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Protein Purification of Bio-Synthetic Spider Silk
Utah State University Student Showcase (2012)
  • Candace N Clark, Utah State University
  • Andrea Olson, Utah State University
Spider silk is a natural fiber that has many important mechanical properties. Potential uses for spider silk include medical, textile, and military applications. In order to produce enough silk for these applications to be viable, spider silk must be synthetically produced. Several innovative methods have been developed to produce synthetic spider silk fibers. One method involves using transgenic goats. Each goat contains one of the two genes that encode spider silk proteins. This protein is produced only in the goat milk. The milk is collected and processed through a tangential flow filtration (TFF) system. Concentrated protein is collected and further processed into synthetic silk. The properties of spider silk come from the proteins that make up the silk. Different proteins convey different properties. The proteins of interest are M4, M44, M5, and M55. Because these proteins are sensitive and valuable, care must be taken while purifying spider silk proteins. Two properties of interest are the high strength and elasticity present in natural spider silk. Different proteins contribute to each of these properties. M44 protein, which is believed to contribute to strength, has not previously been purified from transgenic goat milk. Current laboratory work has focused on the optimization of M4, M5, and M55 protein purification processes. It is not known whether M44 will behave similar to M4 and M5 proteins, which have identical purification procedures. Optimization studies will be performed on M44 protein purification processes before large-scale M44 protein purification begins. M44 protein has great potential for future applications, but optimal purification parameters must be defined for this protein to be utilized.
Publication Date
Spring April, 2012
Citation Information
Candace N Clark and Andrea Olson. "Protein Purification of Bio-Synthetic Spider Silk" Utah State University Student Showcase (2012)
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