Comparative analysis of the silk gland transcriptomes between the domestic and wild silkworms

Shou-Min Fang; Bi-Li Hu; Qiu-Zhong Zhou; Quan-You Yu; Ze Zhang
February 2015
BMC Genomics;2015, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Background: Bombyx mori was domesticated from the Chinese wild silkworm, Bombyx mandarina. Wild and domestic silkworms are good models in which to investigate genes related to silk protein synthesis that may be differentially expressed in silk glands, because their silk productions are very different. Here we used the mRNA deep sequencing (RNA-seq) approach to identify the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the transcriptomes of the median/posterior silk glands of two domestic and two wild silkworms. Results: The results indicated that about 58% of the total genes were expressed (reads per kilo bases per million reads (RPKM) ≥ 1) in each silkworm. Comparisons of the domestic and wild silkworm transcriptomes revealed 32 DEGs, of which 16 were up-regulated in the domestic silkworms compared with in the wild silkworms, and the other 16 were up-regulated in the wild silkworms compared with in the domestic silkworms. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was performed for 15 randomly selected DEGs in domestic versus wild silkworms. The qPCR results were mostly consistent with the expression levels determined from the RNA-seq data. Based on a Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis and manual annotation, five of the up-regulated DEGs in the wild silkworms were predicted to be involved in immune response, and seven of the up-regulated DEGs were related to the GO term "oxidoreductase activity", which is associated with antioxidant systems. In the domestic silkworms, the up-regulated DEGs were related mainly to tissue development, secretion of proteins and metabolism. Conclusions: The up-regulated DEGs in the two domestic silkworms may be involved mainly in the highly efficient biosynthesis and secretion of silk proteins, while the up-regulated DEGs in the two wild silkworms may play more important roles in tolerance to pathogens and environment adaptation. Our results provide a foundation for understanding the molecular mechanisms of the silk production difference between domestic and wild silkworms.


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