Open Access Open Badges Research article

MicroRNA expression profiling of the fifth-instar posterior silk gland of Bombyx mori

Jisheng Li12, Yimei Cai3, Lupeng Ye1, Shaohua Wang1, Jiaqian Che1, Zhengying You1, Jun Yu3* and Boxiong Zhong1*

Author Affiliations

1 College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Hangzhou 310058, P.R. China

2 Institute of Sericulture, Chengde Medical University, Chengde 067000, P.R. China

3 Key Laboratory of Genome Sciences and Information, Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:410  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-410

Published: 29 May 2014



The growth and development of the posterior silk gland and the biosynthesis of the silk core protein at the fifth larval instar stage of Bombyx mori are of paramount importance for silk production.


Here, aided by next-generation sequencing and microarry assay, we profile 1,229 microRNAs (miRNAs), including 728 novel miRNAs and 110 miRNA/miRNA* duplexes, of the posterior silk gland at the fifth larval instar. Target gene prediction yields 14,222 unique target genes from 1,195 miRNAs. Functional categorization classifies the targets into complex pathways that include both cellular and metabolic processes, especially protein synthesis and processing.


The enrichment of target genes in the ribosome-related pathway indicates that miRNAs may directly regulate translation. Our findings pave a way for further functional elucidation of these miRNAs and their targets in silk production.

MicroRNA; Silkworm; Posterior silk gland; Target gene