Spiders often produce multiple types of silk, each with unique properties suiting them to certain tasks and biological functions. Orb-weaver spiders can generate more than six types of silk fibroins, with pyriform silk used to form attachment discs, adhering silk to other surfaces and substances. The unique higher-order structuring of silk fibroins has been cited as the source of their remarkable biomechanical properties. Even so, only one full-length gene sequence of pyriform silk protein 1 (PySp1) from Argiopeargentata
has been reported, and studies on the mechanical properties of natural pyriform silk fibers are also lacking. To better understand the PySp1 family of genes, we used long-distance PCR (LD-PCR) to determine the sequence of PySp1 in the Araneusventricosus
species. This full-length PySp1 gene is 11,931 bp in length, encoding for 3976 amino acids residues in non-repetitive N- and C-terminal domains with a central largely repetitive region made up of sixteen remarkably homogeneous units. This was similar to the previously reported A. argentata
PySp1 sequence, with PySp1 from A. ventricosus
also having a long repetitive N-linker that bridges the N-terminal and repetitive regions. Predictions of secondary structure and hydrophobicity of A. ventricosus
PySp1 showed the pyriform silk fiber’s functional properties. The amino acid compositions of PySp1 is obviously distinct from other spidroins. Our sequence makes an important contribution to understand pyriform silk protein structure and also provides a new template for recombinant pyriform silk proteins with attractive properties.
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