A unique material based on cobweb proteins is being created by Russian researchers of the State Research Center of Russian Federation GosNIIgentics, Scientific Research Center “Coal-Chemical Fiber”, State Research Center of Applied Microbiology in cooperation with their colleagues from Michigan University with support form the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) (project 1033.2).
The spiders hunting net is built from several different proteins. Researchers are mostly interested in the proteins of cobweb framework filaments, which make them extremely strong (the rupture strength of these filaments is several times higher than that of steel) and elastic at the same time. Cobweb framework filaments consist of two proteins: spidroin-1 and spidroin-2. They differ slightly in their properties: spidroin-1 is considered to be stronger, and spidroin-2 – more elastic. Together they account for unique properties of spiders web. Such material would prove useful for multiple purposes, but fist of all – for medicine: as suture material, artificial ligaments and tendons, films for healing wounds and burns, etc.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to synthesize these proteins chemically in a laboratory – they are too complicated. However, it is possible to get the protein by synthesizing a respective gene and making it work within the composition of some microorganism. The scientists have chosen this particular biotechnological way.
Sergey Komarov | alfa
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