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Conservation of a pH-sensitive structure in the C-terminal region of spider silk extends across the entire silk gene family

Strickland, Michelle; Tudorica, Victor; Řezáč, Milan; Thomas, Neil R.; Goodacre, Sara L.

Authors

Michelle Strickland

Victor Tudorica

Milan Řezáč

NEIL THOMAS neil.thomas@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

SARA GOODACRE sara.goodacre@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Genetics



Abstract

Spiders produce multiple silks with different physical properties that allow them to occupy a diverse range of ecological niches, including the underwater environment. Despite this functional diversity, past molecular analyses show a high degree of amino acid sequence similarity between C-terminal regions of silk genes that appear to be independent of the physical properties of the resulting silks; instead, this domain is crucial to the formation of silk fibres. Here we present an analysis of the C-terminal domain of all known types of spider silk and include silk sequences from the spider Argyroneta aquatica, which spins the majority of its silk underwater. Our work indicates that spiders have retained a highly conserved mechanism of silk assembly, despite the extraordinary diversification of species, silk types and applications of silk over 350 million years. Sequence analysis of the silk C-terminal domain across the entire gene family shows the conservation of two uncommon amino acids that are implicated in the formation of a salt bridge, a functional bond essential to protein assembly. This conservation extends to the novel sequences isolated from A. aquatica. This finding is relevant to research regarding the artificial synthesis of spider silk, suggesting that synthesis of all silk types will be possible using a single process.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2018-06
Journal Heredity
Print ISSN 0018-067X
Electronic ISSN 1365-2540
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 120
Issue 6
Pages 574-580
APA6 Citation Strickland, M., Tudorica, V., Řezáč, M., Thomas, N. R., & Goodacre, S. L. (2018). Conservation of a pH-sensitive structure in the C-terminal region of spider silk extends across the entire silk gene family. Heredity, 120(6), 574-580. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41437-018-0050-9
DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/s41437-018-0050-9
Keywords Spider silk, Synthetic silk, pH-bridge, Argyroneta aquatica
Publisher URL https://www.nature.com/articles/s41437-018-0050-9
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf

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Conservation of a pH-sensitive structure in the C-terminal region of spider silk extends across the entire silk gene family (1.2 Mb)
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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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