Summary: Fibrous proteins secreted by INSECTS and SPIDERS. Generally, the term refers to silkworm fibroin secreted by the silk gland cells of SILKWORMS, Bombyx mori. Spider fibroins are called spidroins or dragline silk fibroins.

Top Publications

  1. Preda R, Leisk G, Omenetto F, Kaplan D. Bioengineered silk proteins to control cell and tissue functions. Methods Mol Biol. 2013;996:19-41 pubmed publisher
  2. Rising A, Widhe M, Johansson J, Hedhammar M. Spider silk proteins: recent advances in recombinant production, structure-function relationships and biomedical applications. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2011;68:169-84 pubmed publisher
    ..Biocompatibility studies in cell culture or in vivo of native and recombinant spider silk indicate that they are surprisingly well tolerated, suggesting that recombinant spider silk has potential for biomedical applications. ..
  3. Zhou F, Xue Z, Wang J. Antihypertensive effects of silk fibroin hydrolysate by alcalase and purification of an ACE inhibitory dipeptide. J Agric Food Chem. 2010;58:6735-40 pubmed publisher
    ..2 Da and Gly-Tyr, respectively, by LC-ESI/MS. The results of this study suggest that silk fibroin byproducts have the possibility to become an effective source for ACE inhibitory peptides. ..
  4. Pritchard E, Kaplan D. Silk fibroin biomaterials for controlled release drug delivery. Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2011;8:797-811 pubmed publisher
  5. Eisoldt L, Thamm C, Scheibel T. Review the role of terminal domains during storage and assembly of spider silk proteins. Biopolymers. 2012;97:355-61 pubmed publisher
    ..Here, we highlight the role of the non-repetitive terminal domains of spider dragline silk proteins during storage in the gland and initiation of the fiber assembly process. ..
  6. Gnesa E, Hsia Y, Yarger J, Weber W, Lin Cereghino J, Lin Cereghino G, et al. Conserved C-terminal domain of spider tubuliform spidroin 1 contributes to extensibility in synthetic fibers. Biomacromolecules. 2012;13:304-12 pubmed publisher
  7. Bhardwaj N, Kundu S. Chondrogenic differentiation of rat MSCs on porous scaffolds of silk fibroin/chitosan blends. Biomaterials. 2012;33:2848-57 pubmed publisher
    ..The results represent silk fibroin/chitosan blended 3D scaffolds as suitable scaffold for mesenchymal stem cells-based cartilage repair...
  8. Starrett J, Garb J, Kuelbs A, Azubuike U, Hayashi C. Early events in the evolution of spider silk genes. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e38084 pubmed publisher
    ..We use the spidroin gene tree to reconstruct the evolution of amino acid compositions of spidroins that perform different ecological functions...
  9. Ayoub N, Garb J, Kuelbs A, Hayashi C. Ancient properties of spider silks revealed by the complete gene sequence of the prey-wrapping silk protein (AcSp1). Mol Biol Evol. 2013;30:589-601 pubmed publisher
    ..With repeats that are dramatically different in length and amino acid composition from dragline spidroins, our L. hesperus AcSp1 expands the knowledge base for developing silk-based biomimetic technologies...

More Information


  1. Miyamoto S, Koyanagi R, Nakazawa Y, Nagano A, Abiko Y, Inada M, et al. Bombyx mori silk fibroin scaffolds for bone regeneration studied by bone differentiation experiment. J Biosci Bioeng. 2013;115:575-8 pubmed publisher
    ..We provide evidence for the first time, that SF not only activate early differentiation markers of osteoblasts, but also activate expression of the late differentiation markers...
  2. Teh T, Toh S, Goh J. Aligned fibrous scaffolds for enhanced mechanoresponse and tenogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells. Tissue Eng Part A. 2013;19:1360-72 pubmed publisher
    ..We thus propose that the aligned hybrid SF scaffold facilitates mechanoactivity and tenogenic differentiation of MSCs by intensifying the positive effects of mechanical stimulation in a 3D environment. ..
  3. Kundu B, Rajkhowa R, Kundu S, Wang X. Silk fibroin biomaterials for tissue regenerations. Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2013;65:457-70 pubmed publisher
    ..The advantages and limitations of silk systems as scaffolding materials in the context of biocompatibility, biodegradability and tissue specific requirements are also critically reviewed...
