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Composition and hierarchical organisation of a spider silk.

Sponner A, Vater W, Monajembashi S, Unger E, Grosse F, Weisshart K - PLoS ONE (2007)

Bottom Line: Here we link morphological defined structural elements in dragline silk of Nephila clavipes to their biochemical composition and physicochemical properties.Five layers of different make-ups could be distinguished.Of these only the two core layers contained the known silk proteins, but all can vitally contribute to the mechanical performance or properties of the silk fibre.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Albeit silks are fairly well understood on a molecular level, their hierarchical organisation and the full complexity of constituents in the spun fibre remain poorly defined. Here we link morphological defined structural elements in dragline silk of Nephila clavipes to their biochemical composition and physicochemical properties. Five layers of different make-ups could be distinguished. Of these only the two core layers contained the known silk proteins, but all can vitally contribute to the mechanical performance or properties of the silk fibre. Understanding the composite nature of silk and its supra-molecular organisation will open avenues in the production of high performance fibres based on artificially spun silk material.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Spatial image microscopy of fibrillar structures.Panel A. Cut end of a dragline incubated in 8 M urea. High resolution stereo image was acquired with a Zeiss Neofluar 100x/NA 1.3 oil immersion objective. A stereo lorgnette is required for obtaining the 3D effect. The upper arrows will appear as one arrow behind the object, whereas the lower arrow in the right picture will appear in front of it. They indicate the end of the conical shape pointing to the open ends. Fibrils can be seen in the central parts (lower arrow, left image) of the fibre. Panel B. Freeze fractured dragline incubated in 8 M urea. Image was acquired as in panel A. The fractured site is indicated by the lower arrows. The exposed interior shows that the fibre consists of many fibrils, which are twisted (upper arrow) and from bundles.
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pone-0000998-g006: Spatial image microscopy of fibrillar structures.Panel A. Cut end of a dragline incubated in 8 M urea. High resolution stereo image was acquired with a Zeiss Neofluar 100x/NA 1.3 oil immersion objective. A stereo lorgnette is required for obtaining the 3D effect. The upper arrows will appear as one arrow behind the object, whereas the lower arrow in the right picture will appear in front of it. They indicate the end of the conical shape pointing to the open ends. Fibrils can be seen in the central parts (lower arrow, left image) of the fibre. Panel B. Freeze fractured dragline incubated in 8 M urea. Image was acquired as in panel A. The fractured site is indicated by the lower arrows. The exposed interior shows that the fibre consists of many fibrils, which are twisted (upper arrow) and from bundles.

Mentions: Urea treatment induced swelling of the fibre resulting in diameters of ∼8 µm without dissolving the material (Figure 5D). Obviously, the core material expanded against the resistance of the skin. Further evidence for this assumption was provided by the observed slight conical forms of the cut ends of fibres soaked in 8 M urea (Figure 6A). The ends were tapered since the pressure was less strong at these sites than within the fibre [31].


Composition and hierarchical organisation of a spider silk.

Sponner A, Vater W, Monajembashi S, Unger E, Grosse F, Weisshart K - PLoS ONE (2007)

Spatial image microscopy of fibrillar structures.Panel A. Cut end of a dragline incubated in 8 M urea. High resolution stereo image was acquired with a Zeiss Neofluar 100x/NA 1.3 oil immersion objective. A stereo lorgnette is required for obtaining the 3D effect. The upper arrows will appear as one arrow behind the object, whereas the lower arrow in the right picture will appear in front of it. They indicate the end of the conical shape pointing to the open ends. Fibrils can be seen in the central parts (lower arrow, left image) of the fibre. Panel B. Freeze fractured dragline incubated in 8 M urea. Image was acquired as in panel A. The fractured site is indicated by the lower arrows. The exposed interior shows that the fibre consists of many fibrils, which are twisted (upper arrow) and from bundles.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC1994588&req=5

pone-0000998-g006: Spatial image microscopy of fibrillar structures.Panel A. Cut end of a dragline incubated in 8 M urea. High resolution stereo image was acquired with a Zeiss Neofluar 100x/NA 1.3 oil immersion objective. A stereo lorgnette is required for obtaining the 3D effect. The upper arrows will appear as one arrow behind the object, whereas the lower arrow in the right picture will appear in front of it. They indicate the end of the conical shape pointing to the open ends. Fibrils can be seen in the central parts (lower arrow, left image) of the fibre. Panel B. Freeze fractured dragline incubated in 8 M urea. Image was acquired as in panel A. The fractured site is indicated by the lower arrows. The exposed interior shows that the fibre consists of many fibrils, which are twisted (upper arrow) and from bundles.
Mentions: Urea treatment induced swelling of the fibre resulting in diameters of ∼8 µm without dissolving the material (Figure 5D). Obviously, the core material expanded against the resistance of the skin. Further evidence for this assumption was provided by the observed slight conical forms of the cut ends of fibres soaked in 8 M urea (Figure 6A). The ends were tapered since the pressure was less strong at these sites than within the fibre [31].

Bottom Line: Here we link morphological defined structural elements in dragline silk of Nephila clavipes to their biochemical composition and physicochemical properties.Five layers of different make-ups could be distinguished.Of these only the two core layers contained the known silk proteins, but all can vitally contribute to the mechanical performance or properties of the silk fibre.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Albeit silks are fairly well understood on a molecular level, their hierarchical organisation and the full complexity of constituents in the spun fibre remain poorly defined. Here we link morphological defined structural elements in dragline silk of Nephila clavipes to their biochemical composition and physicochemical properties. Five layers of different make-ups could be distinguished. Of these only the two core layers contained the known silk proteins, but all can vitally contribute to the mechanical performance or properties of the silk fibre. Understanding the composite nature of silk and its supra-molecular organisation will open avenues in the production of high performance fibres based on artificially spun silk material.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus