Fibroin allergy. IgE mediated hypersensitivity to silk suture materials.
Delayed-type hypersensitivity with granulomatous lesions to silk sutures is rather rare. Yet, braided silk sutures often act as a non-immunologic foreign-body and cause a granulomatous inflammatory reaction years after surgery. We report here a case of recurrent granulomas with remarkable infiltration of eosinophils that may have resulted from an IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reaction to silk fibroin, a component of the braided silk suture. Under normal circumstances exposure to fibroin is rather rare. Therefore, the present patient may have developed this reaction to the silk sutures used in a previous surgery. (+info)
The mechanical design of spider silks: from fibroin sequence to mechanical function.
Spiders produce a variety of silks, and the cloning of genes for silk fibroins reveals a clear link between protein sequence and structure-property relationships. The fibroins produced in the spider's major ampullate (MA) gland, which forms the dragline and web frame, contain multiple repeats of motifs that include an 8-10 residue long poly-alanine block and a 24-35 residue long glycine-rich block. When fibroins are spun into fibres, the poly-alanine blocks form (&bgr;)-sheet crystals that crosslink the fibroins into a polymer network with great stiffness, strength and toughness. As illustrated by a comparison of MA silks from Araneus diadematus and Nephila clavipes, variation in fibroin sequence and properties between spider species provides the opportunity to investigate the design of these remarkable biomaterials. (+info)
Conformational transitions in model silk peptides.
Protein structural transitions and beta-sheet formation are a common problem both in vivo and in vitro and are of critical relevance in disparate areas such as protein processing and beta-amyloid and prion behavior. Silks provide a "databank" of well-characterized polymorphic sequences, acting as a window onto structural transitions. Peptides with conformationally polymorphic silk-like sequences, expected to exhibit an intractable beta-sheet form, were characterized using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, circular dichroism, and electron diffraction. Polymorphs resembling the silk I, silk II (beta-sheet), and silk III (threefold polyglycine II-like helix) crystal structures were identified for the peptide fibroin C (GAGAGS repetitive sequence). Two peptides based on silk amorphous sequences, fibroin A (GAGAGY) and fibroin V (GDVGGAGATGGS), crystallized as silk I under most conditions. Methanol treatment of fibroin A resulted in a gradual transition from silk I to silk II, with an intermediate state involving a high proportion of beta-turns. Attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy has been used to observe conformational changes as the peptides adsorb from solution onto a hydrophobic surface. Fibroin C has a beta-strand structure in solution but adopts a silk I-like structure upon adsorption, which when dried on the ZnSe crystal contains silk III crystallites. (+info)
Fine organization of Bombyx mori fibroin heavy chain gene.
The complete sequence of the Bombyx mori fibroin gene has been determined by means of combining a shotgun sequencing strategy with physical map-based sequencing procedures. It consists of two exons (67 and 15 750 bp, respectively) and one intron (971 bp). The fibroin coding sequence presents a spectacular organization, with a highly repetitive and G-rich (approximately 45%) core flanked by non-repetitive 5' and 3' ends. This repetitive core is composed of alternate arrays of 12 repetitive and 11 amorphous domains. The sequences of the amorphous domains are evolutionarily conserved and the repetitive domains differ from each other in length by a variety of tandem repeats of subdomains of approximately 208 bp which are reminiscent of the repetitive nucleosome organization. A typical composition of a subdomain is a cluster of repetitive units, Ua, followed by a cluster of units, Ub, (with a Ua:Ub ratio of 2:1) flanked by conserved boundary elements at the 3' end. Moreover some repeats are also perfectly conserved at the peptide level indicating that the evolutionary pressure is not identical along the sequence. A tentative model for the constitution and evolution of this unusual gene is discussed. (+info)
The fine structure of silk fibroin.
