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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Tyrosine residues mediate supercontraction in biomimetic spider silk

Greco, Gabriele; Arndt, Tina; Schmuck, Benjamin; Francis, Juanita; Bäcklund, Fredrik G.; Shilkova, Olga; Barth, Andreas; Gonska, Nathalie; Seisenbaeva, Gulaim; Kessler, Vadim; Johansson, Jan; Pugno, Nicola M.; Rising, Anna;

Abstract

Water and humidity severely affect the material properties of spider major ampullate silk, causing the fiber to become plasticized, contract, swell and undergo torsion. Several amino acid residue types have been proposed to be involved in this process, but the complex composition of the native fiber complicates detailed investigations. Here, we observe supercontraction in biomimetically produced artificial spider silk fibers composed of defined proteins. We found experimental evidence that proline is not the sole residue responsible for supercontraction and that tyrosine residues in the amorphous regions of the silk fiber play an important role. Furthermore, we show that the response of artificial silk fibers to humidity can be tuned, which is important for the development of materials for applications in wet environments, eg producing water resistant fibers with maximal strain at break and toughness modulus.

Published in

Communications Materials

2021, volume: 2, article number: 43

Authors' information

Greco, Gabriele
University of Trento
Arndt, Tina
Karolinska Institutet
Karolinska Institute
Francis, Juanita
Karolinska Institutet
Bäcklund, Fredrik G.
Karolinska Institute
Shilkova, Olga
Karolinska Institute
Barth, Andreas
Stockholm University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Molecular Sciences
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Molecular Sciences
Johansson, Jan
Karolinska Institutet
Pugno, Nicola M.
University of Trento
Karolinska Institute
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB)

UKÄ Subject classification

Biomaterials Science
Materials Chemistry
Bio Materials

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s43246-021-00147-w

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/114644