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.

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 October 20, 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 October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
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