The silkworm Bombyx mori is a lepidopteran insect with four developmental stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa, and adult. The hemolymph of the silkworm is in an open system that circulates among all organs, and functions in nutrient and hormone transport, injury, and immunity. To understand the intricate developmental mechanisms of metamorphosis, silkworm hemolymph from different developmental stages, including the 3rd day of fifth instar, the 6th day of fifth instar, the 3rd day of pupation, the 8th day of pupal stage and the first day of the moth stage, was investigated by two-dimensional electrophoresis and mass spectrometry.
Two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis showed that from the larval to moth stages, silkworm hemolymph proteins changed markedly. Not only did major proteins such as SP1, SP2, and the 30 K lipoprotein change, but other proteins varied greatly at different stages. To understand the functions of these proteins in silkworm development, 56 spots were excised from gels for analysis by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). We identified 34 proteins involved in metamorphosis, programmed cell death, food digestion, metabolism, and nutrient storage and transport. Most proteins showed different expression at different stages, suggesting functions in development and metamorphosis. An abundance of proteins related to immunity were found, including hemolin, prophenoloxidase, serine proteinase-like protein, paralytic peptide-binding protein, and protease inhibitor.
Proteomics research not only provides the opportunity for direct investigation of protein expression patterns, but also identifies many attractive candidates for further study. Two-dimensional maps of hemolymph proteins expressed during the growth and metamorphosis of the silkworm offer important insights into hemolymph function and insect metamorphosis.
1. Hemolymph was collected for analysis from the silkworm, Bombyx mori, in a series of developmental stages ranging from the second molt to the late pupa. The mean pH of larval hemolymph after collection was found to be 6.45, that of pupal hemolymph, 6.57; in vivo values may be slightly lower. Total dry solids ranged from 5.4 to 10.6 per cent. Total protein ranged from 1.2 to 5.3 per cent, increasing rapidly during the fifth instar. 2. Free amino acids were separated chromatographically and estimated. Of 19 amino acids identified, amounting collectively to 823 to 1497 mg. per 100 ml., glutamine, histidine, and lysine generally occurred in greatest amount. Tryptophan was not detected, and cystine (or cysteine) was found in only one sample. The total free amino acids account for 35 to 55 per cent of the non-protein nitrogen of the plasma. 3. Free sugars, estimated semiquantitatively on chromatograms, comprise glucose, fructose, and sucrose in total amount ranging from about 5 to 40 mg. per 100 ml. Total acid-soluble, ultrafiltrable carbohydrate, estimated as glucose by the anthrone reaction, ranged from 166 to 635 mg. per 100 ml., indicating the presence of low molecular weight sugar derivatives. 4. Inorganic phosphate amounted to 5 to 15 mg. per 100 ml., and acid-soluble organic phosphate to 100 to 200 mg. per 100 ml. The latter fraction includes several substances, of which one was tentatively identified as glucose-6-phosphate and the remainder are as yet unidentified. 5. Single samples of hemolymph were also taken from larvae of the wax moth, Galleria mellonella, and the spruce sawfly, Diprion hercyniae. These contained even higher concentrations of solutes than the silkworm samples, but with a generally similar distribution. The proportions of the free amino acids were different in each species.
Metamorphosis is a complex, highly conserved and strictly regulated development process that involves the programmed cell death of obsolete larval organs. Here we show a novel functional role for the aspartic proteinase cathepsin D during insect metamorphosis.
Cathepsin D of the silkworm Bombyx mori (BmCatD) was ecdysone-induced, differentially and spatially expressed in the larval fat body of the final instar and in the larval gut of pupal stage, and its expression led to programmed cell death. Furthermore, BmCatD was highly induced in the fat body of baculovirus-infected B. mori larvae, suggesting that this gene is involved in the induction of metamorphosis of host insects infected with baculovirus. RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated BmCatD knock-down inhibited programmed cell death of the larval fat body, resulting in the arrest of larval-pupal transformation. BmCatD RNAi also inhibited the programmed cell death of larval gut during pupal stage.
