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Acta Biomater. 2014 Apr;10(4):1612-26. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2013.08.020. Epub 2013 Aug 17.

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

Author information

  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA.
  • 2Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
  • 3Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
  • 4Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA. Electronic address: David.Kaplan@tufts.edu.


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.


Genetic engineering; Proteins; Secondary structure; Self-assembly; Spider silk

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