What Makes the Web Sticky?
The super strong glue that web spinning spiders secrete onto the central prey-capturing part of the web is a glycoprotein, a complex sugary type molecule.
Although there's a pile of research on the nature, qualities and formation of webs, there's a relatively small stack of papers by comparison about the sticky molecule that traps prey.
So scientists at the University of Wyoming in Laramie have been studying the glue made by the golden orb weaving spider Nephila clavipes to try and find out more about what it is made up of and how these components help it to do its job.
The glue is secreted from the orb weaving spider's aggregate glands and it contains water soluble compounds that are related to neurotransmitters, small peptides, inorganic salts, glycoproteins, and amino acids. But the Wyoming team wanted to find out more about its molecular structure and function.
Researchers took glue secreting cells and managed to extract messenger RNA from them. Then they created a complementary DNA sequence to identify genes involved in glue creation.