Based on these results, we concluded that BmCatD is critically involved in the programmed cell death of the larval fat body and larval gut in silkworm metamorphosis.
We demonstrated that up-regulation of gene expression of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperones (BiP, calnexin, calreticulin, ERp29) and ER membrane kinases (IRE1, PERK, ATF6) was induced by radiation in neuronal PC12 cells. However, addition of silkworm, Bombyx mori, hemolymph to irradiated cells resulted in an obvious decrease in expression of these genes, compared with a single radiation treatment. In contrast, one of the ER chaperones, “ischemia-responsive protein 94 kDa” (irp94), was up-regulated by radiation. However, addition of silkworm hemolymph resulted in no change in the expression of irp94, with an expression pattern that differed from that of ER chaperones. Based on these results, we propose that silkworm hemolymph contains factors that regulate a decrease in the expression of ER chaperones under radiation-irradiation conditions, with the exception of irp94, which is not down-regulated. We suggest that this difference in the molecular character of irp94 may provide a clue to the biological functions associated with ER stress pathways, particularly the effects of radiation.
radiation; endoplasmic reticulum (ER); chaperone; silkworm hemolymph; ischemia-responsive protein 94 (irp94)
The 42-kDa carboxyl-terminal processing fragment of Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP-142) is an anti-erythrocytic stage malaria vaccine candidate. In this study, MSP-142 was expressed by using the Bombyx mori nuclear polyhedrosis virus-silkworm expression system, and the antigenicity and immmunogenicity of the recombinant protein, Bmp42, were evaluated. The average yield of Bmp42, as determined by a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), was 379 μg/ml of infected silkworm hemolymph, which was >100-fold higher than the level attainable in cell culture medium. N-terminal amino acid sequencing revealed that Bmp42 was correctly processed in silkworm cells. Data from immunoblotting, as well as from the inhibition ELISA, suggested that the conformational B-cell epitopes of MSP-142 were recreated in Bmp42. Immunization of rabbits with Bmp42 in complete Freund's adjuvant generated high-titer antibody responses against the immunogen. Specificity analyses of the anti-Bmp42 antibodies using several recombinant MSP-119 proteins expressing variant and conserved B-cell epitopes suggested that the anti-Bmp42 antibodies recognized primarily conserved epitopes on MSP-119. Furthermore, the anti-Bmp42 antibodies were highly effective in inhibiting the in vitro growth of parasites carrying homologous or heterologous MSP-142. Our results demonstrated that the baculovirus-silkworm expression system could be employed to express biologically and immunologically active recombinant MSP-142 at elevated levels; thus, it is an attractive alternative for producing a protective MSP-142 vaccine for human use.
1. Ovarian tissue from Bombyx mori L. larvae about to pupate was cultured in Trager's (1935) salt solution and 10 per cent hemolymph, with indifferent results. Improvement of cultures was sought by modifying the culture medium. 2. To reduce the activity of the tyrosinase, hemolymph for culture medium was heated for 5 minutes at 60°C., and the coagulated protein removed. 3. A physiological solution was formulated containing cations and amino acids as they occur normally in silkworm hemolymph. In both hanging-drop and small tube cultures use of this medium brought about increased cell number, improved cell appearance, more rapid mitoses, and longer life of cultures. 4. To the solution formulated from analyses, tryptophan, cystine, cysteine, malate, fumarate, succinate, and α-ketoglutarate were added after testing individually, resulting in improved growth in cultures. 5. Use of a silkworm egg extract prepared 4 to 5 days after acid treatment produced an increase in cell number. 6. In small roller tube cultures, when the new medium was changed twice a week, the cells spread over the walls of the tube in 4 or 5 days (Figs. 8 and 9), rapid mitoses were observed after 2 weeks, and transparent active cells were present at 3 weeks. Subculturing was not attempted.
