Spider-Silk Formation

  • ChemPubSoc Europe Logo
  • Author: ChemViews
  • Published Date: 01 August 2010
  • Source / Publisher: Angewandte Chemie International Edition/Wiley-VCH
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
thumbnail image: Spider-Silk Formation

Spider silk is made of fibers whose mechanical properties exceed those of steel once the smaller density of spider silk is taken into account: A spider silk fiber spun around the earth's equator would weigh not more than 500 g.


Harald Schwalbe and co-authors, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Frankfurt, Germany, highlight current research into this remarkable material.
Formed of a polypeptide chain of an AQ repeat sequence, the silk has twelve AQ sequences that are flanked by non-repetitive N- and C-terminal domains. The authors look at how the two non-repeat domains - recently solved by NMR spectroscopy - form a dimeric, highly symmetric structure. This structure ensures the solubility of the protein when stored in the spider’s lumen and contributes to the other remarkable properties of spider silk.


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