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J Insect Physiol. 2006 Jun;52(6):569-75. Epub 2006 Mar 20.

ERK/MAPK regulates ecdysteroid and sorbitol metabolism for embryonic diapause termination in the silkworm, Bombyx mori.

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Department of Applied Biology, Faculty of Textile Science and Technology, Shinshu University, Ueda, Nagano 386-8567, Japan.


The eggs of the silkworm Bombyx mori undergo a state of suspended overt development and diminished metabolism called "diapause" to escape adverse environmental conditions. Termination of Bombyx embryonic diapause requires 2-3 months of low temperature (5 degrees C), but the molecular mechanisms underlying diapause termination are unknown. Diapause termination requires a decrease in the sorbitol concentration, which arrests embryonic development, and the secretion factors from yolk cells that promote embryonic development. In the present study, we report that 20-hydroxyecdysone promoted the development of denuded embryos and that ecdysteroid-phosphate phosphatase (EPPase), which is a key enzyme for active ecdysteroid production, was induced by incubation of diapausing eggs at 5 degrees C. In dechorionated egg cultures, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), which is activated by incubating diapausing eggs at 5 degrees C, regulated sorbitol-glycogen conversion, ecdysteroid secretion via gene transcription of key enzymes, sorbitol dehydrogenase-2, and EPPase, suggesting that ERK has a key role in diapause termination.

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