In preparing for metamorphosis insects store in their hemolymph and fat bodies a major nutrient reserve of 500-kDa hexamerins. At least three hexamerins serve this function in Lepidoptera, including arylphorin (ArH) and two high methionine proteins (M-MtH and V-MtH). Six day-old adults of Manduca sexta are shown here to have consumed over 99% of their pupal reserves of ArH and in the case of males, 99.8% of M- and V-MtH. In support of egg formation, however, females at this stage retain over 25% of their pupal reserves of the high methionine proteins. Demonstrated here are three factors contributing to the methionine protein reserves in day-6 adult females. (1) Pupal stores of the methionine proteins average 1.67 times larger in females than in males. (2) A fraction of this pupal store remains undiminished during pharate adult development: centrifugation of homogenates partitions the hexamerins into a fraction that is soluble in PBS and a smaller, particle-associated fraction that is not. Pharate adults consume most of the soluble fraction and relatively little of the particulate fraction, which then constitutes over half of the methionine protein reserves of post-eclosion females. (3) Both soluble and particle-associated reserves double in the week following eclosion and this suggests that adult females may resume the synthesis of V- and M-MtH. Though differing in amino acid sequence and antigenic properties, V-MtH and M-MtH showed no significant differences in their storage and utilization profiles.
moderately high methionine hexamerin
phosphate buffered saline
very high methionine hexamerin
Insect fat body is the organ for intermediary metabolism, comparable to vertebrate liver and adipose tissue. Larval fat body is disintegrated to individual fat body cells and then adult fat body is remodeled at the pupal stage. However, little is known about the dissociation mechanism. We find that the moth Helicoverpa armigera cathepsin L (Har-CL) is expressed heavily in the fat body and is released from fat body cells into the extracellular matrix. The inhibitor and RNAi experiments demonstrate that Har-CL functions in the fat body dissociation in H. armigera. Further, a nuclear protein is identified to be transcription factor Har-Relish, which was found in insect immune response and specifically binds to the promoter of Har-CL gene to regulate its activity. Har-Relish also responds to the steroid hormone ecdysone. Thus, the dissociation of the larval fat body is involved in the hormone (ecdysone)-transcription factor (Relish)-target gene (cathepsin L) regulatory pathway.
Insect fat body is the intermediary metabolism organ and the main source of hemolymph components, and it is crucial for insect development and metamorphosis. However, molecular mechanism for the fat body remodeling is almost unknown other than in Drosophila melanogaster. A pupal diapause species the cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Har), is a useful model to study individual or tissue remodeling, because larval fat body will remain integral in diapause-type pupae for months, whereas the dissociation of larval fat body will start on day 0 after pupation in nondiapause-type ones. Here, we find that H. armigera cathepsin L (Har-CL) is released from fat body cells into the extracellular matrix for tissue dissociation. A nuclear protein is identified to be transcription factor Har-Relish, which regulates the promoter activity of Har-CL gene. Har-Relish also responds to the steroid hormone ecdysone. Thus, a new regulatory mechanism, ecdysone-Relish-cathepsin L signaling pathway, is involved in the larval fat body dissociation.
Little is known about how the putative juvenile hormone (JH) receptor, the bHLH-PAS transcription factor MET, is involved in 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E; the molting hormone) action. Here we report that two MET proteins found in the silkworm, Bombyx mori, participate in 20E signal transduction. Met is 20E responsive and its expression peaks during molting and pupation, when the 20E titer is high. As found with results from RNAi knockdown of EcR-USP (the ecdysone receptor genes), RNAi knockdown of Met at the early wandering stage disrupts the 20E-triggered transcriptional cascade, preventing tissue remodeling (including autophagy, apoptosis and destruction of larval tissues and generation of adult structures) and causing lethality during the larval-pupal transition. MET physically interacts with EcR-USP. Moreover, MET, EcR-USP and the 20E-response element (EcRE) form a protein-DNA complex, implying that MET might modulate 20E-induced gene transcription by interacting with EcR-USP. In conclusion, the 20E induction of MET is required for the maximal action of 20E during Bombyx metamorphosis.
