Title

The Secret Behind the Silk Web

Poster Number

34

Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Artist Statement

Belonging to the diverse order Araneae, the black widow spider Latrodectus hesperus produces high-performance fibers with a broad range of biological functions and mechanical properties. The main focus of our research group was to seek out novel silk genes, at the same time determining which isolated components were involved, and to what degree, in the silk production pathway in spiders. With the practical objective of mass commercial production, spider silk genes were retrieved and analyzed using molecular biological techniques and bioinformatics, respectively. Specifically, black widow cDNAs were purified for DNA sequence analysis. Laboratory techniques performed included the plating of a cDNA library, single clone excisions, transformation, plasmid DNA purification, restriction enzyme digestions and agarose gel electrophoresis. The outcome of these techniques will be discussed following DNA sequence analyses of the retrieved cDNAs and a complete bioinformatics study. Computational algorithms such as ExPASy and BLAST will be used to help determine the identity of the retrieved cDNA sequences. The rationale for retrieving gene sequences from the spider cDNA library was to discover novel methods to advance silk manipulation for the production of artificial spider silk.

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

The Secret Behind the Silk Web

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom B

Belonging to the diverse order Araneae, the black widow spider Latrodectus hesperus produces high-performance fibers with a broad range of biological functions and mechanical properties. The main focus of our research group was to seek out novel silk genes, at the same time determining which isolated components were involved, and to what degree, in the silk production pathway in spiders. With the practical objective of mass commercial production, spider silk genes were retrieved and analyzed using molecular biological techniques and bioinformatics, respectively. Specifically, black widow cDNAs were purified for DNA sequence analysis. Laboratory techniques performed included the plating of a cDNA library, single clone excisions, transformation, plasmid DNA purification, restriction enzyme digestions and agarose gel electrophoresis. The outcome of these techniques will be discussed following DNA sequence analyses of the retrieved cDNAs and a complete bioinformatics study. Computational algorithms such as ExPASy and BLAST will be used to help determine the identity of the retrieved cDNA sequences. The rationale for retrieving gene sequences from the spider cDNA library was to discover novel methods to advance silk manipulation for the production of artificial spider silk.