  4. Garb J, Ayoub N, Hayashi C. Untangling spider silk evolution with spidroin terminal domains. BMC Evol Biol. 2010;10:243 pubmed publisher
  5. Rockwood D, Preda R, Yucel T, Wang X, Lovett M, Kaplan D. Materials fabrication from Bombyx mori silk fibroin. Nat Protoc. 2011;6:1612-31 pubmed publisher
    ..These materials can be used directly as biomaterials for implants, as scaffolding in tissue engineering and in vitro disease models, as well as for drug delivery. ..
  6. Lefevre T, Boudreault S, Cloutier C, Pézolet M. Diversity of molecular transformations involved in the formation of spider silks. J Mol Biol. 2011;405:238-53 pubmed publisher
    ..By contrast, the folded proteins have neither submotifs nor aggregation-prone sequence regions. Taken together, the Raman data show a remarkable diversity of molecular transformations occurring upon spinning. ..
  7. Mathur A, Gupta V. Silk fibroin-derived nanoparticles for biomedical applications. Nanomedicine (Lond). 2010;5:807-20 pubmed publisher
    ..The mechanism of targeting for the nanoparticle is based on the silk fibroin composition, beta-sheet structure and self-assembly into beta-barrels. ..
  8. Blamires S, Wu C, Tso I. Variation in protein intake induces variation in spider silk expression. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e31626 pubmed publisher
    ..Factors other than MaSp expression, such as the expression of spidroin-like orthologues, may impact on silk amino acid composition and spinning and glandular processes may impact mechanics. ..
  9. Zhang K, Qian Y, Wang H, Fan L, Huang C, Mo X. Electrospun silk fibroin-hydroxybutyl chitosan nanofibrous scaffolds to biomimic extracellular matrix. J Biomater Sci Polym Ed. 2011;22:1069-82 pubmed publisher
    ..Cell viability studies demonstrated that SF/HBC nanofibrous scaffolds presented good cellular compatibility. Thus, electrospun SF/HBC blended nanofibres may provide an ideal biomimic tissue-engineering scaffold. ..
  10. Jenkins J, Creager M, Butler E, Lewis R, Yarger J, Holland G. Solid-state NMR evidence for elastin-like beta-turn structure in spider dragline silk. Chem Commun (Camb). 2010;46:6714-6 pubmed publisher
  11. Geurts P, Zhao L, Hsia Y, Gnesa E, Tang S, Jeffery F, et al. Synthetic spider silk fibers spun from Pyriform Spidroin 2, a glue silk protein discovered in orb-weaving spider attachment discs. Biomacromolecules. 2010;11:3495-503 pubmed publisher
  12. Pérez Rigueiro J, Plaza G, Torres F, Hijar A, Hayashi C, Perea G, et al. Supercontraction of dragline silk spun by lynx spiders (Oxyopidae). Int J Biol Macromol. 2010;46:555-7 pubmed publisher
    ..In this regard, the presence of particular subrepeats--in orb-web and non-orb-web building spiders--adds new clues for the understanding of supercontraction and associated effects. ..
  13. Chinali A, Vater W, Rudakoff B, Sponner A, Unger E, Grosse F, et al. Containment of extended length polymorphisms in silk proteins. J Mol Evol. 2010;70:325-38 pubmed publisher
    ..Such mechanisms are shared to a lesser extent by the second major ampullate spidroin gene. ..
  14. Riccio M, Maraldi T, Pisciotta A, La Sala G, Ferrari A, Bruzzesi G, et al. Fibroin scaffold repairs critical-size bone defects in vivo supported by human amniotic fluid and dental pulp stem cells. Tissue Eng Part A. 2012;18:1006-13 pubmed publisher
  15. Patra C, Talukdar S, Novoyatleva T, Velagala S, Mühlfeld C, Kundu B, et al. Silk protein fibroin from Antheraea mylitta for cardiac tissue engineering. Biomaterials. 2012;33:2673-80 pubmed publisher
    ..3D scaffolds can efficiently be loaded with cardiomyocytes resulting in contractile patches. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that A. mylitta silk fibroin 3D scaffolds are suitable for the engineering of cardiac patches. ..
