Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dyed In The Silkworm: Researchers Develop Novel Way To Produce Colored Silk

Date:
March 15, 1999
Source:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Summary:
In the March 1 issue of Genes & Development, Hajime Mori and colleagues at the Kyoto Institute of Technology in Kyoto, Japan report that they have developed a technique to produce genetically altered, green fluorescent silk fibers that are spun by the silkworm. The development of an insect system to produce foreign proteins has significant potential applications for silk or other economically important proteins.

In the March 1 issue of Genes & Development, Hajime Mori and colleagues at the Kyoto Institute of Technology in Kyoto, Japan report that they have developed a technique to produce genetically altered, green fluorescent silk fibers that are spun by the silkworm. The development of an insect system to produce foreign proteins has significant potential applications for silk or other economically important proteins.

Related Articles


Silkworms, or more precisely, the larvae of the moth Bombyx mori, spin silk to form a cocoon in which they will develop into moths. Mori's group took an approach in which they infected the silkworm larvae with a genetically engineered insect virus that carried an altered version of a silk protein. They fused the gene encoding the light chain of the fibroin protein -- a major protein component of silk -- to the gene encoding the green fluorescent protein from jellyfish. After the virus infects the larval cells, the virus embeds itself into the silkworm's DNA. Through a process called homologous recombination, the silkworm's natural fibroin gene was replaced with the new altered version. Remarkably, when ultraviolet light is shone on the silk glands of these invected larvae, the glands glow with an eerie green color! The development of this technique opens the door for genetic researchers to engineer silk proteins and reintroduce them into moths that can, in turn, produce genetically altered silk. This approach also has potential economic applications.

Theoretically, such a protein-producing insect could be used to produce important proteins, such as the spider silk protein spidroin, which has potential industrial uses ranging from the fibers in bullet-proof vests to parachutes.

This work was supported by Enhancement of Center of Excellence Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology, Science and Technology Agency, Japan.The first author Masafumi Yamao was supported by the Research Fellowships of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for Young Scientists.

Genes & Development is a top-ranked primary research journal published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. The journal publishes research papers and review articles that cover the spectrum of topics in the life sciences. Genes & Development is on the Web and offers full-text access at http://www.genesdev.org.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a private, nonprofit basic research and educational institution with programs focusing on cancer, neurobiology and plant genetics. Located on the north shore of Long Island, 35 miles from Manhattan, the Laboratory was founded in 1890 as a field station for the study of evolution. It has since developed into a world leader in cancer and molecular biology research. Further information about the Laboratory can be found at http://www.cshl.org.

The reference for the paper is: Masafumi Yamao, Nagakuzu Katayama, Hiroshi Nakazawa, Minoru Yamakawa, Yoshiyuki Hayashi, Saburo Hara, Kaeko Kamei, and Hajime Mori. Gene targeting in the silkworm by use of a baculovirus. Genes & Dev. 13: 511-516.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Dyed In The Silkworm: Researchers Develop Novel Way To Produce Colored Silk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 March 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990315081219.htm>.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. (1999, March 15). Dyed In The Silkworm: Researchers Develop Novel Way To Produce Colored Silk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990315081219.htm
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Dyed In The Silkworm: Researchers Develop Novel Way To Produce Colored Silk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990315081219.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins