Ultracentrifugal analyses of the native silk proteins extracted from the various parts of the middle silk gland of the mature silkworm have revealed that there exist four components with S°20,w values of 10S, 9–10S, 9S, and 4S in the extract. It is suggested that the fastest 10S component is the native fibroin synthesized in the posterior silk gland and transferred to the middle silk gland to be stored there, while the slower three components probably correspond to inner, middle, and outer sericins which were synthesized in the posterior, middle, and anterior portion of the middle silk gland, respectively. Native fibroin solution was prepared from the most posterior part of the middle silk gland. Ultracentrifugal analyses have shown that the solution contains considerable amounts of aggregates in addition to the main 10S component. Treatment with lithium bromide (LiBr), urea, or guanidine hydrochloride solution up to 6 M all have failed to dissociate the 10S component. From the sedimentation equilibrium analyses and partial specific volume of 0.716, the molecular weight of the 10S component of the native fibroin solution was found to be between 3.2 – 4.2 x 105, with a tendency to lie fairly close to 3.7 x 105.

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