University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series > Identification of ancient silks using proteomics and immunoassays

Identification of ancient silks using proteomics and immunoassays

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The production of silk is generally believed to originate in the Neolithic period within the Yangshao culture (3th-5th millennium BC). However, the true origin and spread of silk remains an unsolved mystery to this day. This is because silk is mainly composed of silk fibroin and a small amount of other proteins. These proteins are easily degraded under the action of temperature, humidity, light and microorganisms, making it difficult to find physical evidence of silk in archaeological sites. In recent years, Dr. Wang’s research group analyzed the amino acid sequence structure of silk fibroin through proteomics and found many tissue and taxonomically specific peptides of ancient silk. Using these diagnostic sequences as immunogens, a series of polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies that can specifically recognize ancient silk were prepared by animal immunization. On this basis, a variety of immunological techniques and products suitable for laboratories and archaeological sites have been developed, i.e., ELISA , immunofluorescence microscopy, Western Blot, immunochromatographic assay kits and immunosensors. These methods not only provide powerful analytical tools for studying the origin and dissemination of ancient silk, but also provide references for the study of other types of protein artifacts.

This talk is part of the Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series series.

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