What makes spider webs sticky

November 1st, 2009 - 2:39 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 1 (ANI): Scientists at the University of Wyoming say they have unravelled the secret of what makes spider webs sticky.

According to researchers, the findings could lead to the development of substances that could one day be synthesised to produce surgical adhesives, reports New Scientist.

The ultra-strong glue, which the spider secretes onto the central prey-capturing spiral threads of its web, is known to be based on a complex sugary polymer called a glycoprotein.

However, until now no one knew how this supersticky molecule did its job, or which genes coded for it.

Now, Omer Choresh and colleagues at the University of Wyoming in Laramie have offered some clues.

They took glue-secreting cells from the glands of golden orb-web spiders and extracted messenger RNA from them.

They then used this to create a complementary DNA sequence to identify the genes potentially involved in glue creation.

They discovered that the sticky glycoprotein is formed from two separate proteins, each 110 amino acids long, that seem to be encoded by genes on opposite strands of the very same sequence of DNA.

According to Choresh, by cloning these genes and amplifying them, it should be possible to create a whole new class of biocompatible glues. (ANI)

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