Spider silk biology for biomedical applications - Anna Rising

Our research is mainly focused on using spider silk technology for various medical applications.

group of happy people
Spider silk group. Photo: Lena Holm
Biomimetic spinning of artificial spider silk

We use spider silk technology for medical applications. One line of our research concerns making artificial spider silk fibers for use in regenerative medicine, mainly cultivation of stem cells. The fibers we make are strong as tendons, are biocompatible and degrade as new tissue is formed.

Another line of research concerns the use of a spider silk protein domain for efficient production of proteins and peptides, in particular for the generation of novel lung surfactant preparations.

Our lab is located at Karolinska Institutet and at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

Formation of artificial spider silk

Artificial spider silk reeled

The videos above are from Andersson, Jia et al., Nat Chem Biol. 2017.

Biomimetic spinning

The video above is from Schmuck et al. Materials Today. 2021.

Some of our research problems

  • Will we be able to mimic the mechanical properties in natural spider silk fibers, in artificially made spider silk fibers? 
  • Will we be able to replace damaged tissues and organs by using artificially produced spider silk as implants?
  • Will we be able to produce valuable and aggregation prone proteins with low solubility by using Nature's own solubility increasing domain (NT)?
  • Will we be able to make surfactant preparations that are more resistant to inhibition and can we use Lung surfactant as a drug delivery vehicle?

Group members

Anna Rising

Group leader and Researcher

Olga Shilkova

Senior lab manager

Tina Arndt

PhD student

Benjamin Schmuck

Postdoctoral researcher

Part of the group that works at SLU:

Sumalata Sonavane, PhD student

News from the group

Selected publications

High yield production of a super-soluble miniature spidroin for biomimetic high-performance materials.
Schmuck B, Greco G, Barth A, Pugno NM, Johansson J. Rising A.
Materials Today. 2021. Nov, 50:16-23.

Tyrosine residues mediate supercontration in biomimetic spider silk
Greco G, Arndt T, Schmuck B, Francis J, Bäcklund FG, Shilkova O, Barth A, Gonska N, Seisenbaeva G, Kessler V, Johansson J, Pugno N, Rising A
Commun Mater 2, 43 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43246-021-00147-w

Doing What Spiders Cannot-A Road Map to Supreme Artificial Silk Fibers.
Johansson J, Rising A
ACS Nano 2021 02;15(2):1952-1959

Native-like Flow Properties of an Artificial Spider Silk Dope.
Arndt T, Laity PR, Johansson J, Holland C, Rising A
ACS Biomater Sci Eng 2021 02;7(2):462-471

High-yield Production of Amyloid-β Peptide Enabled by a Customized Spider Silk Domain.
Abelein A, Chen G, Kitoka K, Aleksis R, Oleskovs F, Sarr M, et al
Sci Rep 2020 01;10(1):235

Structure-Function Relationship of Artificial Spider Silk Fibers Produced by Straining Flow Spinning.
Gonska N, López PA, Lozano-Picazo P, Thorpe M, Guinea GV, Johansson J, Barth A, Pérez-Rigueiro J, Rising A
Biomacromolecules 2020 06;21(6):2116-2124

Synthetic surfactant with a recombinant surfactant protein C analogue improves lung function and attenuates inflammation in a model of acute respiratory distress syndrome in adult rabbits.
Zebialowicz Ahlström J, Massaro F, Mikolka P, Feinstein R, Perchiazzi G, Basabe-Burgos O, et al
Respir Res 2019 Nov;20(1):245

Efficient protein production inspired by how spiders make silk.
Kronqvist N, Sarr M, Lindqvist A, Nordling K, Otikovs M, Venturi L, et al
Nat Commun 2017 05;8():15504

Degree of Biomimicry of Artificial Spider Silk Spinning Assessed by NMR Spectroscopy.
Otikovs M, Andersson M, Jia Q, Nordling K, Meng Q, Andreas LB, et al
Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 2017 10;56(41):12571-12575

Biomimetic spinning of artificial spider silk from a chimeric minispidroin.
Andersson M, Jia Q, Abella A, Lee XY, Landreh M, Purhonen P, et al
Nat Chem Biol 2017 03;13(3):262-264

Toward spinning artificial spider silk.
Rising A, Johansson J
Nat Chem Biol 2015 May;11(5):309-15

Spider silk for xeno-free long-term self-renewal and differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells.
Wu S, Johansson J, Damdimopoulou P, Shahsavani M, Falk A, Hovatta O, et al
Biomaterials 2014 Oct;35(30):8496-502

Carbonic anhydrase generates CO2 and H+ that drive spider silk formation via opposite effects on the terminal domains.
Andersson M, Chen G, Otikovs M, Landreh M, Nordling K, Kronqvist N, et al
PLoS Biol 2014 Aug;12(8):e1001921

Controlled assembly: a prerequisite for the use of recombinant spider silk in regenerative medicine?
Rising A
Acta Biomater 2014 Apr;10(4):1627-31

Recombinant spider silk matrices for neural stem cell cultures.
Lewicka M, Hermanson O, Rising AU
Biomaterials 2012 Nov;33(31):7712-7