Insect innate immunity can be affected by juvenile hormone (JH) and 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), but how innate immunity is developmentally regulated by these two hormones in insects has not yet been elucidated. In the silkworm, Bombyx mori, JH and 20E levels are high during the final larval molt (4 M) but absent during the feeding stage of 5th instar (5 F), while JH level is low and 20E level is high during the prepupal stage (PP). Fat body produces humoral response molecules and hence is considered as the major organ involved in innate immunity.
A genome-wide microarray analysis of Bombyx fat body isolated from 4 M, 5 F and PP uncovered a large number of differentially-expressed genes. Most notably, 6 antimicrobial peptide (AMP) genes were up-regulated at 4 M versus PP suggesting that Bombyx innate immunity is developmentally regulated by the two hormones. First, JH treatment dramatically increased AMP mRNA levels and activities. Furthermore, 20E treatment exhibited inhibitory effects on AMP mRNA levels and activities, and RNA interference of the 20E receptor EcR-USP had the opposite effects to 20E treatment.
Taken together, we demonstrate that JH acts as an immune-activator while 20E inhibits innate immunity in the fat body during Bombyx postembryonic development.
The number of individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus, which is caused by insulin resistance and/or abnormal insulin secretion, is increasing worldwide, creating a strong demand for the development of more effective anti-diabetic drugs. However, animal-based screening for anti-diabetic compounds requires sacrifice of a large number of diabetic animals, which presents issues in terms of animal welfare. Here, we established a method for evaluating the anti-diabetic effects of compounds using an invertebrate animal, the silkworm, Bombyx mori. Sugar levels in silkworm hemolymph increased immediately after feeding silkworms a high glucose-containing diet, resulting in impaired growth. Human insulin and 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-β-D-ribofuranoside (AICAR), an AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activator, decreased the hemolymph sugar levels of the hyperglycemic silkworms and restored growth. Treatment of the isolated fat body with human insulin in an in vitro culture system increased total sugar in the fat body and stimulated Akt phosphorylation. These responses were inhibited by wortmannin, an inhibitor of phosphoinositide 3 kinase. Moreover, AICAR stimulated AMPK phosphorylation in the silkworm fat body. Administration of aminoguanidine, a Maillard reaction inhibitor, repressed the accumulation of Maillard reaction products (advanced glycation end-products; AGEs) in the hyperglycemic silkworms and restored growth, suggesting that the growth defect of hyperglycemic silkworms is caused by AGE accumulation in the hemolymph. Furthermore, we identified galactose as a hypoglycemic compound in jiou, an herbal medicine for diabetes, by monitoring its hypoglycemic activity in hyperglycemic silkworms. These results suggest that the hyperglycemic silkworm model is useful for identifying anti-diabetic drugs that show therapeutic effects in mammals.
A nuclear extract was prepared for the larval fat body of the silkworm, Bombyx mori, and a homologous in vitro system was developed for the transcription of major plasma protein gene of B.mori. The gene for SP1, a storage protein of B.mori, and adenovirus 2 major late (AdML) gene were faithfully transcribed under relatively high template concentrations in the nuclear extract prepared from the fat body of female fifth instar larvae. Complete inhibition of gene transcription by a low concentration of alpha-amanitin indicated that the reaction is catalyzed by RNA polymerase II. At low template concentration (0.6 nM) the fat body nuclear extract transcribed the homologous SP1 gene with high efficiency, while AdML gene and larval cuticle protein gene were only barely transcribed in the same extract. The SP1 gene deleted upstream of the TATA box sequence showed little effect on transcription, whereas mutations that destroy TATA sequence totally abolished the gene transcription. These results suggested that the core promoter region of SP1 gene spanning between positions -44 and +16 is essential for the fat body specific transcription in vitro.
