Document Detail

Dependence of mechanical properties of lacewing egg stalks on relative humidity.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23039067     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Silk fibers are well known for their mechanical properties such as strength and toughness and their lightweight, making them an interesting material for a variety of applications. Silk mechanics mainly rely on the secondary structure of the underlying proteins. Lacewing egg stalk silk proteins obtain a cross-beta structure with individual beta-strands aligned perpendicular to the fiber axis. This structure is in contrast to that of silks of spiders or silkworms with beta-strands parallel to the fiber axis and to that of silks of honeybees with alpha helices arranged in coiled coils. Based on the cross-beta structure the mechanical properties of egg stalks are different to those of other silks concerning extensibility, toughness and bending stiffness. Here, we show the influence of relative humidity on the mechanical behavior of lacewing egg stalks and propose a model based on secondary structure changes to explain the differences on a molecular level. At low relative humidity the stalks rupture at an extension of 3%, whereas at high relative humidity at 434%. This dramatic increase corresponds to breakage of hydrogen bonds between the beta-strands, and a re-arrangement thereof in a parallel-beta structure.
Felix Bauer; Luca Bertinetti; Admir Masic; Thomas Scheibel
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-10-7
Journal Detail:
Title:  Biomacromolecules     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1526-4602     ISO Abbreviation:  Biomacromolecules     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-8     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100892849     Medline TA:  Biomacromolecules     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
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