Invited review: The coiled coil silk of bees, ants, and hornets

Sutherland, Tara D., Weisman, Sarah, Walker, Andrew A. and Mudie, Stephen T. (2012) Invited review: The coiled coil silk of bees, ants, and hornets. Biopolymers, 97 6: 446-454. doi:10.1002/bip.21702

Author Sutherland, Tara D.
Weisman, Sarah
Walker, Andrew A.
Mudie, Stephen T.
Title Invited review: The coiled coil silk of bees, ants, and hornets
Journal name Biopolymers   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3525
Publication date 2012
Year available 2012
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1002/bip.21702
Open Access Status
Volume 97
Issue 6
Start page 446
End page 454
Total pages 9
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ United States
Publisher John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Subject 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
1304 Biophysics
2502 Biomaterials
1605 Policy and Administration
Abstract In this article, we review current knowledge about the silk produced by the larvae of bees, ants, and hornets [Apoidea and Vespoidea: Hymenoptera]. Different species use the silk either alone or in composites for a variety of purposes including mechanical reinforcement, thermal regulation, or humidification. The characteristic molecular structure of this silk is α-helical proteins assembled into tetrameric coiled coils. Gene sequences from seven species are available, and each species possesses a copy of each of four related silk genes that encode proteins predicted to form coiled coils. The proteins are ordered at multiple length scales within the labial gland of the final larval instar before spinning. The insects control the morphology of the silk during spinning to produce either fibers or sheets. The silk proteins are small and non repetitive and have been produced artificially at high levels by fermentation in E. coli. The artificial silk proteins can be fabricated into materials with structural and mechanical properties similar to those of native silks.
Keyword Coiled coil
Labial Gland
Recombinant Proteins
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collection: Institute for Molecular Bioscience - Publications
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