounts of energy. These properties suggest that synthetically-produced silk might find applications as diverse as lightweight super-strong body armor, components of medical devices and high-tech athletic attire.

The researchers Associate Professor of Biology Cheryl Hayashi, postdoctoral researchers Nadia Ayoub and Jessica Garb, and graduate students Robin Tinghitella and Matthew Collin report their findings in the June 13 online edition of the journal PLoS ONE, published by the Public Library of Science (PLoS).

In the article, they describe their work to identify the genes encoding the two key proteins, named MaSp1 and MaSp2, and determine the genes complete DNA sequences. The UCR Office of Technology Commercialization has filed a patent application on the gene sequences.

There are currently no products on the market based on the dragline silk of spiders. 'Theres nothing quite as good yet as natural dragline silk, but we should get a lot closer now that we have the full genetic recipe,' Hayashi said.

With the ingredients and their genetic blueprint now known, it may be possible to synthetically produce the proteins by inserting the genetic sequences into host organisms such as bacteria, plants or animals, she said. Once the pure proteins are harvested, a manufacturing challenge will be spinning them into silk fibers that have the same remarkable properties as spider spun silk. But several advances have recently be en made in artificial spinning methods.

When spiders manufacture dragline silk, their silk glands produce a 'gooey' slurry of the proteins needed, which are transported to the spinneret through a duct where the proteins interact and align to form the silk strands.

'The production of artificial silk is not quite there yet,' Hayashi said. 'Now, with the full length genes known and as we learn more about theses two proteins, hopefully we will have a better shot at mimicking nature.'

Spider silks have some of the best mechanical properties of any known natural fibers, thus they are being considered in the improvement of a variety of products including surgical microsutures and specialty ropes.

Dragline silk just one type of the seven different silks that an individual spider produces are used by spiders as the structural foundation of their webs and to support their body weight as they move about. The dragline silk of black widows is one of the strongest and toughest spider silks identified thus far.


Related medicine news :

1. Genetic Dentistry: Your Dentist may be able to grow you a new set of Teeth.
2. Genetic influence in menopause
3. Genetics and cholesterol levels
4. Genetics helps in attacking cancer
5. Genetic disorder related with sleep patterns
6. Genetic innovation
7. Genetic tests for cancer
8. Genetic indicates memory
9. Genetic mutation to the fountain of youth discovered
10. Genetic differences found between Male and Female brains
11. Alcoholism Influenced By Both Genetics & Family Environment
Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/26/2016)... , ... June 26, 2016 , ... On June 10-11, ... of the 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, ... the city’s history as home to some of the world’s leading providers of cereal ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Experts from the American Institutes for Research ... June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. , AIR experts ... planning, healthcare costs and patient and family engagement. , AIR researchers will be ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, ... and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained ... Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic ... many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping ... released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... offering micro-osteoperforation for accelerated orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all ... brackets , AcceleDent, and accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... Pharma News Issue 52" report to their offering. ... in influenza treatment creates a favourable commercial environment for MedImmune ... growing patient base that will serve to drive considerable growth ... vaccine would serve to cap sales considerably, but development is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. , June 23, 2016 ... 9:00 a.m. CST on Thursday, July 7, 2016 , , ... ) , , , , EXPERT PANELISTS:  ... Sciences, Nitin Naik; Senior Industry Analyst, Christi Bird; Senior Industry Analyst, ... The global pharmaceutical industry is witnessing ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... today announced the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a new affiliate with operations headquartered in Bogota. ... ... ... ... Astellas is a ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: