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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2009 Feb;39(2):152-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2008.10.003. Epub 2008 Oct 22.

A single-base deletion in an ABC transporter gene causes white eyes, white eggs, and translucent larval skin in the silkworm w-3(oe) mutant.

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Division of Insect Sciences, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Ibaraki 305-8634, Japan.


The w-3(oe) silkworm mutant has white eyes and eggs due to the absence of ommochrome pigments in the eye pigment cells and serosa cells. The mutant is also characterized by translucent larval skin resulting from a deficiency in the transportation of uric acid, which acts as a white pigment in larval epidermal cells. A silkworm homolog of the fruitfly white gene, Bmwh3, a member of ATP-binding cassette transporter superfamily, was mapped on the w-3 locus. The w-3(oe) mutant has a single-base deletion in exon 2 and a premature stop codon at the 5' end of exon 3. These results show that w-3 is equivalent to Bmwh3 and is responsible for the transportation of ommochrome precursors and uric acid into pigment granules and urate granules, respectively.

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