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Biomacromolecules. 2004 May-Jun;5(3):680-8.

Structures of Bombyx mori and Samia cynthia ricini silk fibroins studied with solid-state NMR.

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Department of Biotechnology, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Koganei, Tokyo 184-8588, Japan.


There are many kinds of silks spun by silkworms and spiders, which are suitable to study the structure-property relationship for molecular design of fibers with high strength and high elasticity. In this review, we mainly focus on the structural determination of two well-known silk fibroin proteins that are from the domesticated silkworm, Bombyx mori, and the wild silkworm, Samia cynthia ricini, respectively. The structures of B. mori silk fibroin before and after spinning were determined by using an appropriate model peptide, (AG)(15), with several solid-state NMR methods; (13)C two-dimensional spin-diffusion solid-state NMR and rotational echo double resonance (REDOR) NMR techniques along with the quantitative use of the conformation-dependent (13)C CP/MAS chemical shifts. The structure of S. c. ricini silk fibroin before spinning was also determined by using a model peptide, GGAGGGYGGDGG(A)(12)GGAGDGYGAG, which is a typical repeated sequence of the silk fibroin, with the solid-state NMR methods. The transition from the structure of B. mori silk fibroin before spinning to the structure after spinning was studied with molecular dynamics calculation by taking into account several external forces applied to the silk fibroin in the silkworm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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