, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 51-57

Purification of Spider Silk-elastin from Transgenic Plants and Application for Human Chondrocyte Proliferation

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Research on spider silk proteins has led to the possibility of designing genetically engineered silks according to defined material properties. Here we show the efficient and stable production of spider silk-elastin fusion proteins in transgenic tobacco and potato plants by retention in the ER. The proteins were purified by a simple method, using heat treatment and ‘inverse transition cycling’. Laboratory scale extraction of 1 kg tobacco leaf material leads to a yield of 80 mg pure recombinant spider silk-elastin protein. As a possible application, as well as to demonstrate biocompatibility, the growth of anchorage-dependent mammalian cells on spider silk-elastin coated culture plates was compared with conventional coatings such as collagen, fibronectin and poly-D-lysine. The anchorage-dependent chondrocytes showed similar growth behaviour and a rounded phenotype on collagen and on spider silk-elastin coated plates and the proliferation was remarkably superior to untreated polystyrene plates.