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Forskningsartikel2021Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

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


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.

Publicerad i

Communications Materials
2021, Volym: 2, artikelnummer: 43