Export bibliographic data
Literature by the same author
plus on the publication server
plus at Google Scholar


Hierarchical structures made of proteins. The complex architecture of spider webs and their constituent silk proteins

Title data

Heim, Markus ; Römer, Lin ; Scheibel, Thomas:
Hierarchical structures made of proteins. The complex architecture of spider webs and their constituent silk proteins.
In: Chemical Society Reviews. Vol. 39 (October 2010) Issue 1 . - pp. 156-164.
ISSN 1460-4744
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1039/B813273A

Abstract in another language

Biopolymers fulfil a variety of different functions in nature. They conduct various processes inside and outside cells and organisms, with a functionality ranging from storage of information to stabilization, protection, shaping, transport, cellular division, or movement of whole organisms. Within the plethora of biopolymers, the most sophisticated group is of proteinaceous origin: the cytoskeleton of a cell is made of protein filaments that aid in pivotal processes like intracellular transport, movement, and cell division; geckos use a distinct arrangement of keratin-like filaments on their toes which enable them to walk up smooth surfaces, such as walls, and even upside down across ceilings; and spiders spin silks that are extra-corporally used for protection of offspring and construction of complex prey traps. The following tutorial review describes the hierarchical organization of protein fibers, using spider dragline silk as an example. The properties of a dragline silk thread originate from the strictly controlled assembly of the underlying protein chains. The assembly procedure leads to protein fibers showing a complex hierarchical organization comprising three different structural phases. This structural organization is responsible for the outstanding mechanical properties of individual fibers, which out-compete even those of high-performance artificial fibers like Kevlar. Web-weaving spiders produce, in addition to dragline silk, other silks with distinct properties, based on slightly variant constituent proteins--a feature that allows construction of highly sophisticated spider webs with well designed architectures and with optimal mechanical properties for catching prey.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Institutions of the University: Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science > Chair Biomaterials
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science > Chair Biomaterials > Chair Biomaterials - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Scheibel
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Advanced Materials
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Molecular Biosciences
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Polymer and Colloid Science
Profile Fields > Emerging Fields > Food and Health Sciences
Profile Fields
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields
Profile Fields > Emerging Fields
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 600 Technology, medicine, applied sciences
600 Technology, medicine, applied sciences > 620 Engineering
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2015 12:01
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2015 10:51
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/19483