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Int J Biol Macromol. 2010 Jun;46(5):555-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2010.03.013. Epub 2010 Mar 30.

Supercontraction of dragline silk spun by lynx spiders (Oxyopidae).

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Departamento de Ciencia de Materiales, ETSI Caminos, Canales y Puertos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain.


Supercontraction is commonly considered as a functional adaptation of major ampullate gland (MA) silk to its role as the main structural material in orb-webs. However, the observation of supercontraction in the dragline silk of a lynx spider species, as it is shown in this work, offers a strong support to the hypothesis that the appearance of supercontraction preceded the advent of capture webs. Moreover, the absence of proline in the sequence of dragline silk spidroin in Oxyopidae and related spiders indicates that the presence of this amino acid may not be required for the existence of supercontraction. In this regard, the presence of particular subrepeats--in orb-web and non-orb-web building spiders--adds new clues for the understanding of supercontraction and associated effects.

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