Complete gene sequence of spider attachment silk protein (PySp1) reveals novel linker regions and extreme repeat homogenization.Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2017 02; 81:80-90.IB
Spiders use a myriad of silk types for daily survival, and each silk type has a unique suite of task-specific mechanical properties. Of all spider silk types, pyriform silk is distinct because it is a combination of a dry protein fiber and wet glue. Pyriform silk fibers are coated with wet cement and extruded into "attachment discs" that adhere silks to each other and to substrates. The mechanical properties of spider silk types are linked to the primary and higher-level structures of spider silk proteins (spidroins). Spidroins are often enormous molecules (>250 kDa) and have a lengthy repetitive region that is flanked by relatively short (∼100 amino acids), non-repetitive amino- and carboxyl-terminal regions. The amino acid sequence motifs in the repetitive region vary greatly between spidroin type, while motif length and number underlie the remarkable mechanical properties of spider silk fibers. Existing knowledge of pyriform spidroins is fragmented, making it difficult to define links between the structure and function of pyriform spidroins. Here, we present the full-length sequence of the gene encoding pyriform spidroin 1 (PySp1) from the silver garden spider Argiope argentata. The predicted protein is similar to previously reported PySp1 sequences but the A. argentata PySp1 has a uniquely long and repetitive "linker", which bridges the amino-terminal and repetitive regions. Predictions of the hydrophobicity and secondary structure of A. argentata PySp1 identify regions important to protein self-assembly. Analysis of the full complement of A. argentata PySp1 repeats reveals extreme intragenic homogenization, and comparison of A. argentata PySp1 repeats with other PySp1 sequences identifies variability in two sub-repetitive expansion regions. Overall, the full-length A. argentata PySp1 sequence provides new evidence for understanding how pyriform spidroins contribute to the properties of pyriform silk fibers.