elastic proteins

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doi: 10.1098/rstb.2001.1022 , 121-132 357 2002 Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B J. Gosline, M. Lillie, E. Carrington, P. Guerette, C. Ortlepp and K. Savage Elastic proteins: biological roles and mechanical properties References http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/357/1418/121#related-urls Article cited in: Rapid response http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/letters/submit/royptb;357/1418/121 Respond to this article Email alerting service here right-hand corner of the article or click Receive free email alerts when new articles cite this article - sign up in the box at the top http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/subscriptions go to: Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B To subscribe to This journal is © 2002 The Royal Society on November 7, 2010 rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org Downloaded from
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Published online 28 February 2002 Elastic proteins: biological roles and mechanical properties John Gosline 1 * , Margo Lillie 1 , Emily Carrington 1,2 , Paul Guerette 1 , Christine Ortlepp 1 and Ken Savage 1 1 Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4 2 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA The term ‘elastic protein’ applies to many structural proteins with diverse functions and mechanical properties so there is room for confusion about its meaning. Elastic implies the property of elasticity, or the ability to deform reversibly without loss of energy; so elastic proteins should have high resilience. Another meaning for elastic is ‘stretchy’, or the ability to be deformed to large strains with little force. Thus, elastic proteins should have low stiffness. The combination of high resilience, large strains and low stiffness is characteristic of rubber-like proteins (e.g. resilin and elastin) that function in the storage of elastic-strain energy. Other elastic proteins play very different roles and have very different properties. Collagen fibres provide exceptional energy storage capacity but are not very stretchy. Mussel byssus threads and spider dragline silks are also elastic proteins because, in spite of their considerable strength and stiffness, they are remarkably stretchy. The combination of strength and extensibility, together with low resilience, gives these materials an impressive resistance to fracture (i.e. toughness), a property that allows mussels to survive crashing waves and spiders to build exquisite aerial filters. Given this range of properties and functions, it is probable that elastic proteins will provide a wealth of chemical structures and elastic mechanisms that can be exploited in novel structural materials through biotechnology. Keywords: elastic proteins; mechanical design; elastin; collagen; byssal fibres; spider silks 1. INTRODUCTION The objective of this symposium was to develop an under- standing of structural design in elastic proteins, to eluci- date the functional role that these materials play in the lives of real organisms and to discover whether molecular mechanisms in these materials could be exploited through biotechnology. One striking feature of the elastic proteins
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This note was uploaded on 01/27/2012 for the course ECOLOGY 300 taught by Professor Zumdahli during the Spring '11 term at St. Mary NE.

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