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J Insect Physiol. 2004 Nov;50(11):1053-64.

Demarcation of diapause development by cold and its relation to time-interval activation of TIME-ATPase in eggs of the silkworm, Bombyx mori.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Faculty of Agriculture, Insect Biochemistry and Biotechnology, United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Tottori University, Koyama, Tottori 680-8553, Japan.


We investigated the mode of action of winter cold in the termination of diapause by investigating Time-Interval-Measuring Enzyme (TIME). First, we determined the period of cold required for the completion of diapause development. Synchronously developing egg batches of a pure strain (C108 Bombyx mori silkworm) were used to minimize variations in hatching time. Hatching occurred with only 18 days chilling at 5 degrees C when the incubation at 25 degrees C after the chilling was elongated. The 18-day period was much shorter than we expected; diapause in B. mori is known to terminate completely with about 100 days of chilling. Even in such a short period of chilling, no sporadic hatching occurred. Moreover, we determined that a temperature-insensitive stage, which we called "Neboke", followed the short cold-requiring stage. Thus, the stage of diapause development was demarcated from other stages of diapause. While the length of diapause development was elongated when chilling was delayed after oviposition, the Neboke stage length was invariant. Cold evidently exerts its effect only on diapause development. When TIME was purified from eggs and chilled in test tubes, a transitory burst of its ATPase activity occurred at a time equivalent to shortly before the completion of diapause development; this was an interval-timer activation. The mechanism by which cold activates TIME to measure the time interval may help explain in biochemical terms the insect's adaptation to its seasonal environments.

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