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J Biomater Sci Polym Ed. 2010;21(3):395-411. doi: 10.1163/156856209X423126.

Mechanical properties of regenerated Bombyx mori silk fibers and recombinant silk fibers produced by transgenic silkworms.

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Department of Biotechnology, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, 2-24-16 Nakacho, Koganei, Tokyo 184-8588, Japan.


Regenerated silk fibroin fibers from the cocoons of silkworm, Bombyx mori, were prepared with hexafluoro solvents, 1,1,1,3,3,3-hexafluoro-2-propanol (HFIP) or hexafluoroacetone-trihydrate (HFA), as dope solvents and methanol as coagulation solvent. The regenerated fiber prepared from the HFIP solution showed slightly larger tensile strength when the draw ratio is 1:3 than that of native silk fiber, but the strength of the regenerated fiber with draw ratio 1:3 from the HFA solution is much lower than that of native silk fiber. This difference in the tensile strength of the regenerated silk fibers between two dope solvents comes from the difference in the long-range orientation of the crystalline region rather than that of short-range structural environment such as the fraction of beta-sheet structure. The increase in the biodegradation was observed for the regenerated silk fiber compared with native silk fiber. Preparations of regenerated silk fibroin fibers containing spider silk sequences were obtained by mixing silk fibroins and silk-like proteins with characteristic sequences from a spider, Naphila clavipes, to produce drag-line silk in E. coli in the fluoro solvents. A small increase in the tensile strength was obtained by adding 5% (w/w) of the silk-like protein to the silk fibroin. The production of silk fibroin fibers with these spider silk sequences was also performed with transgenic silkworms. Small increase in the tensile strength of the fibers was obtained without significant change in the elongation-at-break.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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