Identification and comparison of long non-coding RNAs in the silk gland between the domestic and wild silkworms

Under long-term artificial selection, the domestic silkworm (Bombyx mori) has increased its silk yield tremendously in comparison with its wild progenitor, Bombyx mandarina. However, the molecular mechanism of silk yield increase is still unknown. Comparative analysis of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) may provide some insights into understanding this phenotypic variation. In this study, using the RNA-seq data of silk gland in the domestic and wild silkworms, researchers at Chongqing University identified 600 lncRNAs in the silk gland of silkworm. Compared with protein-coding genes, the silk gland lncRNA genes tend to have fewer exon numbers, shorter transcript length and lower GC-content. Moreover, they found that 3 lnRNA genes are significantly and differentially expressed between the domestic and wild silkworms. The potential targets of two differentially expressed lncRNAs (DELs) (dw4sg_0040 and dw4sg_0483) and the expression correlated genes with the two DELs are mainly enriched in the related processes of silk protein translation. This implies that these DELs may affect the phenotypic variation in silk yield between the domestic and wild silkworms through the post-transcriptional regulation of silk protein.

Functional enrichment of the expression correlated genes of DELs

lncRNA

(A) Venn diagrams of the expression correlated genes in the domestic silkworm, wild silkworm and domestic & wild silkworms. Blue circle: domestic, red circle: wild, green circle: domestic & wild. Yellow indicates that the expression correlated genes with dw4sg_0040 shared by the domestic and wild silkworms. Turquoise indicates the expression correlated genes with dw4sg_0040 only in wild silkworm. Royalblue indicates the expression correlated genes with dw4sg_0483 only in the domestic silkworm. Magenta indicates the expression correlated genes with dw4sg_0483 shared by the domestic and wild silkworms. (B) the GO enrichment of the expression correlated genes of DELs. (C) KEGG enrichment of the expression correlated genes of DELs. The meanings of color bars are the same as those in (A).

Zhou QZ, Fang SM, Zhang Q, Yu QY, Zhang Z. (2017) Identification and comparison of long non-coding RNAs in the silk gland between the domestic and wild silkworms. Insect Sci [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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