Skip to main content
SLU:s publikationsdatabas (SLUpub)

Forskningsartikel2014Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Sequential pH-driven dimerization and stabilization of the N-terminal domain enables rapid spider silk formation

Kronqvist, Nina; Otikovs, Martins; Chmyrov, Volodymyr; Chen, Gefei; Andersson, Marlene; Nordling, Kerstin; Landreh, Michael; Sarr, Medoune; Jörnvall, Hans; Wennmalm, Stefan; Widengren, Jerker; Meng, Qing; Rising, Anna; Otzen, Daniel; Knight, Stefan D.; Johansson, Jan


The mechanisms controlling the conversion of spider silk proteins into insoluble fibres, which happens in a fraction of a second and in a defined region of the silk glands, are still unresolved. The N-terminal domain changes conformation and forms a homodimer when pH is lowered from 7 to 6; however, the molecular details still remain to be determined. Here we investigate site-directed mutants of the N-terminal domain from Euprosthenops australis major ampullate spidroin 1 and find that the charged residues D40, R60 and K65 mediate intersubunit electrostatic interactions. Protonation of E79 and E119 is required for structural conversions of the subunits into a dimer conformation, and subsequent protonation of E84 around pH 5.7 leads to the formation of a fully stable dimer. These residues are highly conserved, indicating that the now proposed three-step mechanism prevents premature aggregation of spidroins and enables fast formation of spider silk fibres in general.

Publicerad i

Nature Communications
2014, Volym: 5Utgivare: NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP