Modelling self assembly of natural silk solutions

F. N. Braun, C. Viney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


We present a tentative interpretation of the origin of nematic liquid crystalline order exhibited by various natural silk fibroin solutions, notably those of orb-weaving spiders and the domestic silkworm Bombyx mori. It is thought that liquid crystalline rheology is exploited during the spinning process. We discuss in this approach the response of the liquid crystalline phase diagram to equilibrium physiological conditions and to parameters characterising the amino acid sequence of the fibroin molecules. The phase diagram is sensitive in this latter respect to sequence mutations, such that it may constitute a source of evolutionary selection pressure. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-65
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Issue number3-5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2003


  • Amino acid substitution
  • Lepidopterans
  • Liquid crystals
  • Phase behaviour of silk solutions
  • Self assembly
  • Spiders (araneae)


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