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Open AccessCommunication
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(11), 1955; doi:10.3390/ijms17111955

Importance of Heat and Pressure for Solubilization of Recombinant Spider Silk Proteins in Aqueous Solution

1
Department of Biology, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84341, USA
2
Department of Biological Engineering, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84341, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Andreas Taubert and John G. Hardy
Received: 12 July 2016 / Revised: 11 November 2016 / Accepted: 18 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silk-Based Materials: From Production to Characterization)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1876 KB, uploaded 23 November 2016]   |  

Abstract

The production of recombinant spider silk proteins continues to be a key area of interest for a number of research groups. Several key obstacles exist in their production as well as in their formulation into useable products. The original reported method to solubilize recombinant spider silk proteins (rSSp) in an aqueous solution involved using microwaves to quickly generate heat and pressure inside of a sealed vial containing rSSp and water. Fibers produced from this system are remarkable in their mechanical ability and demonstrate the ability to be stretched and recover 100 times. The microwave method dissolves the rSSPs with dissolution time increasing with higher molecular weight constructs, increasing concentration of rSSPs, protein type, and salt concentration. It has proven successful in solvating a number of different rSSPs including native-like sequences (MaSp1, MaSp2, piriform, and aggregate) as well as chimeric sequences (FlAS) in varied concentrations that have been spun into fibers and formed into films, foams, sponges, gels, coatings, macro and micro spheres and adhesives. The system is effective but inherently unpredictable and difficult to control. Provided that the materials that can be generated from this method of dissolution are impressive, an alternative means of applying heat and pressure that is controllable and predictable has been developed. Results indicate that there are combinations of heat and pressure (135 °C and 140 psi) that result in maximal dissolution without degrading the recombinant MaSp2 protein tested, and that heat and pressure are the key elements to the method of dissolution. View Full-Text
Keywords: recombinant spider silk proteins; fibers; aqueous; solvation; heat; pressure recombinant spider silk proteins; fibers; aqueous; solvation; heat; pressure
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jones, J.A.; Harris, T.I.; Oliveira, P.F.; Bell, B.E.; Alhabib, A.; Lewis, R.V. Importance of Heat and Pressure for Solubilization of Recombinant Spider Silk Proteins in Aqueous Solution. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 1955.

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