Spidroin N-terminal domain forms amyloid-like fibril based hydrogels and provides a protein immobilization platform

Nat Commun. 2022 Aug 15;13(1):4695. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-32093-7.


Recombinant spider silk proteins (spidroins) have multiple potential applications in development of novel biomaterials, but their multimodal and aggregation-prone nature have complicated production and straightforward applications. Here, we report that recombinant miniature spidroins, and importantly also the N-terminal domain (NT) on its own, rapidly form self-supporting and transparent hydrogels at 37 °C. The gelation is caused by NT α-helix to β-sheet conversion and formation of amyloid-like fibrils, and fusion proteins composed of NT and green fluorescent protein or purine nucleoside phosphorylase form hydrogels with intact functions of the fusion moieties. Our findings demonstrate that recombinant NT and fusion proteins give high expression yields and bestow attractive properties to hydrogels, e.g., transparency, cross-linker free gelation and straightforward immobilization of active proteins at high density.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fibroins* / chemistry
  • Hydrogels
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Silk / chemistry
  • Spiders* / metabolism


  • Hydrogels
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Silk
  • Fibroins