Proteomic evidence for the silk fibroin genes of spider mites (Order Trombidiformes: Family Tetranychidae)

Kazuharu Arakawa, Masaru Mori, Nobuaki Kono, Takeshi Suzuki, Tetsuo Gotoh, Satoshi Shimano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Spider mites are a group of arachnids belonging to Acari (mites and ticks), family Tetranychidae, known to produce nanoscale silk fibers characterized by a high Young's modulus. The silk fibroin gene of spider mites has been computationally predicted through genomic analysis of Tetranychus urticae Koch, but it has yet to be confirmed by proteomic evidence. In this work, we sequenced and assembled the transcriptome from two genera of spider mites, Tetranychus kanzawai Kishida and Panonychus citri (McGregor), and combined it with silk proteomics of T. urticae and P. citri to characterize the fibroin genes through comparative genomics and multiomics analysis. As a result, two fibroins were identified, which were different genes than those previously predicted by computational methods. The amino acid composition and secondary structure suggest similarity to aciniform or cylindrical spidroins of spider silk, which partly mirrors their mechanical properties, exhibiting a high Young's modulus. The availability of full-length fibroin sequences of spider mites facilitates the study of the evolution of silk genes that sometimes emerge in multiple lineages in a convergent manner and in the industrial application of artificial protein fibers through the study of the amino acid sequence and the resulting mechanical properties of these silks. Significance: Here we sequenced and assembled the transcriptome from two genera of spider mites, T. kanzawai and P. citri, and combined it with silk proteomics of T. urticae and P. citri to characterize the fibroin genes through comparative genomics and multiomics analysis. Spider mite silk is especially characterized by its extremely fine nano-scale diameter and high Young's modulus, even exceeding those of spider silks. The availability of full-length fibroin sequences of spider mites facilitates the study of the evolution of silk genes, which independently evolved in mites, insects, and spiders but yet show sequence convergence, and in the industrial application of artificial protein fibers through the study of the amino acid sequence and the resulting mechanical properties of these silks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104195
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Volume239
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May 15

Keywords

  • Acari
  • Fibroin
  • Proteome
  • Silk
  • Spider mites
  • Transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry

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