, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 1815-1821
Date: 25 Jul 2009

Transgenic silkworms (Bombyx mori) produce recombinant spider dragline silk in cocoons

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Abstract

Spider dragline silk is a unique fibrous protein with a combination of tensile strength and elasticity, but the isolation of large amounts of silk from spiders is not feasible. In this study, we generated germline-transgenic silkworms (Bombyx mori) that spun cocoons containing recombinant spider silk. A piggyBac-based transformation vector was constructed that carried spider dragline silk (MaSp1) cDNA driven by the sericin 1 promoter. Silkworm eggs were injected with the vector, producing transgenic silkworms displaying DsRed fluorescence in their eyes. Genotyping analysis confirmed the integration of the MaSp1 gene into the genome of the transgenic silkworms, and silk protein analysis revealed its expression and secretion in the cocoon. Compared with wild-type silk, the recombinant silk displayed a higher tensile strength and elasticity. The results indicate the potential for producing recombinant spider silk in transgenic B. mori.