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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2016 Aug;75:24-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2016.05.005. Epub 2016 May 13.

Structure, evolution, and expression of antimicrobial silk proteins, seroins in Lepidoptera.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Silkworm Genome Biology, Southwest University, 216, Tiansheng Road, Beibei, Chongqing 400716, China; Chongqing Engineering and Technology Research Center for Novel Silk Materials, Southwest University, 2, Tiansheng Road, Beibei, Chongqing 400716, China.
2
State Key Laboratory of Silkworm Genome Biology, Southwest University, 216, Tiansheng Road, Beibei, Chongqing 400716, China; Chongqing Engineering and Technology Research Center for Novel Silk Materials, Southwest University, 2, Tiansheng Road, Beibei, Chongqing 400716, China. Electronic address: zhaop@swu.edu.cn.

Abstract

The silks of silkworm and waxworm contain abundant antimicrobial proteins, including protease inhibitors and seroins. Protease inhibitors have antifungal activities, whereas seroins have antiviral and antibacterial activities. In order to obtain insights into the structure, evolution, and expression of seroins, we performed an extensive survey based on the available genome, transcriptome, and expressed sequence tags datasets. Sixty-four seroins were identified in 32 lepidopteran species. The phylogenetic and structural analyses revealed that seroins can be classified into five subfamilies: seroin 1, seroin 2, seroin 3, seroin 2 + 1, and seroin 3 + 3. It is interesting that seroin 2 + 1 contains two tandem seroin domains, seroin 2 and seroin 1, whereas seroin 3 + 3 has two tandem seroin 3 domains. Each seroin domain contains a proline-rich N-terminal motif and a conserved C-terminal motif. The transcriptome and EST data indicated that seroin 1 and seroin 2 genes were expressed in the silk gland but seroin 3 genes were not. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR and western blot analyses suggested that seroin 1 and seroin 2 were constantly accumulated in the silk gland of silkworm during the fifth instar, and then secreted into cocoon silk during spinning. Immunofluorescence analyses indicated that seroin 1 was secreted into the fibroin and sericin layers, whereas seroin 2 protein was only secreted into the sericin layer. However, the antimicrobial activity of seroin 2 was more effective than that of seroin 1. The presence of seroin 1 in the fibroin layer suggested that this protein not only acts as an antimicrobial protein, but might also play a role in the assembly and secretion of fibroins. Seroin 3, which was first identified here, might be related to pheromone synthesis or recognition, as it was highly expressed in male antennae and in the pheromone gland.

KEYWORDS:

Bombyx mori; Evolution; Expression; Lepidoptera; Seroin; Silk; Structure

PMID:
27180727
DOI:
10.1016/j.ibmb.2016.05.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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