1-deoxynojirimycin (1-DNJ) contents in the silkworm, Bombyx mori, at different developmental stages and tissues were investigated by using reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. The 1-DNJ contents of silkworm larvae change significantly with their developmental stages. The male larvae showed higher accumulation efficiency of 1-DNJ than the females and also a significant variation was observed among the silkworm strains. The present results show that tissue distribution of 1-DNJ was significantly higher in blood, digestive juice, and alimentary canal, but no 1-DNJ was observed in the silkgland. Moreover, 1-DNJ was not found in silkworms fed with artificial diet that does not contain mulberry leaf powder. This proves that silkworms obtain 1-DNJ from mulberry leaves; they could not synthesize 1-DNJ by themselves. The accumulation and excretion of 1-DNJ change periodically during the larval stage. There was no 1-DNJ in the newly-hatched larvae and 1-DNJ was mainly accumulated during the early and middle stages of every instar, while excreted at later stages of larval development. Further, it is possible to extract 1-DNJ from the larval feces and it is optimal to develop the 1-DNJ related products for diabetic auxiliary therapy.
Silkworm; 1-deoxynojirimycin (1-DNJ); Accumulation;
The minichromosome maintenance protein (MCM) family is involved in the regulatory role of DNA replication in eukaryotic organisms. A cDNA encoding of an MCM of the silkworm, Bombyx mori L. (Lepidoptera: Bombycidae), was cloned by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and sequenced. The resultant amino acid sequence and phylogenetic analysis revealed high identity to MCM, and specifically to MCM7, of vertebrates and invertebrates. An RT-PCR showed that the bmMCM7 transcript was present in the ovaries, testes, silk glands, and fat bodies of larval silkworms. Expression plasmids were transformed into competent Escherichia coli and overexpressed. This is the first report on the identification of MCM helicase of the silkworm, B. mori.
DNA replication; helicase
Hexamerins are high molecular-weight proteins found in the hemolymph of insects and have been proposed to function as storage proteins. In previous studies, two Musca domestica hexamerins, designated Hex-L and Hex-F were characterized. Hex-L is synthesized exclusively by the larval fat bodies, is secreted into the hemolymph and likely provides a source of amino acids and energy during metamorphosis. Hex-F synthesis is induced by a proteinaceous meal and occurs only in the adult insect fat bodies. Hex-F also is secreted into the hemolymph and it has been suggested that in females it may be an amino acid reservoir to be used during the final stages of egg formation. Genomic clones containing full-length copies of the genes MdHexL1 and MdHexF1, encoding subunits of the larval and the adult female hexamerin, respectively, were isolated. Complete nucleotide sequences, including the 5′-end untranscribed regions, were determined and analyzed for each of the genes. Comparisons of the conceptual translation products of the cloned genes indicated that MdHexL1 and MdHexF1 are related to the larval serum proteins (LSP) 1 and 2 of Calliphora vicina and Drosophila melanogaster. DNA fragments containing the putative promoters of the two hexamerin genes were compared and cloned into a plasmid vector so as to drive the expression of the GFP reporter gene. The constructs were assayed in vitro in transfected S2 Drosophila melanogaster cells demonstrating that the cloned M. domestica DNA fragments exhibit promoter activity.
Abbreviation:Hex L, Hex FLarval and female hexamerins respectivelyLSPLarval serum proteinMdHexL1, MdHexF1hexamerins of Musca domestica
Insect hexamerins have long been known as storage proteins that are massively synthesized by the larval fat body and secreted into hemolymph. Following the larval-to-pupal molt, hexamerins are sequestered by the fat body via receptor-mediated endocytosis, broken up, and used as amino acid resources for metamorphosis. In the honey bee, the transcript and protein subunit of a hexamerin, HEX 70a, were also detected in ovaries and testes. Aiming to identify the subcellular localization of HEX 70a in the female and male gonads, we used a specific antibody in whole mount preparations of ovaries and testes for analysis by confocal laser-scanning microscopy. Intranuclear HEX 70a foci were evidenced in germ and somatic cells of ovarioles and testioles of pharate-adult workers and drones, suggesting a regulatory or structural role. Following injection of the thymidine analog EdU we observed co-labeling with HEX 70a in ovariole cell nuclei, inferring possible HEX 70a involvement in cell proliferation. Further support to this hypothesis came from an injection of anti-HEX 70a into newly ecdysed queen pupae where it had a negative effect on ovariole thickening. HEX 70a foci were also detected in ovarioles of egg laying queens, particularly in the nuclei of the highly polyploid nurse cells and in proliferating follicle cells. Additional roles for this storage protein are indicated by the detection of nuclear HEX 70a foci in post-meiotic spermatids and spermatozoa. Taken together, these results imply undescribed roles for HEX 70a in the developing gonads of the honey bee and raise the possibility that other hexamerins may also have tissue specific functions.
