Determining secondary structure in spider dragline silk by carbon-carbon correlation solid-state NMR spectroscopy

Gregory P. Holland, Melinda S. Creager, Janelle E. Jenkins, Randolph V. Lewis, Jeffery L. Yarger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Two-dimensional (2D) 13C-13C NMR correlation spectra were collected on 13C-enriched dragline silk fibers produced from Nephila clavipes spiders. The 2D NMR spectra were acquired under fast magic-angle spinning (MAS) and dipolar-assisted rotational resonance (DARR) recoupling to enhance magnetization transfer between 13C spins. Spectra obtained with short (150 ms) recoupling periods were utilized to extract distinct chemical shifts for all carbon resonances of each labeled amino acid in the silk spectra, resulting in a complete resonance assignment. The NMR results presented here permit extraction of the precise chemical shift of the carbonyl environment for each 13C-labeled amino acid in spider silk for the first time. Spectra collected with longer recoupling periods (1 s) were implemented to detect intermolecular magnetization exchange between neighboring amino acids. This information is used to ascribe NMR resonances to the specific repetitive amino acid motifs prevalent in spider silk proteins. These results indicate that glycine and alanine are both present in two distinct structural environments: a disordered 31-helical conformation and an ordered β-sheet structure. The former can be ascribed to the Gly-Gly-Ala motif while the latter is assigned to the poly(Ala) and poly(Gly-Ala) domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9871-9877
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number30
StatePublished - Jul 30 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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