Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 1815–1821 | Cite as

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

  • Hongxiu Wen
  • Xiqian Lan
  • Yuansong Zhang
  • Tianfu Zhao
  • Yujun Wang
  • Zenta Kajiura
  • Masao Nakagaki


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.


Spider dragline silk Transgenic silkworm piggyBac Cocoon proteins Mechanical characteristic 



This work was supported by (1) Grant-in-Aid for Global COE Program by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, Japan; (2) Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan; (3) Natural Science Foundation Project of CQ CSTC, China (CSTC, 2008BA1008); (4) Natural Science Foundation Project of China SWU (SWUB2008008). We are indebted to the Division of Gene Research, Research Center for Human and Environmental Sciences, Shinshu University, for providing facilities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hongxiu Wen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiqian Lan
    • 2
  • Yuansong Zhang
    • 1
  • Tianfu Zhao
    • 1
  • Yujun Wang
    • 1
  • Zenta Kajiura
    • 1
  • Masao Nakagaki
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Applied Biology, Faculty of Textile Science and TechnologyShinshu UniversityUeda, NaganoJapan
  2. 2.The Key Sericultural Laboratory of Agriculture MinistrySouthwest UniversityChongqingChina

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