Fat body cells of silkmoth pupae (Hyalophora cecropia ) contain granules, showing a less dense outer zone and a denser, often crystalline, inner portion appear after cocoon spinning and increase until the larval-pupal ecdysis; more granules are formed in females than in males. Urate granules, appearing fibrous in internal structure, first form about the same time, but their accumulation is more gradual, and continues in the pupa. Both types have been isolated by centrifugation. Protein granules dissolve in buffers to yield proteins 1 and 2, with distinct electrophoretic and antigenic properties. These proteins have been isolated individually from pupal fat body extracts by using their different thermal stabilities in phosphate buffer containing MgCl2 and (NH4)2SO4, respectively, and purification was completed by gel chromatography. Protein 1 has a molecular weight of 480,000 and a subunit of 85,000 daltons, while protein 2 gives values of 530,000 and 89,000, respectively. Their amino acid compositions are similar but distinct. Proteins 1 and 2 accumulate in the hemolymph, beginning 3 days before spinning, reach maximal levels at spinning, and then decline in the hemolymph while granules are formed in the fat body, although the total hemolymph protein concentration does not decline at this time. It is concluded that the fat body of the late, feeding larva synthesizes two related "storage proteins" and secretes them in partially crystalline granules as protein reserves for metamorphosis.
Juvenile hormone-binding protein and PBMHP-12, two major 30 kDa proteins, have been isolated and purified from the haemolymph of B. mori. The proteins were crystallized and the crystals diffracted X-rays to 2.9 and 1.3 Å resolution, respectively.
Juvenile hormone-binding protein (JHBP) and the low-molecular-mass lipoprotein PBMHP-12 belong to a group of 30 kDa proteins that comprise the major protein component of the haemolymph specific to the fifth-instar larvae stage of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori L. Proteins from this group are often essential for the development of the insect. In a project aimed at crystallographic characterization of B. mori JHBP (BmJHBP), it was copurified together with PBMHP-12. Eventually, the two proteins were isolated and crystallized separately. The BmJHBP crystals were orthorhombic (space group C2221) and the PBMHP-12 crystals were triclinic. The crystals diffracted X-rays to 2.9 Å (BmJHBP) and 1.3 Å (PBMHP-12) resolution.
juvenile hormone-binding protein; PBMHP-12; Bombyx mori; haemolymph
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous non-coding genes that participate in post-transcription regulation by either degrading mRNA or blocking its translation. It is considered to be very important in regulating insect development and metamorphosis. We conducted a large-scale screening for miRNA genes in the silkworm Bombyx mori using sequence-by-synthesis (SBS) deep sequencing of mixed RNAs from egg, larval, pupal, and adult stages. Of 2,227,930 SBS tags, 1,144,485 ranged from 17 to 25 nt, corresponding to 256,604 unique tags. Among these non-redundant tags, 95,184 were matched to the silkworm genome. We identified 3,750 miRNA candidate genes using a computational pipeline combining RNAfold and TripletSVM algorithms. We confirmed 354 miRNA genes using miRNA microarrays and then performed expression profile analysis on these miRNAs for all developmental stages. While 106 miRNAs were expressed in all stages, 248 miRNAs were egg- and pupa-specific, suggesting that insect miRNAs play a significant role in embryogenesis and metamorphosis. We selected eight miRNAs for quantitative RT-PCR analysis; six of these were consistent with our microarray results. In addition, we searched for orthologous miRNA genes in mammals, a nematode, and other insects and found that most silkworm miRNAs are conserved in insects, whereas only a small number of silkworm miRNAs has orthologs in mammals and the nematode. These results suggest that there are many miRNAs unique to insects.
