Main content area

Alternative splicing of the antitrypsin gene in the silkworm, Bombyx mori

Liu, Hui-fen, Li, Yi-nü, Jia, Ru, Cui, Wei-zheng, Mu, Zhi-mei, Zhang, Zhi-fang
Molecular biology reports 2011 v.38 no.4 pp. 2793-2799
testes, alternative splicing, silkworms, bioinformatics, expressed sequence tags, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, fat body, Bombyx mori, larvae, temperature, exons, integument, introns, starvation
Alternative splicing plays an important role in expanding protein diversity. In the present study, different splice variants of the antitrypsin gene (sw-AT) in the silkworm were identified by bioinformatics analyses using expressed sequence tags and genomic information. Four splice variants were obtained by RT-PCR with suitably designed primers, confirmed by sequencing, and designated as sw-AT-1, sw-AT-2, sw-AT-3, and sw-AT-4. The sw-AT gene contains 10 exons and nine introns. The splice variants differ in exon 9, with sw-AT-1, sw-AT-2, and sw-AT-3 using different versions of the exon, namely exon 9a, 9b, and 9c, respectively. In sw-AT-4, exon 9 consists of the combination of exons 9b and 9c. The expression patterns of the four isoforms in different tissues, at different developmental stages, and under different stress conditions (temperature, starvation, and mycotic infection) were characterized and quantified. The sw-AT isoforms showed tissue-specific expression patterns, with sw-AT-1 present in almost all tissues and sw-AT-4 found in only a few tissues. The four isoforms were predominantly expressed in the fat body, body wall, and testes of larvae, and exhibited similar expression profiles during development of the fat body. Among the stress treatments, low temperature had the greatest effect on isoform expression, and expression was also upregulated with mycotic infection.