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Open Access Research article

Expression profile of cuticular genes of silkworm, Bombyx mori

Jiubo Liang1, Liang Zhang2, Zhonghuai Xiang1 and Ningjia He1*

Author Affiliations

1 The Key Sericultural Laboratory of Agricultural Ministry, College of Biotechnology, Southwest University, Beibei, Chongqing 400715, China

2 National Engineering Center for Beijing Biochip Technology, Life Science Parkway, Changping District, Beijing 102206, China

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:173  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-173

Published: 15 March 2010



Insect cuticle plays essential roles in many physiological functions. During molting and metamorphosis tremendous changes occur in silkworm cuticle where multiple proteins exist and genes encoding them constitute about 1.5% of all Bombyx mori genes.


In an effort to determine their expression profiles, a microarray-based investigation was carried out using mRNA collected from larvae to pupae. The results showed that a total of 6676 genes involved in various functions and physiological pathways were activated. The vast majority (93%) of cuticular protein genes were expressed in selected stages with varying expression patterns. There was no correlation between expression patterns and the presence of conserved motifs. Twenty-six RR genes distributed in chromosome 22 were co-expressed at the larval and wandering stages. The 2 kb upstream regions of these genes were further analyzed and three putative elements were identified.


Data from the present study provide, for the first time, a comprehensive expression profile of genes in silkworm epidermal tissues and evidence that putative elements exist to allow massive production of mRNAs from specific cuticular protein genes.