This article was originally published online as an accepted preprint. The “Published Online” date corresponds to the preprint version. You can request a copy of the preprint by emailing the Biopolymers editorial office at email@example.com
Silk tape nanostructure and silk gland anatomy of trichoptera †
Article first published online: 22 SEP 2011
Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Special Issue: Silks: Properties and Uses of Natural and Designed Variants
Volume 97, Issue 6, pages 432–445, June 2012
How to Cite
Ashton, N. N., Taggart, D. S. and Stewart, R. J. (2012), Silk tape nanostructure and silk gland anatomy of trichoptera . Biopolymers, 97: 432–445. doi: 10.1002/bip.21720
- Issue published online: 20 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 22 SEP 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 13 SEP 2011
- Manuscript Received: 27 JUL 2011
- Life Sciences Division of the U.S. Army Research Office. Grant Number: W911NF1010132
- complex coacervates;
- adhesive tape;
Caddisflys (order Trichoptera) construct elaborate protective shelters and food harvesting nets with underwater adhesive silk. The silk fiber resembles a nanostructured tape composed of thousands of nanofibrils (∼ 120 nm) oriented with the major axis of the fiber, which in turn are composed of spherical subunits. Weaker lateral interactions between nanofibrils allow the fiber to conform to surface topography and increase contact area. Highly phosphorylated (pSX)4 motifs in H-fibroin blocks of positively charged basic residues are conserved across all three suborders of Trichoptera. Electrostatic interactions between the oppositely charged motifs could drive liquid–liquid phase separation of silk fiber precursors into a complex coacervates mesophase. Accessibility of phosphoserine to an anti-phosphoserine antibody is lower in the lumen of the silk gland storage region compared to the nascent fiber formed in the anterior conducting channel. The phosphorylated motifs may serve as a marker for the structural reorganization of the silk precursor mesophase into strongly refringent fibers. The structural change occurring at the transition into the conducting channel makes this region of special interest. Fiber formation from polyampholytic silk proteins in Trichoptera may suggest a new approach to create synthetic silk analogs from water-soluble precursors. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 97: 432–445, 2012.