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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2007 Feb;34(2):209-18. Epub 2006 Dec 12.

The Pitx homeobox gene in Bombyx mori: regulation of DH-PBAN neuropeptide hormone gene expression.

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


The diapause hormone-pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide gene, DH-PBAN, is expressed exclusively in seven pairs of DH-PBAN-producing neurosecretory cells (DHPCs) on the terminally differentiated processes of the subesophageal ganglion (SG). To help reveal the regulatory mechanisms of cell-specific DH-PBAN expression, we identified a cis-regulatory element that regulates expression in DHPCs using the recombinant AcNPV-mediated gene transfer system and a gel-mobility shift assay. Bombyx mori Pitx (BmPitx), a bicoid-like homeobox transcription factor, binds this element and activates DH-PBAN expression. The BmPitx was expressed in various tissues, including DHPCs in the SG. Suppression of DH-PBAN expression by silencing of the BmPitx successfully induced non-diapaused eggs from a diapause egg producer. To the best of our knowledge, this report is the first to identify a neuropeptide-encoding gene as a target of the Pitx transcriptional regulator in invertebrates. Thus, it is tempting to speculate that functional conservation of Pitx family members on neuropeptide gene expression occurs through a "combinational code mechanism" in both vertebrate and invertebrate in neuroendocrine systems.

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