The fine structure of Bombyx mori silk fibroin was investigated by electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction techniques. Examination of silk fibers fragmented with ultrasonic radiation and negatively stained revealed the presence of ribbon-like filaments of well-defined lateral dimensions. Analysis of the breadths of the equatorial reflections in the X-ray diffraction pattern of fibroin yielded similar dimensions for the lateral extent of the crystallites. It is concluded that the crystalline material in B. mori silk fibroin is in the form of ribbon-like filaments of considerable length parallel to the fiber axis and of lateral dimensions approximately 20 x 60 A. (+info)
Silk fibroin of Bombyx mori is secreted, assembling a high molecular mass elementary unit consisting of H-chain, L-chain, and P25, with a 6:6:1 molar ratio.
Silk fibroin produced by the silkworm Bombyx mori consists of a heavy chain, a light chain, and a glycoprotein, P25. The heavy and light chains are linked by a disulfide bond, and P25 associates with disulfide-linked heavy and light chains by noncovalent interactions. Quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay revealed that molar ratios of the heavy chain, light chain, and P25 were 6:6:1, both in cocoons and in fibroin secreted into the lumen of posterior silk gland. Trace amounts of fibroin produced by three "naked pupa" mutants of B. mori lacked the light chain, but the molar ratio of heavy chain and P25 was also 6:1. Gel filtration chromatography and sedimentation equilibrium analysis demonstrated that a large protein complex of approximately 2.3 MDa, designated an elementary unit of fibroin having 6:6:1 molar ratios of the heavy chain, light chain, and P25, existed in posterior silk gland cells. Inaccessibility of biotinylated concanavalin A to the native elementary unit and partial dissociation of the elementary unit after incubation with excess N-glycosidase F or endoglycosidase H suggest that a single molecule of P25 is located internally and plays an important role in maintaining integrity of the complex. (+info)
Sulfated fibroin, a novel sulfated peptide derived from silk, inhibits human immunodeficiency virus replication in vitro.
We prepared two kinds of sulfated silk fibroins, SclFib30 and SclFib31, which contain different amounts of sulfate. These sulfated silk fibroins have anti-HIV-1 activity in vitro, apparently due to interference with the adsorption of virus particles to CD4+ cells, and completely blocked virus binding to the cells at a concentration of 100 microg/ml. Sulfated fibroins also abolished cell-to-cell infection-induced syncytium formation upon cocultivation of MOLT-4 and MOLT-4/HIV-IIIB cells, suggesting that they would interfere with gp120 and prevent the formation of gp120/CD4 complex. Silk is used in biomaterials such as surgical sutures and is believed to be a safe material for humans. In accordance with low anticoagulant activity and high anti-HIV-1 activity against both X4 HIV-1 and R5 HIV-1 strains, sulfated silk fibroins have potential as antiviral material such for a vaginal anti-HIV formulation. (+info)
Evidence for diet effects on the composition of silk proteins produced by spiders.
Silks are highly expressed, secreted proteins that represent a substantial metabolic cost to the insects and spiders that produce them. Female spiders in the superfamily Araneoidea (the orb-spinning spiders and their close relatives) spin six different kinds of silk (three fibroins and three fibrous protein glues) that differ in amino acid content and protein structure. In addition to this diversity in silks produced by different glands, we found that individual spiders of the same species can spin dragline silks (drawn from the spider's ampullate gland) that vary in content as well. Freely foraging ARGIOPE: argentata (Araneae: Araneoidea), collected from 13 Caribbean islands, produced dragline silk that showed an inverse relationship between the amount of serine and glycine they contained. X-ray microdiffraction of the silks localized these differences to the amorphous regions of the protein that are thought to lend silks their elasticity. The crystalline regions of the proteins, which lend silks their strength, were unaffected. Laboratory experiments with ARGIOPE: keyserlingi suggested that variation in silk composition reflects the type of prey the spiders were fed but not the total amount of prey they received. Hence, it may be that the amino acid content (and perhaps the mechanical properties) of dragline silk spun by ARGIOPE: directly reflect the spiders' diet. The ability to vary silk composition and, possibly, function is particularly important for organisms that disperse broadly, such as Argiope, and that occupy diverse habitats with diverse populations of prey. (+info)