Major ampullate spidroins from Euprosthenops australis: multiplicity at protein, mRNA and gene levels.Insect Mol Biol 2007; 16(5):551-61IM
Spider dragline silk possesses extraordinary mechanical properties. It consists of large fibrous proteins called spidroins that display modular structures. It is known to consist of two proteins: the major ampullate spidroin (MaSp) 1 and MaSp2. This study analyses MaSp sequences from the nursery-web spider Euprosthenops australis. We have identified a previously uncharacterized MaSp2 sequence and a new MaSp-like spidroin, which display distinct homogenous submotifs within their respective Gly-rich repeats. Furthermore, a group of MaSp1 cDNA clones show unexpected heterogeneity. Genomic PCR identified several MaSp1 gene variants within individual spiders, which suggests the presence of a gene cluster in E. australis. Finally, the evolution of spidroin genes is discussed in relation to phylogenetic analysis of nonrepetitive C-terminal domains from diverse species.