Describes the process by which this poisonous spider transforms the proteins in silk
The goal is to produce construction materials and tissues more resistant
Poisons that heal: therapies inspired by nature
Some animals doing extraordinary things and, therefore, nature is a source of constant inspiration for scientists. Among the creatures most admired highlights the spider, able to weave a material surprisingly sturdy. One of the best manufacturers of silk is also one of the species most feared: Latrodectus hesperus, popularly known as the black widow.
This arthropod, that lives in forests and swamps of North America and including its legs, do not measure more than 3.5 inches, it secretes one of the poisons most powerful in the animal kingdom. Their bite is deadly, even though there are sera supplied on time, are the antidote.
Thanks to nanotechnology, a team of american scientists from the universities of Northwester state and San Diego have managed to describe the complex process by which black widows, they transform the protein in fibers as resistant.
"Many spiders, and other animals, manufactured materials that are surprising, such as silks. Black widows have been much studied and their webs are among the stronger materials are known, which makes them an excellent model to investigate," he says via an email to Nathan Gianneschi, one of the authors of the study.
"The silk of the black widow spider is stronger than steel of high strength and more resistant than Kevlar (used in bullet-proof vests)", points out Gregory Holland, co-author of the research, and authentic specialist in silk: he has written more than 40 studies on the topic.
In the latter, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), remember how up to now was able to decipher the sequence of amino acids that constitute the proteins of the silk and understand the structure of the fibers and networks. But when they had attempted to reproduce the process in the laboratory had not achieved a synthetic material so tough.Of the medicine to the bridges
Now, through the use of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), the same technology used to make the magnetic resonance medical, have observed how the silk proteins of the spider are not formed from micelles (structures of molecules) spherical simple, as previously thought, but with micelle complex. These proteins are stored in the abdomen of the spiders.
Your ultimate goal is to reach to replicate artificially a material as strong as the silk of black widow. According to the authors, would have a huge range of applications. Between them, looming building materials for some types of bridges and other structures; tissues of high quality and high performance for military, members of the bodies of rescue or athletes and uses in biomedicine.
Although Gianneschi points out that at present there are many researchers studying ways to apply these materials in the industry, asserts that "there is still much research to be done," before such materials are incorporated into everyday life. For the moment, he adds, his team is not in contact with companies to make the leap from the lab to the industry: "we will Continue doing basic science, and focusing on the research of these materials, and are always open to new possibilities," he says.
According to the criteria ofread másUNA TRAP TO HUNT THEIR PREY
spins its web in the trees and remains upside down in order to surprise and capture the insects which they feed -the beetles, butterflies and cockroaches are their favorite prey-. Is the 'modus operandi' of the black widow.Updated Date: 05 November 2018, 20:02