Title

Synthetic glue silk fibers spun from PySp2 of orb-weaving spiders

Poster Number

68

Lead Author Major

Biological Sciences

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Craig Vierra

Faculty Mentor Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract/Artist Statement

Due to certain characteristics of spider silk, such as high elasticity and tensile strength, researchers are continuously expanding their knowledge of spider silk proteins in the hopes of one day being able to manufacture these silks for industrial purposes. Some practical uses of spider silk include bulletproof vests and medical sutures. Ultimately, the goal is to be able to produce a spider silk-like protein for artificial fiber spinning. Pyriform Spidroin 2 (PySp2) is a component found in the pyriform gland of orb-weaving spiders such as Nephila clavipes, and is essential to the formation of attachment disks. These glue silk fibers have high tensile strength and are non- toxic, and attach dragline silk to surfaces to allow for locomotion and web construction. The toughness of the fiber is attributed to both the spinning conditions and the overall protein architecture. The PySp2 protein has a distinct set of internal block repeats containing segments of specific repeating amino acids, which contribute to the overall polarity and the successful assembly of the proteins into fibers. We plan to test the significance of each block repeat and the resulting relationship to the mechanical properties of the attachment disk fibers. cDNA constructs containing each internal repeat have been inserted and expressed in the pBAD-Thio-TOPO expression vector. Our long term goal is to purify the recombinant fusion protein and spin these proteins into synthetic fibers. Mechanical properties of the fibers will then be tested and compared to those of naturally spun fibers of orb-weaver attachment discs.

Location

Grave Covell

Start Date

21-4-2012 10:00 AM

End Date

21-4-2012 12:00 PM

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Apr 21st, 10:00 AM Apr 21st, 12:00 PM

Synthetic glue silk fibers spun from PySp2 of orb-weaving spiders

Grave Covell

Due to certain characteristics of spider silk, such as high elasticity and tensile strength, researchers are continuously expanding their knowledge of spider silk proteins in the hopes of one day being able to manufacture these silks for industrial purposes. Some practical uses of spider silk include bulletproof vests and medical sutures. Ultimately, the goal is to be able to produce a spider silk-like protein for artificial fiber spinning. Pyriform Spidroin 2 (PySp2) is a component found in the pyriform gland of orb-weaving spiders such as Nephila clavipes, and is essential to the formation of attachment disks. These glue silk fibers have high tensile strength and are non- toxic, and attach dragline silk to surfaces to allow for locomotion and web construction. The toughness of the fiber is attributed to both the spinning conditions and the overall protein architecture. The PySp2 protein has a distinct set of internal block repeats containing segments of specific repeating amino acids, which contribute to the overall polarity and the successful assembly of the proteins into fibers. We plan to test the significance of each block repeat and the resulting relationship to the mechanical properties of the attachment disk fibers. cDNA constructs containing each internal repeat have been inserted and expressed in the pBAD-Thio-TOPO expression vector. Our long term goal is to purify the recombinant fusion protein and spin these proteins into synthetic fibers. Mechanical properties of the fibers will then be tested and compared to those of naturally spun fibers of orb-weaver attachment discs.