Beta transition and stress-induced phase separation in the spinning of spider dragline silk

Queen Mary, University of London, Londinium, England, United Kingdom
International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (Impact Factor: 3.1). 07/2000; 27(3):205-10. DOI: 10.1016/S0141-8130(00)00124-0
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Spider dragline silk is formed as the result of a remarkable transformation in which an aqueous dope solution is rapidly converted into an insoluble protein filament with outstanding mechanical properties. Microscopy on the spinning duct in Nephila edulis spiders suggests that this transformation involves a stress-induced formation of anti-parallel beta-sheets induced by extensional flow. Measurements of draw stress at different draw rates during silking confirm that a stress-induced phase transition occurs.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: 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.
    Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 03/2002; 357(1418):219-27. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2001.1026 · 6.31 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) have recently been described as a new class of matter. Here we review the evidence for the novel conclusion that the fibrillar collagens and the dragline silks of orb web spiders belong to this remarkable class of materials. Unlike conventional rubbers, LCEs are ordered, rather than disordered, at rest. The identification of these biopolymers as LCEs may have a predictive value. It may explain how collagens and spider dragline silks are assembled. It may provide a detailed explanation for their mechanical properties, accounting for the variation between different members of the collagen family and between the draglines in different spider species. It may provide a basis for the design of biomimetic collagen and dragline silk analogues by genetic engineering, peptide- or classical polymer synthesis. Biological LCEs may exhibit a range of exotic properties already identified in other members of this remarkable class of materials. In this paper, the possibility that other transversely banded fibrillar proteins are also LCEs is discussed.
    Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 03/2002; 357(1418):155-63. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2001.1030 · 6.31 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: 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 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. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    European journal of pharmaceutics and biopharmaceutics: official journal of Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Pharmazeutische Verfahrenstechnik e.V 03/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ejpb.2015.03.016 · 4.25 Impact Factor