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FEBS Lett. 2000 Aug 18;479(3):141-5.

Amyloids protect the silkmoth oocyte and embryo.

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Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, Greece.


Chorion is the major component of silkmoth eggshell. More than 95% of its dry mass consists of proteins that have remarkable mechanical and chemical properties protecting the oocyte and the developing embryo from a wide range of environmental hazards. We present data from electron microscopy (negative staining and shadowing), X-ray diffraction and modeling studies of synthetic peptide analogues of silkmoth chorion proteins indicating that chorion is a natural amyloid. The folding and self-assembly models of chorion peptides strongly support the beta-sheet helix model of amyloid fibrils proposed recently by Blake and Serpell [Structure 4 (1996) 989-998].

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