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Science. 2002 Jan 18;295(5554):472-6.

Spider silk fibers spun from soluble recombinant silk produced in mammalian cells.

Author information

1
Nexia Biotechnologies, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec J7V 8P5, Canada. alazaris@nexiabiotech.com

Abstract

Spider silks are protein-based "biopolymer" filaments or threads secreted by specialized epithelial cells as concentrated soluble precursors of highly repetitive primary sequences. Spider dragline silk is a flexible, lightweight fiber of extraordinary strength and toughness comparable to that of synthetic high-performance fibers. We sought to "biomimic" the process of spider silk production by expressing in mammalian cells the dragline silk genes (ADF-3/MaSpII and MaSpI) of two spider species. We produced soluble recombinant (rc)-dragline silk proteins with molecular masses of 60 to 140 kilodaltons. We demonstrated the wet spinning of silk monofilaments spun from a concentrated aqueous solution of soluble rc-spider silk protein (ADF-3; 60 kilodaltons) under modest shear and coagulation conditions. The spun fibers were water insoluble with a fine diameter (10 to 40 micrometers) and exhibited toughness and modulus values comparable to those of native dragline silks but with lower tenacity. Dope solutions with rc-silk protein concentrations >20% and postspinning draw were necessary to achieve improved mechanical properties of the spun fibers. Fiber properties correlated with finer fiber diameter and increased birefringence.

PMID:
11799236
DOI:
10.1126/science.1065780
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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