The mechanisms and diversity of antibacterial properties of spider silks(1/3)(MOST).


Antibacterial agents, such as penicillin, were first used to treat infection over 80 years ago and were derived from natural sources. Today, synthetic and modified natural antibacterial agents are commonplace across fields of medicine, dentistry, food preservation and water disinfection. However, their increased use in recent years has led to antibacterial resistance of numerous bacterial strains, including potentially life-threatening Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. Discovery and development of new kinds of antibacterial agents is pertinent in the fight for global human health, and the best source may be where these compounds were first discovered: in Nature. Materials with antibacterial properties from plant and animal systems, such as plant essential oils or arthropod secretions, present good opportunity for identification of next-generation antibacterial agents. Spider silk is one such secretion that demonstrates high resilience to bacterial degradation in natural environments for weeks to months at a time. Recent studies have identified thin lipid and glycoprotein layers that coat spider dragline silks of Nephila spiders that have been strongly implicated to possess antibacterial properties, although it is currently unknown which layer and which molecular compound is responsible. New evidence from our research group also indicates that entire webs, which possess multiple different silk types, also display antibacterial properties, however, the relationships between specificity of antibacterial efficacy, spider taxa and environment are all unknown.

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Updated: Nov-13-2020 04:47:00 (Taiwan, GMT+08:00).