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Default Exploring the Backbone Dynamics of Native Spider Silk Proteins in Black Widow Silk Glands with Solution-state NMR Spectroscopy

Exploring the Backbone Dynamics of Native Spider Silk Proteins in Black Widow Silk Glands with Solution-state NMR Spectroscopy

Publication date: Available online 13 June 2014
Source:Polymer

Author(s): Dian Xu , Jeffery L. Yarger , Gregory P. Holland

Spider dragline silk is an outstanding biopolymer with a strength that exceeds steel by weight and a toughness greater than high-performance fibers like Kevlar. For this reason, understanding how a spider converts the gel-like, aqueous protein spinning dope within the major ampullate (MA) gland into a super fiber is of great importance for developing future biomaterials based on spider silk. In this work, the initial state of the silk proteins within Black Widow MA glands was probed with solution-state NMR spectroscopy. 15N relaxation parameters, T1, T2 and 15N-{1H} steady-state NOE were measured for twelve backbone environments at two spectrometer frequencies, 500 and 800 MHz. The NMR relaxation parameters extracted for all twelve environments are consistent with MA silk protein backbone dynamics on the fast sub-nanosecond timescale. Therefore, it is concluded that the repetitive core of spider MA proteins are in an unfolded, highly flexible state in the MA gland.
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