Total X-Ray Scattering of Spider Dragline Silk

C. J. Benmore, T. Izdebski, Jeffery Yarger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Total x-ray scattering measurements of spider dragline silk fibers from Nephila clavipes, Argiope aurantia, and Latrodectus hesperus all yield similar structure factors, with only small variations between the different species. Wide-angle x-ray scattering from fibers orientated perpendicular to the beam shows a high degree of anisotropy, and differential pair distribution functions obtained by integrating over wedges of the equatorial and meridian planes indicate that, on average, the majority (95%) of the atom-atom correlations do not extend beyond 1 nm. Futhermore, the atom-atom correlations between 1 and 3 nm are not associated with the most intense diffraction peaks at Q=1-2Å -1. Disordered molecular orientations along the fiber axis are consistent with proteins in similar structural arrangements to those in the equatorial plane, which may be associated with the silk's greater flexibility in this direction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number178102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 24 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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