  16. Lovett M, Eng G, Kluge J, Cannizzaro C, Vunjak Novakovic G, Kaplan D. Tubular silk scaffolds for small diameter vascular grafts. Organogenesis. 2010;6:217-24 pubmed publisher
    ..These results demonstrate the feasibility of using silk fibroin as a vascular graft material and some advantages of silk tubes over the currently used synthetic grafts. ..
  17. Yu L, Hu X, Kaplan D, Cebe P. Dielectric relaxation spectroscopy of hydrated and dehydrated silk fibroin cast from aqueous solution. Biomacromolecules. 2010;11:2766-75 pubmed publisher
    ..During crystallization, ?-helices can be transformed into antiparallel ?-sheets, which possess no dipole moment, causing the decreasing trend in the dielectric parameters as crystallization proceeds. ..
  18. Park J, Nam Y, Park S, Kim J, Choe N, Lee J, et al. Silk fibroin has a protective effect against high glucose induced apoptosis in HIT-T15 cells. J Biochem Mol Toxicol. 2011;25:238-43 pubmed publisher
    ..Taken together, these results suggest that SF could serve as a potential therapeutic agent to treat the hyperglycemia-induced death of pancreatic ?-cells. ..
  19. Brooks A, Stricker S, Joshi S, Kamerzell T, Middaugh C, Lewis R. Properties of synthetic spider silk fibers based on Argiope aurantia MaSp2. Biomacromolecules. 2008;9:1506-10 pubmed publisher
  20. Rising A, Johansson J, Larson G, Bongcam Rudloff E, Engstrom W, Hjälm G. Major ampullate spidroins from Euprosthenops australis: multiplicity at protein, mRNA and gene levels. Insect Mol Biol. 2007;16:551-61 pubmed
    ..australis. Finally, the evolution of spidroin genes is discussed in relation to phylogenetic analysis of nonrepetitive C-terminal domains from diverse species. ..
  21. Seda Tigli R, Ghosh S, Laha M, Shevde N, Daheron L, Gimble J, et al. Comparative chondrogenesis of human cell sources in 3D scaffolds. J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2009;3:348-60 pubmed publisher
    ..The results suggest that cell source differences are important to consider with regard to chondrogenic outcomes, and among the variables addressed here the human embryonic stem cells-derived MSCs were the preferred cell source. ..
  22. Cao Y, Wang B. Biodegradation of silk biomaterials. Int J Mol Sci. 2009;10:1514-24 pubmed publisher
    ..The degradation behavior of silk biomaterials is obviously important for medical applications. This article will focus on silk-based biomaterials and review the degradation behaviors of silk materials. ..
  23. Mandal B, Das S, Choudhury K, Kundu S. Implication of silk film RGD availability and surface roughness on cytoskeletal organization and proliferation of primary rat bone marrow cells. Tissue Eng Part A. 2010;16:2391-403 pubmed publisher
  24. Blasingame E, Tuton Blasingame T, Larkin L, Falick A, Zhao L, Fong J, et al. Pyriform spidroin 1, a novel member of the silk gene family that anchors dragline silk fibers in attachment discs of the black widow spider, Latrodectus hesperus. J Biol Chem. 2009;284:29097-108 pubmed publisher
    ..Alignment of the PySp1 amino acid sequence to other fibroins revealed conservation in the non-repetitive C-terminal region of the silk family...
  25. Garb J, Dimauro T, Vo V, Hayashi C. Silk genes support the single origin of orb webs. Science. 2006;312:1762 pubmed
    ..Furthermore, we substantially expanded the repository of silk sequences that can be used for the synthesis of high-performance biomaterials. ..
  26. Gosline J, Guerette P, Ortlepp C, Savage K. The mechanical design of spider silks: from fibroin sequence to mechanical function. J Exp Biol. 1999;202:3295-303 pubmed
    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...
  27. Tanaka K, Mizuno S. Homologues of fibroin L-chain and P25 of Bombyx mori are present in Dendrolimus spectabilis and Papilio xuthus but not detectable in Antheraea yamamai. Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2001;31:665-77 pubmed
  28. Yao J, Nakazawa Y, Asakura T. Structures of Bombyx mori and Samia cynthia ricini silk fibroins studied with solid-state NMR. Biomacromolecules. 2004;5:680-8 pubmed
    ..mori silk fibroin before spinning to the structure after spinning was studied with molecular dynamics calculation by taking into account several external forces applied to the silk fibroin in the silkworm. ..
