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A conserved spider silk domain acts as a molecular switch that controls fibre assembly

Title data

Hagn, Franz ; Eisoldt, Lukas ; Hardy, John G. ; Vendrely, Charlotte ; Coles, Murray ; Scheibel, Thomas ; Kessler, Horst:
A conserved spider silk domain acts as a molecular switch that controls fibre assembly.
In: Nature. Vol. 465 (2010) Issue 7295 . - pp. 239-242.
ISSN 1476-4687

Official URL: Volltext

Abstract in another language

A huge variety of proteins are able to form fibrillar structures1, especially at high protein concentrations. Hence, it is surprising that spider silk proteins can be stored in a soluble form at high concentrations and transformed into extremely stable fibres on demand2,3. Silk proteins are reminiscent of amphiphilic block copolymers containing stretches of polyalanine and glycine-rich polar elements forming a repetitive core flanked by highly conserved non-repetitive amino-terminal4,5 and carboxy-terminal6 domains. The N-terminal domain comprises a secretion signal,but further functions remain unassigned. The C-terminal domain was implicated in the control of solubility and fibre formation7 initiated by changes in ionic composition8,9 and mechanical stimuli known to align the repetitive sequence elements and promote b-sheet formation10–14. However, despite recent structural data15, little is knownabout this remarkable behaviour in molecular detail.Here we present the solution structure of the C-terminal domain of a spider dragline silk protein and provide evidence that the structural state of this domain is essential for controlled switching between the storage and assembly forms of silk proteins. In addition,the C-terminal domain also has a role in the alignment of secondary structural features formed by the repetitive elements in the backbone of spider silk proteins, which is known to be important for the mechanical properties of the fibre.

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 > 620 Engineering
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2015 08:49
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2023 12:38