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Facile preparation of recombinant spider eggcase silk spheres via an HFIP-on-Oil approach

Chen, Jianming, Hu, Jinlian, Zuo, Peijun, Shi, Jingyu, Yang, Mo
International journal of biological macromolecules 2018 v.116 pp. 1146-1152
Araneae, agitation, confocal laser scanning microscopy, doxorubicin, drug delivery systems, emulsifying, evaporation rate, fluorescence, human cell lines, molecular weight, oils, peptidase K, rhodamines, silk, spidroins, spinning, surfactants
Versatile spider silk proteins have been prepared by various methods in morphology of spheres for functional applications. Inspired from natural spinning process, a facile approach for the fabrication of silk spheres is described. Distinct from the traditional emulsification method, silk spheres were assembled as rapidly as 10 s by using the HFIP-on-Oil method without any surfactants and agitation used. Notably, a series of factors, such as evaporation rate of HFIP, polarity and molecular weight of oils play central roles on the final silk morphologies. With regard to the increase of protein concentrations, the average dimension and size distribution of silk spheres were both increased. Together with present study, silk spheres prepared by other methods were summarized for comparison in drug delivery applications. As a proof-of-concept, silk spheres loaded with Rhodamine B and Doxorubicin were investigated for the potential proteinase-enhanced drug delivery. On the extracellular environment, ethanol-mediated silk spheres exhibited higher resistance against enzymatic degradation of proteinase K when compared with pristine spheres. Under fluorescent detection by the aid of CLSM, proteinase-enhanced release behaviors were further demonstrated through in-vitro experiments within Hela cells. The facile fabrication of spheres with tunable β-sheets establishes a fascinating platform for functional silk-based applications.