  29. Sponner A, Unger E, Grosse F, Weisshart K. Conserved C-termini of Spidroins are secreted by the major ampullate glands and retained in the silk thread. Biomacromolecules. 2004;5:840-5 pubmed
    ..Their high conservation and the biochemical data suggest crucial roles the C-termini play in the formation and/or structure of the corresponding silk filaments. ..
  30. Huemmerich D, Scheibel T, Vollrath F, Cohen S, Gat U, Ittah S. Novel assembly properties of recombinant spider dragline silk proteins. Curr Biol. 2004;14:2070-4 pubmed
    ..Our findings shed new light on the structural components of spider dragline silk, allowing further elucidation of their assembly properties, which may open the door for commercial applications. ..
  31. Horan R, Antle K, Collette A, Wang Y, Huang J, Moreau J, et al. In vitro degradation of silk fibroin. Biomaterials. 2005;26:3385-93 pubmed
    ..Results support that silk is a mechanically robust biomaterial with predictable long-term degradation characteristics. ..
  32. Huang J, Wong C, George A, Kaplan D. The effect of genetically engineered spider silk-dentin matrix protein 1 chimeric protein on hydroxyapatite nucleation. Biomaterials. 2007;28:2358-67 pubmed
    ..Considering the osteoconductivity of HA and the novel material features of spider silks, these new hybrid systems offer potential as biomaterials for a number of potential applications. ..
  33. Gobin A, Rhea R, Newman R, Mathur A. Silk-fibroin-coated liposomes for long-term and targeted drug delivery. Int J Nanomedicine. 2006;1:81-7 pubmed
    ..SF-ELP also decreased survival rate of keloids that expressed high levels of RTK. These results demonstrated that SF-ELP enhanced emodin delivery by improved diffusion kinetics and specific cell targeting. ..
  34. Wenk E, Wandrey A, Merkle H, Meinel L. Silk fibroin spheres as a platform for controlled drug delivery. J Control Release. 2008;132:26-34 pubmed publisher
    ..IGF-I was continuously released over 7 weeks in bioactive form, as analyzed by the proliferation of MG-63 cells. These results favor further investigation of SF spheres as a platform for the controlled release of sensitive biologicals. ..
  35. Mauney J, Nguyen T, Gillen K, Kirker Head C, Gimble J, Kaplan D. Engineering adipose-like tissue in vitro and in vivo utilizing human bone marrow and adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells with silk fibroin 3D scaffolds. Biomaterials. 2007;28:5280-90 pubmed
  36. Mori K, Tanaka K, Kikuchi Y, Waga M, Waga S, Mizuno S. Production of a chimeric fibroin light-chain polypeptide in a fibroin secretion-deficient naked pupa mutant of the silkworm Bombyx mori. J Mol Biol. 1995;251:217-28 pubmed publisher
  37. Sutherland T, Weisman S, Trueman H, Sriskantha A, Trueman J, Haritos V. Conservation of essential design features in coiled coil silks. Mol Biol Evol. 2007;24:2424-32 pubmed publisher
    ..Despite a high background level of sequence diversity, we have identified conserved design elements that we propose are essential to the assembly and function of coiled coil silks...
  38. Unger R, Wolf M, Peters K, Motta A, Migliaresi C, James Kirkpatrick C. Growth of human cells on a non-woven silk fibroin net: a potential for use in tissue engineering. Biomaterials. 2004;25:1069-75 pubmed
  39. Dicko C, Knight D, Kenney J, Vollrath F. Structural conformation of spidroin in solution: a synchrotron radiation circular dichroism study. Biomacromolecules. 2004;5:758-67 pubmed
    ..Specifically we analyze, in a series of example studies on structural transitions induced in liquid silk, the type of information accessible from this technique and any artifacts that might arise in studying self-assembling systems. ..
  40. Savage K, Gosline J. The effect of proline on the network structure of major ampullate silks as inferred from their mechanical and optical properties. J Exp Biol. 2008;211:1937-47 pubmed publisher
    ..The fibroins that make up MA silk have previously been organized into two major groupings, spidroin-1 and spidroin-2, based ..
