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Biomacromolecules. 2007 Nov;8(11):3487-92. Epub 2007 Oct 16.

Improving cell-adhesive properties of recombinant Bombyx mori silk by incorporation of collagen or fibronectin derived peptides produced by transgenic silkworms.

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


Silk of Bombyx mori can be used as various biomaterials. Especially, it is useful as a protein for coating the surface of cell culture plates since the silk possesses a biocompatibility to the cultured cells. However, the cell-adhesive ability is weaker than collagen or fibronectin, which are used for coating the plate more frequently (Yao et al. J. Biochem., 2004, 136, 643-649). To increase the biocompatibility of the silk, we constructed transgenic silkworms, inserting the modified fibroin light-chain genes for making recombinant silks that possessed partial collagen or fibronectin sequences, that is, [GERGDLGPQGIAGQRGVV(GER)3GAS]8GPPGPCCGGG or [TGRGDSPAS]8, respectively. Films were made from the recombinant silks, and the cell-adhesive activity for cultured mammalian cells was observed. The results showed that the two types of recombinant silk films possessed a much higher cell-adhesive activity as compared to the original unmodified silk. Especially, the recombinant silk with the sequence [TGRGDSPAS]8, produced by a transgenic Nd-sD mutant, gave a 6 times higher activity than the original unmodified silk.

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