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Insect Mol Biol. 2013 Jun;22(3):273-83. doi: 10.1111/imb.12019. Epub 2013 Mar 18.

Functional analysis of 30K proteins during silk gland degeneration by a caspase-dependent pathway in Bombyx.

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  • 1Department of Applied Biology, School of Biology and Basic Medical Sciences, Medical College of Soochow University, Suzhou, China.


The 30K proteins are involved with important functions in the growth and development of Bombyx mori. In this study, the synthesis and regulation of 30K proteins were examined during the degeneration of Bombyx silk glands. On day 3 of the fifth instar, the protein level of 30Kc19 was low, whereas the silk proteins were rapidly synthesized. However, synthesis and accumulation of the 30Kc19 protein significantly increased at the prepupal stage and on day 1 of the pupal stage. At this stage, the silk gland cells were filled with 30Kc19 and genomic DNA. Moreover, the transcript levels of the 30K-encoding genes, including 30Kc6, 30Kc12, 30Kc19 and 30Kc23 were up-regulated during the degeneration of the Bombyx silk glands. During the time that the levels of the 30Kc19 protein were significantly up-regulated, it is notable that the transcript levels of the BmAtg8, BmAtg6 and BmDronc genes dramatically increased to regulate the programmed cell death of this gland. On day 1 of the pupal stage, intense fragmentation of genomic DNA occurred in the silk gland cells, and the putative active form of caspase was detected in the cytoplasm, showing the complete degradation of the silk glands in one day. In conclusion, the 30K proteins are synthesized in high concentrations, while proteolysis mediates silk gland degeneration in Bombyx by a caspase-dependent pathway. We propose that the 30K proteins may be nutrients and energy vectors to be absorbed by the developing tissues of pupae or moths.

© 2013 Royal Entomological Society.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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