Title

Unraveling the Mystery of Spider Silk

Poster Number

29

Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Artist Statement

Spiders spin fibers that have incredible material properties. Modern spiders spin at least seven different fiber types with a diverse range of mechanical properties. Based upon spider silks high tensile strength, these threads are considered some of the strongest biomaterials in the world - even stronger than high-tensile steel. Manipulating the gene sequences that code for silk proteins assembled into the fibers would be of great commercial gain for society. In order to do so, scientists must first isolate and sequence the genes that code for products that are spun into the different fiber types. To hunt for new spider genes involved in the silk fibers or silk production pathway, we plated a spider cDNA library prepared from silk-producing glands to see if we could find novel genes involved in the silk pathway. Individual recombinant viruses carrying different spider cDNAs were picked at random and amplified. These clones were then retrieved from the recombinant viral chromosomes using single clone in vivo excision methodology. Retrieved plasmid DNA molecules were then digested with restriction enzymes to release the cDNAs prior to DNA sequence analysis. Results will be discussed after the DNA sequencing reactions are finished and their sequences analyzed by applying bioinformatic approaches.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom B

Start Date

1-5-2010 1:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2010 3:00 PM

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May 1st, 1:00 PM May 1st, 3:00 PM

Unraveling the Mystery of Spider Silk

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom B

Spiders spin fibers that have incredible material properties. Modern spiders spin at least seven different fiber types with a diverse range of mechanical properties. Based upon spider silks high tensile strength, these threads are considered some of the strongest biomaterials in the world - even stronger than high-tensile steel. Manipulating the gene sequences that code for silk proteins assembled into the fibers would be of great commercial gain for society. In order to do so, scientists must first isolate and sequence the genes that code for products that are spun into the different fiber types. To hunt for new spider genes involved in the silk fibers or silk production pathway, we plated a spider cDNA library prepared from silk-producing glands to see if we could find novel genes involved in the silk pathway. Individual recombinant viruses carrying different spider cDNAs were picked at random and amplified. These clones were then retrieved from the recombinant viral chromosomes using single clone in vivo excision methodology. Retrieved plasmid DNA molecules were then digested with restriction enzymes to release the cDNAs prior to DNA sequence analysis. Results will be discussed after the DNA sequencing reactions are finished and their sequences analyzed by applying bioinformatic approaches.