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Biomimetic spinning of artificial spider silk from a chimeric minispidroin


Herein we present a chimeric recombinant spider silk protein (spidroin) whose aqueous solubility equals that of native spider silk dope and a spinning device that is based solely on aqueous buffers, shear forces and lowered pH. The process recapitulates the complex molecular mechanisms that dictate native spider silk spinning and is highly efficient; spidroin from one liter of bacterial shake-flask culture is enough to spin a kilometer of the hitherto toughest as-spun artificial spider silk fiber.

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Figure 1: Biomimetic spinning of artificial spider silk.
Figure 2: pH-dependent assembly and spinning of NT2RepCT.

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We thank L. Holm, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences for help with photography, as well as S. Takeuchi and A. Hsiao at the University of Tokyo for introduction into the use of pulled glass capillaries for fiber formation. We also thank F. Palm, Uppsala University, for lending us a microelectrode puller. Q.J. was supported by a stipend from the Chinese Scholarship Council. The Swedish Research Council (grants no. 2014-2408 and 2014-10371 to A.R. and J.J.), CIMED (to J.J.) and FORMAS (2015-629 to A.R.) supported this work.

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Authors and Affiliations



M.A., Q.J., A.A., X.-Y.L., M.L., and P.P. performed the experiments; A.R., J.J., G.R.P., Q.M., C.V.R., M.T., H.H. supplied equipment and expertise; A.R. and J.J. conceived and designed the study; M.A., A.R. and J.J. wrote the manuscript. All authors edited the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Jan Johansson or Anna Rising.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Text and Figures

Supplementary Results, Supplementary Tables 1 and 2 and Supplementary Figures 1–7. (PDF 819 kb)

Supplementary Table

Source data for Supplementary Figure 7. (XLSX 135 kb)

Spinning NT2RepCT in a biomimetic spinning device. Fibers form instantaneously as the highly concentrated spinning dope hits the pH 5.0 aqueous buffer. (MOV 23001 kb)

As-spun NT2RepCT fibers can be rolled up in a dry state on a frame. (MOV 11953 kb)

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Andersson, M., Jia, Q., Abella, A. et al. Biomimetic spinning of artificial spider silk from a chimeric minispidroin. Nat Chem Biol 13, 262–264 (2017).

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