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Int J Biol Sci 2018; 14(11):1472-1482. doi:10.7150/ijbs.26227

Research Paper

Ecdysone oxidase and 3-dehydroecdysone-3β-reductase contribute to the synthesis of ecdysone during early embryonic development of the silkworm

Cheng-Fang Wang, Ze Zhang, Wei Sun

Laboratory of Evolutionary and Functional Genomics, School of Life Sciences, Chongqing University, Chongqing 401331, China

Abstract

Maternal ecdysteroids regulate a variety of cellular processes during early embryonic development of insects, yet little is known about the genes involved in the biosynthesis of these hormones. In this study, we found that ecdysone oxidase (EO) gene, which encodes an enzyme to catalyze ecdysone (or 20-hydroxyecdysone, 20E) to 3-dehydroecdysone (3DE), was highly expressed in the mature ovaries of the domestic silkworm, Bombyx mori. B. mori EO (BmEO) was localized in the cytoplasm around the yolk granules of oocyte. Furthermore, the down-regulated expression of the BmEO gene using RNA interference could not affect normal development of the female silkworm, but lower the 20E titer and hatching rate of its offspring. Rescue experiments by injecting the product (3DE) of BmEO can significantly elevate the 20E level and hatching rate of the BmEO RNAi offspring. Meanwhile, during embryonic stage, the down-regulating expression of 3DE-3β-reductase, which can reduce 3DE into ecdysone, also lowered the 20E titer. Taken together, our results prove that 3DE can be synthesized from ecdysone in maternal ovary yolk granules, and then the maternal 3DE is converted into active ecdysone during the early embryonic development of offspring. Thus, our findings reveal a new pathway to explain the origin of high 20E level before the formation the prothoracic gland in the silkworm.

Keywords: ecdysone, ecdysone oxidase, 3DE-3β-reductase, RNA interference, silkworm

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How to cite this article:
Wang CF, Zhang Z, Sun W. Ecdysone oxidase and 3-dehydroecdysone-3β-reductase contribute to the synthesis of ecdysone during early embryonic development of the silkworm. Int J Biol Sci 2018; 14(11):1472-1482. doi:10.7150/ijbs.26227. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v14p1472.htm