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Abstract #3275

Investigating the properties of silk formation in Bombyx mori silkworms using T1 and T2 image maps.

Steven Reynolds 1 , Peter R Laity 2 , Ben Curie 1 , Chris Holland 2 , and Martyn N Paley 1

1 Academic Unit of Radiology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom, 2 Department Materials Science and Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Silkworms form fibres from a proteinaceous mixture, silk dope, in two glands. The posterior section of the gland secretes proteins (fibroin), which are stored in the mid-section before being spun through a tapered silk duct. Rheology of extracted silk dope show chemical and mechanical changes during spinning. We determine the T1/T2 per voxel in live silkworms along the gland. The T1 and T2 varied smoothly along the gland, with T1 significantly different between the tapered and middle sections. Study of silk formation would help in developing novel fibre spinning techniques. Furthermore, fibroin aggregation is a potential model for amyloidogenesis.

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