Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Craig Vierra


Spider silks are protein-based fibers that possess remarkable mechanical properties. Major ampullate silk, also referred to as dragline silk, is renowned for its high tensile strength, extensibility and toughness. Dragline silk is produced from a liquid spinning dope that undergoes chemical and physical changes during extrusion. To date, no proteins that participate in the assembly process of major ampullate silk proteins have been identified. The goal of this project is the identification of such protein products. De novo sequencing of peptides from in pollution tryptic digestion of black widow spider dragline silk identified several novel peptides that were not derived from the full-length primary sequences of the major ampulate fibroins, MaSpl and MaSpl. One of the peptides corresponded to a region within a translated cDNA retrieved from a library constructed from silk-producing glands.





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