A caddisfly larva from Stenopsyche marmorata

The Collaborative Project for Aquatic Life Fiber Engineering, a research group from the Faculty of Textile Science and Technology, Shinshu University, achieved a world first by successfully discovering and analyzing novel silk protein genes from caddisfly larvae, Stenopsyche marmorata. The aquatic larvae are known as “zazamushi” and eaten as a delicacy in the Shinshu Ina region in Japan. It is hoped that these achievements will form the foundations of future applied research on “zazamushi silk” in the fields of biotechnology and medical engineering.

Main Points of this Research
• The genes of Stenopsyche marmorata silk protein (Smsp-2, 3, 4) were cloned from the caddisfly larvae.
• The Smsp-2 and Smsp-4.are completely new types of silk proteins.
• Recombinant protein expression of the Smsps was successfully performed in Escherichia coli.

This research was initiated as an interdisciplinary research project by a joint research group from the Interdisciplinary Cluster for Cutting Edge Research (ICCER), headed by Assistant Professor Ryoichi Arai of the Institute for Biomedical Sciences (IBS), Professor Kimio Hirabayashi of the Institute of Mountain Science (IMS),and Professor Kousaku Ohkawa of the Institute for Fiber Engineering, Shinshu University (IFES). The results of their research were published in the August 28 issue of Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, an international journal specializing in biochemistry and related fields. A press release was issued on August 31, and then the articles on this research were published in The Shinano Mainichi Shimbun newspaper on September 1 and in The Chunichi Shimbun newspaper on September 5.

More detailed information can be found in this paper published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications:

Xue Bai, Mayo Sakaguchi, Yuko Yamaguchi, Shiori Ishihara, Masuhiro Tsukada, Kimio Hirabayashi, Kousaku Ohkawa, Takaomi Nomura, Ryoichi Arai* (*Corresponding author)
“Molecular cloning, gene expression analysis, and recombinant protein expression of novel silk proteins from larvae of a retreat-maker caddisfly, Stenopsyche marmorata
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Volume 464, Issue 3, 28 August 2015, Pages 814–819.
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2015.07.041
Web site: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006291X15302722

A silk net nest of a caddisfly larva from Stenopsyche marmorata