Next Article in Journal
Intracranial Thrombus Morphology and Composition Undergoes Time-Dependent Changes in Acute Ischemic Stroke: A CT Densitometry Study
Next Article in Special Issue
Natural Non-Mulberry Silk Nanoparticles for Potential-Controlled Drug Release
Previous Article in Journal
Dual Function of Glucosamine in Gelatin/Hyaluronic Acid Cryogel to Modulate Scaffold Mechanical Properties and to Maintain Chondrogenic Phenotype for Cartilage Tissue Engineering
Previous Article in Special Issue
Fabrication and Optimization of Stable, Optically Transparent, and Reusable pH-Responsive Silk Membranes
Article Menu
Issue 11 (November) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessCommunication
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(11), 1955;

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

Department of Biology, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84341, USA
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)
Full-Text   |   PDF [1876 KB, uploaded 23 November 2016]   |  


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

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

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.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Int. J. Mol. Sci. EISSN 1422-0067 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top