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Biomacromolecules

Spider web glue: two proteins expressed from opposite strands of the same DNA sequence.


PMID 19731928

Abstract

The various silks that make up the web of the orb web spiders have been studied extensively. However, success in prey capture depends as much on the web glue as on the fibers. Spider silk glue, which is considered one of the strongest and most effective biological glues, is an aqueous solution secreted from the orb weaving spider's aggregate glands and coats the spiral prey capturing threads of their webs. Studies identified the major component of the glue as microscopic nodules made of a glycoprotein. This study describes two newly discovered proteins that form the glue-glycoprotein of the golden orb weaving spider Nephila clavipes . Our results demonstrate that both proteins contain unique 110 amino acid repetitive domains that are encoded by opposite strands of the same DNA sequence. Thus, the genome of the spider encodes two distinct yet functionally related genes by using both strands of an identical DNA sequence. Moreover, the closest match for the nonrepetitive region of one of the proteins is chitin binding proteins. The web glue appears to have evolved a substantial level of sophistication matching that of the spider silk fibers.