Institute of Crystallography - CNR

Raman, WAXS, and Solid-State NMR Characterizations of Regenerated Silk Fibroin Using Lanthanide Ions as Chaotropic Agents

Bombyx mori silk fibroin (SF) has been reported as a convenient natural material for regenerative medicine, optoelectronics, and many other technological applications. SF owes its unique features to the hierarchical organization of the fibers. Many efforts have been made to set up protocols for dissolution since many applications of SF are based on regenerated solutions and
fibers, but chaotropic conditions required to disassemble the packing of the polymer afford solutions with poor crystalline behavior. Our previous research has disclosed a dissolution and regeneration process of highly crystalline fibers involving lanthanide ions as chaotropic agents, demonstrating that each lanthanide has its own unique interaction with SF. Herein, we
report elucidation of the structure of Ln-SF fibers by the combined use of Raman spectroscopy, wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS), and solid-state NMR techniques. Raman spectra confirmed the coordination of metal ions to SF, WAXS results highlighted the crystalline content of fibers, and solid-state NMR enabled the assessment of different ratios of secondary structures in the protein.

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Giorgio Rizzo, Valentina Petrelli, Teresa Sibillano, Liberato De Caro, Maria Michela Giangregorio, Marco Lo Presti, Fiorenzo G. Omenetto, Cinzia Giannini, Piero Mastrorilli, and Gianluca M. Farinola