Semi-aquatic spider silks: transcripts, proteins, and silk fibres of the fishing spider, Dolomedes triton (Pisauridae).Insect Mol Biol 2019; 28(1):35-51IM
To survive in terrestrial and aquatic environments, spiders often rely heavily on their silk. The vast majority of silks that have been studied are from orb-web or cob-web weaving species, leaving the silks of water-associated spiders largely undescribed. We characterize transcripts, proteins, and silk fibres from the semi-aquatic spider Dolomedes triton. From silk gland RNAseq libraries, we report 18 silk transcripts representing four categories of known silk protein types: aciniform, ampullate, pyriform, and tubuliform. Proteomic and structural analyses (scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry, contact angle) of the D. triton submersible egg sac reveal similarities to silks from aquatic caddisfly larvae. We identified two layers in D. triton egg sacs, notably a highly hydrophobic outer layer with a different elemental composition compared to egg sacs of terrestrial spiders. These features may provide D. triton egg sacs with their water repellent properties.