  41. Ha S, Tonelli A, Hudson S. Structural studies of Bombyx mori silk fibroin during regeneration from solutions and wet fiber spinning. Biomacromolecules. 2005;6:1722-31 pubmed
  42. Meinel L, Betz O, Fajardo R, Hofmann S, Nazarian A, Cory E, et al. Silk based biomaterials to heal critical sized femur defects. Bone. 2006;39:922-31 pubmed
    ..Thus, these new constructs provide an alternative protein-based biomaterial for load bearing applications. ..
  43. Zhang Y, Ma Y, Xia Y, Shen W, Mao J, Zha X, et al. Synthesis of silk fibroin-insulin bioconjugates and their characterization and activities in vivo. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2006;79:275-83 pubmed
    ..5 times as long as that of the native insulin, nearly 21 h. The bioconjugation of insulin with the regenerated silk fibroin greatly improved its physicochemical and biological stability. ..
  44. Garcia Fuentes M, Meinel A, Hilbe M, Meinel L, Merkle H. Silk fibroin/hyaluronan scaffolds for human mesenchymal stem cell culture in tissue engineering. Biomaterials. 2009;30:5068-76 pubmed publisher
    ..In conclusion, our data encourages further exploration of silk fibroin/hyaluronan scaffolds as biomimetic platform for mesenchymal stem cells in tissue engineering. ..
  45. Xu H, Fan B, Yu S, Huang Y, Zhao Z, Lian Z, et al. Construct synthetic gene encoding artificial spider dragline silk protein and its expression in milk of transgenic mice. Anim Biotechnol. 2007;18:1-12 pubmed
    ..In transgenic mice milk a maximum of concentration of recombinant dragline silk protein was 11.7 mg/L by radioimmunoassay. ..
  46. Dicko C, Kenney J, Knight D, Vollrath F. Transition to a beta-sheet-rich structure in spidroin in vitro: the effects of pH and cations. Biochemistry. 2004;43:14080-7 pubmed
    ..We discuss the importance of these findings for the spinning process and the active role played by the spider to alter the kinetics of the transition. ..
  47. Tao W, Li M, Zhao C. Structure and properties of regenerated Antheraea pernyi silk fibroin in aqueous solution. Int J Biol Macromol. 2007;40:472-8 pubmed
    ..pernyi silk fibroin changed from random coil to beta-sheet structure. The results of these studies provided important insight into the preparation of new biomaterials by silk fibroin protein. ..
  48. Kim H, Yoon S, Kwon S, Jin H. pH-sensitive multiwalled carbon nanotube dispersion with silk fibroins. Biomacromolecules. 2009;10:82-6 pubmed publisher
    ..Overall, the pH-sensitive properties of the carbon nanotubes dispersed with silk fibroin can lead to a new class of novel biomaterials for cancer detection and treatment. ..
  49. Bittencourt D, Souto B, Verza N, Vinecky F, Dittmar K, Silva P, et al. Spidroins from the Brazilian spider Nephilengys cruentata (Araneae: Nephilidae). Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2007;147:597-606 pubmed
    ..Similarities among sequences were also observed between the different spidroins with the exception of tubuliform spidroin, which presents a unique complex amino acid sequence with high amounts of serine and low amounts of glycine. ..
  50. Zhou C, Confalonieri F, Jacquet M, Perasso R, Li Z, Janin J. Silk fibroin: structural implications of a remarkable amino acid sequence. Proteins. 2001;44:119-22 pubmed
    ..The header sequence is homologous to the N-terminal sequence of other fibroins with a completely different crystalline region...
  51. Moriya M, Roschzttardtz F, Nakahara Y, Saito H, Masubuchi Y, Asakura T. Rheological properties of native silk fibroins from domestic and wild silkworms, and flow analysis in each spinneret by a finite element method. Biomacromolecules. 2009;10:929-35 pubmed publisher
  52. Gobin A, Butler C, Mathur A. Repair and regeneration of the abdominal wall musculofascial defect using silk fibroin-chitosan blend. Tissue Eng. 2006;12:3383-94 pubmed
    ..Thus, SFCS is a potentially useful material for clinical abdominal wall reconstruction, since it becomes remodeled and integrated into the surrounding abdominal wall and maintains adequate tensile strength. ..
  53. Pouchkina Stantcheva N, McQueen Mason S. Molecular studies of a novel dragline silk from a nursery web spider, Euprosthenops sp. (Pisauridae). Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2004;138:371-6 pubmed