Adipokinetic hormone (AKH) is the main hormone involved in the acute regulation of hemolymph lipid levels in several insects. In adult Manduca sexta AKH promotes a rapid phosphorylation of “Lipid storage protein-1”, Lsd1, and a concomitant activation of the rate of hydrolysis of triglycerides by the main fat body lipase. In contrast, in the larval stage AKH modulates hemolymph trehalose levels. The present study describes the sequence of a full length Lsd1 cDNA obtained from M. sexta fat body and investigates a possible link between Lsd1 expression and the distinct effects of AKH in larva and adult insects. The deduced protein sequence showed a high degree of conservation compared to other insect Lsd1s, particularly in the central region of the protein (amino acids 211–276) in which the predicted lipid binding helices are found. Lsd1 was absent in feeding larva and its abundance progressively increased as the insect develops from the non-feeding larva to adult. Contrasting with the levels of protein, Lsd1 transcripts were maximal during the feeding larval stages. The subcellular distribution of Lsd1 showed that the protein exclusively localizes in the lipid droplets. Lsd1 was found in the fat body but it was undetectable in lipid droplets isolated from oocytes or embryos. The present study suggests a link between AKH-stimulated lipolysis in the fat body and the expression of Lsd1.
Lipid storage droplet protein; Lsd; fat body; Manduca sexta; lipolysis; lipid mobilization; adipokinetic hormone; AKH
In most insect species, a variety of serine protease inhibitors (SPIs) have been found in multiple tissues, including integument, gonad, salivary gland, and hemolymph, and are required for preventing unwanted proteolysis. These SPIs belong to different families and have distinct inhibitory mechanisms. Herein, we predicted and characterized potential SPI genes based on the genome sequences of silkworm, Bombyx mori. As a result, a total of eighty SPI genes were identified in B. mori. These SPI genes contain 10 kinds of SPI domains, including serpin, Kunitz_BPTI, Kazal, TIL, amfpi, Bowman-Birk, Antistasin, WAP, Pacifastin, and alpha-macroglobulin. Sixty-three SPIs contain single SPI domain while the others have at least two inhibitor units. Some SPIs also contain non-inhibitor domains for protein-protein interactions, including EGF, ADAM_spacer, spondin_N, reeler, TSP_1 and other modules. Microarray analysis showed that fourteen SPI genes from lineage-specific TIL family and Group F of serpin family had enriched expression in the silk gland. The roles of SPIs in resisting pathogens were investigated in silkworms when they were infected by four pathogens. Microarray and qRT-PCR experiments revealed obvious up-regulation of 8, 4, 3 and 3 SPI genes after infection with Escherichia coli, Bacillus bombysepticus, Beauveria bassiana or B. mori nuclear polyhedrosis virus (BmNPV), respectively. On the contrary, 4, 11, 7 and 9 SPI genes were down-regulated after infection with E. coli, B. bombysepticus, B. bassiana or BmNPV, respectively. These results suggested that these SPI genes may be involved in resistance to pathogenic microorganisms. These findings may provide valuable information for further clarifying the roles of SPIs in the development, immune defence, and efficient synthesis of silk gland protein.
Lepidoptera insects have a novel development process comprising several metamorphic stages during their life cycle compared with vertebrate animals. Unlike most Lepidoptera insects that live on nectar during the adult stage, the Bombyx mori silkworm adults do not eat anything and die after egg-laying. In addition, the midguts of Lepidoptera insects produce antimicrobial proteins during the wandering stage when the larval tissues undergo numerous changes. The exact mechanisms responsible for these phenomena remain unclear.
