Controlled assembly: A prerequisite for the use of recombinant spider silk in regenerative medicine? ☆
Recent biotechnological progress has enabled the production of spider silk proteins, spidroins, in heterologous hosts. Matrices based on recombinant spidroins support stem cell growth and are well tolerated when implanted in living tissue, thus the material is highly attractive for use in regenerative medicine. However, the matrices made are far from natural silk in terms of mechanical properties and are either spontaneously assembled, which results in heterogeneous products, or spun from harsh solvents with the concomitant risk of harmful remnants in the final products. If we could mimic the spider’s aqueous silk spinning process we would likely obtain a material that had reproducible and better characteristics and that more easily could be transferred to clinical practice. Herein, the knowledge of the spiders’ silk production system and the prerequisites for artificial spinning and assembly of recombinant proteins are reviewed and discussed in a biomedical context.
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Journal: Acta Biomaterialia - Volume 10, Issue 4, April 2014, Pages 1627–1631