Fibrous proteins in nature fulfill a wide variety of functions in different structures ranging from cellular scaffolds to very resilient structures like tendons and even extra-corporal fibers such as silks in spider webs or silkworm cocoons. Despite their different origins and sequence varieties many of these fibrous proteins share a common building principle: they consist of a large repetitive core domain flanked by relatively small non-repetitive terminal domains. Amongst protein fibers, spider dragline silk shows prominent mechanical properties that exceed those of man-made fibers like Kevlar. Spider silk fibers assemble in a spinning process allowing the transformation from an aqueous solution into a solid fiber within milliseconds. Here, we highlight the role of the non-repetitive terminal domains of spider dragline silk proteins during storage in the gland and initiation of the fiber assembly process. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 97: 355–361, 2012.