We used the silkworm as a model and performed genome-wide transcriptional profiling of the midgut between the feeding stage and the wandering stage. Many genes concerned with metabolism, digestion, and ion and small molecule transportation were down-regulated during the wandering stage, indicating that the wandering stage midgut loses its normal functions. Microarray profiling, qRT-PCR and western blot proved the production of antimicrobial proteins (peptides) in the midgut during the wandering stage. Different genes of the immune deficiency (Imd) pathway were up-regulated during the wandering stage. However, some key genes belonging to the Toll pathway showed no change in their transcription levels. Unlike butterfly (Pachliopta aristolochiae), the midgut of silkworm moth has a layer of cells, indicating that the development of midgut since the wandering stage is not usual. Cell division in the midgut was observed only for a short time during the wandering stage. However, there was extensive cell apoptosis before pupation. The imbalance of cell division and apoptosis probably drives the continuous degeneration of the midgut in the silkworm since the wandering stage.
This study provided an insight into the mechanism of the degeneration of the silkworm midgut and the production of innate immunity-related proteins during the wandering stage. The imbalance of cell division and apoptosis induces irreversible degeneration of the midgut. The Imd pathway probably regulates the production of antimicrobial peptides in the midgut during the wandering stage.
In insects, hemocytes are considered as the only source of plasma prophenoloxidase (PPO). PPO also exists in the hemocytes of the hematopoietic organ that is connected to the wing disc of Bombyx mori. It is unknown whether there are other cells or tissues that can produce PPO and release it into the hemolymph besides circulating hemocytes. In this study, we use the silkworm as a model to explore this possibility. Through tissue staining and biochemical assays, we found that wing discs contain PPO that can be released into the culture medium in vitro. An in situ assay showed that some cells in the cavity of wing discs have PPO1 and PPO2 mRNA. We conclude that the hematopoietic organ may wrongly release hemocytes into wing discs since they are connected through many tubes as repost in previous paper. In wing discs, the infiltrating hemocytes produce and release PPO probably through cell lysis and the PPO is later transported into hemolymph. Therefore, this might be another source of plasma PPO in the silkworm: some infiltrated hemocytes sourced from the hematopoietic organ release PPO via wing discs.
Our previous studies suggest silkworms can be used as model animals instead of mammals in pharmacologic studies to develop novel therapeutic medicines. We examined the usefulness of the silkworm larvae Bombyx mori as an animal model for evaluating tissue injury induced by various cytotoxic drugs. Drugs that induce hepatotoxic effects in mammals were injected into the silkworm hemocoel, and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity was measured in the hemolymph 1 day later.
Injection of CCl4 into the hemocoel led to an increase in ALT activity. The increase in ALT activity was attenuated by pretreatment with N-acetyl-L-cysteine. Injection of benzoic acid derivatives, ferric sulfate, sodium valproate, tetracycline, amiodarone hydrochloride, methyldopa, ketoconazole, pemoline (Betanamin), N-nitroso-fenfluramine, and D-galactosamine also increased ALT activity.
These findings indicate that silkworms are useful for evaluating the effects of chemicals that induce tissue injury in mammals.
Silkworm; Alanine aminotransferase; Tissue injury; Animal model
The silkworm, Bombyx mori, is an important economic insect for silk production. However, many of the mature peptides relevant to its various life stages remain unknown. Using RP-HPLC, MALDI-TOF MS, and previously identified peptides from B. mori and other insects in the transcriptome database, we created peptide profiles showing a total of 6 ion masses that could be assigned to peptides in eggs, including one previously unidentified peptide. A further 49 peptides were assigned to larval brains. 17 new mature peptides were identified in isolated masses. 39 peptides were found in pupal brains with 8 unidentified peptides. 48 were found in adult brains with 12 unidentified peptides. These new unidentified peptides showed highly significant matches in all MS analysis. These matches were then searched against the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database to provide new annotations for these mature peptides. In total, 59 mature peptides in 19 categories were found in the brains of silkworms at the larval, pupal, and adult stages. These results demonstrate that peptidomic variation across different developmental stages can be dramatic. Moreover, the corpora cardiaca-corpora allata (CC-CA) complex was examined during the fifth larval instar. A total of 41 ion masses were assigned to peptides.