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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Craig Vierra

First Committee Member

Lisa Wrischnik

Second Committee Member

Gregg D. Jongeward


Spider silk is one of the most remarkable materials produced in the natural world and its strength and extensibility are legendary. To date, the majority of studies have been performed on the following silks: dragline, capture spiral, and eggcase silk. The primary goal of this study was to characterize a lesser known silk type, called wrapping (swathing) silk, from Latrodectus hesperus. My research focused on elucidating the fibroins that make up the swathing silk. Perfonning MS/MS analyses on solubilized wrapping silk fibroins digested with trypsin, we demonstrate that a novel fibroin named AcSp !-like is present within wrapping silk. Consistent with this finding, SEM analyses reveal that wrapping silk is a composite material, containing at least three different diameter silk fibers. By using scanning electron micrographs, along with amino acid composition analyses and MS/MS analyses, we demonstrate wrapping material contains the fibroins AcSp1-like, MiSp1-like, MaSp1 and MaSp2. These are the first studies to reveal that minor, major and acinifonn silks are constituents of wrapping material.



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