Building a database of spider silk’s structure and physical property

October 13, 2022

Contributing to creating materials for artificial spider silk

The international collaborative research group, including the RIKEN CSRS, Kyoto University, and Keio University, collected silk from more than 1,000 species of spiders from all over the world and has built a comprehensive database of the structures of spider silk proteins and silk’s physical properties.

The collaborative group phylogenetically classified spiders collected from various regions of the world and analyzed RNAs from spider cells to obtain amino acid sequences of spider silk proteins. They gathered a dragline silk fiber from each spider and measured its 12 physical properties, including tensile strength, extensibility, and toughness. And then, the researchers linked those properties to the structural information, such as amino acid sequences, to create a database. They also identified the amino acid motifs contributing to the toughness based on the association between spider silk proteins' structures and physical properties.

These findings would contribute to creating materials for artificial spider silk with various material properties designed rationally based on the information of natural spider silk. The data is openly accessible from the Spider Silkome Database.

Original article
Science Advances doi:10.1126/sciadv.abo6043
K. Arakawa, N. Kono, A. D. Malay, A. Tateishi, N. Ifuku, H. Masunaga, R. Sato, K. Tsuchiya, R. Ohtoshi, D. Pedrazzoli, A. Shinohara, Y. Ito, H. Nakamura, A. Tanikawa, Y. Suzuki, T. Ichikawa, S. Fujita, M. Fujiwara, M. Tomita, S. J. Blamires, J. Chuah, H. Craig, C. P. Foong, G. Greco, J. Guan, C. Holland, D. L. Kaplan, K. Sudesh, B. B. Mandal, Y. Norma-Rashid, N. A. Oktaviani, R. C. Preda, N. M. Pugno, R. Rajkhowa, X. Wang, K. Yazawa, Z. Zheng, K. Numata,
"1000 spider silkomes: linking sequences to silk mechanical properties".
Keiji Numata; Team Leader
Malay Ali Andres; Senior Scientist
Biomacromolecules Research Team