Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The liquid crystallinity of spider dragline silk dope is thought to be important for both the spinning process and the extreme mechanical properties of the final thread. Although the formation of the liquid crystalline units is poorly understood, it has been suggested that spider silk proteins are secreted in a random coil and then aggregate end-to-end into rod-shaped units to form supramolecular liquid crystals. However, evidence presented here from transmission electron microscopy indicates that coat protein of the dragline silk of a Nephila spider is stored as hexagonal columnar liquid crystals within the intracellular secretory vesicles. This implies that this component is already folded into short rods within the gland cells and forms molecular rather than supramolecular liquid crystals.

Original publication




Journal article


Tissue Cell

Publication Date





617 - 620