Genetically Modified Organism Research Center
Silk Materials Research Unit
The silk Materials Research Unit is studying the development of new materials based on silk proteins as a natural resource in order to commercially use the silk materials in medical and cosmetic fields in addition to textile fibers. We focus on fibroin and sericin produced by silkworm, and hornet silk from Vespa, as the silk proteins. Several novel fabrication processes have been developed to form a variety of materials with different characteristics, such as film, gel, sponge, gel-film, tube, and resin, from the silk proteins. To improve the properties and functions of the silk materials we are analyzing the structure and properties of the silk proteins and are investigating modification technologies using chemical and transgenic techniques.
At present, we are developing scaffold for cartilage regeneration using fibroin sponges, materials for cornea regeneration and wound dressing using gel-films from sericin and hornet silk, hepatocyte culture substrates using lactose-binding fibroin, high strength and modulus silk fiber using transgenic fibroin containing spider silk protein, affinity silk using a single-chain antibody-fused fibroin, artificial silk proteins by introduction of non-natural amino acids, and other products.
Sponge, film, and tube from 100% silk proteins