Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unraveling the Silky Spider Web

Date:
November 25, 2007
Source:
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Summary:
Web-making spiders employ a host of silk glands to synthesize a variety of silk filaments with different mechanical properties. Although it is widely believed that the aciniform glands are one such silk factory, there has been no hard evidence linking aciniform-derived proteins and silk -- until now. Researchers have now found that the aciniform gland in the black widow spider manufactures and extrudes a previously unidentified protein that is a component of multiple types of silk.

Prey wrap silk contains small diameter fibers that contain AcSp1-like protein molecules.
Credit: Craig Vierra

Web-making spiders employ a host of silk glands to synthesize a variety of silk filaments with different mechanical properties. Although it is widely believed that the aciniform glands are one such silk factory, there has been no hard evidence linking aciniform-derived proteins and silk --until now.

Craig Vierra and colleagues found that the aciniform gland in the Black Widow manufactures and extrudes a previously unidentified protein that is a component of multiple types of silk.

Vierra and colleagues used mass spectroscopy to analyze the protein content of two types of silk: the variety used for egg cases and the one used to wrap up prey. In both types they uncovered a thin protein fiber with a similar structure to another known silk protein called AcSp1. When they examined the expression of this new protein, termed AcSp1-like protein, in different silk glands, they found that mRNA levels were present at 1000-fold higher concentration in the aciniform gland compared to other glands.

The researchers note this finding is intriguing since it shows that aciniform silk fibers are not made for one specific task but rather get integrated into multiple silk types. They plan to further characterize the mechanics of aciniform silk, but they propose that this thin fiber acts like twine to hold thicker silk fibers together.

Journal article: "Aciniform spidroin: A constituent of egg case sacs and wrapping silk fibers from the black widow spider, Latrodectus Hesperus" by Keshav Vasanthavada, Xiaoyi Hu, Arnold M. Falick, Coby LaMattina, Anne M.F. Moore, Patrick R. Jones, Russell Yee, Ryan Reza, Tiffany Tuton, and Craig A. Vierra


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "Unraveling the Silky Spider Web." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071121144937.htm>.
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. (2007, November 25). Unraveling the Silky Spider Web. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071121144937.htm
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "Unraveling the Silky Spider Web." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071121144937.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. 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:
from the past week

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