Volume 42 Issue 5
Sep.  2021
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Yong Cui, Zu-Lian Liu, Cen-Cen Li, Xiang-Min Wei, Yong-Jian Lin, Lang You, Zi-Dan Zhu, Hui-Min Deng, Qi-Li Feng, Yong-Ping Huang, Hui Xiang. Role of juvenile hormone receptor Methoprene-tolerant 1 in silkworm larval brain development and domestication. Zoological Research, 2021, 42(5): 637-649. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2021.126
Citation: Yong Cui, Zu-Lian Liu, Cen-Cen Li, Xiang-Min Wei, Yong-Jian Lin, Lang You, Zi-Dan Zhu, Hui-Min Deng, Qi-Li Feng, Yong-Ping Huang, Hui Xiang. Role of juvenile hormone receptor Methoprene-tolerant 1 in silkworm larval brain development and domestication. Zoological Research, 2021, 42(5): 637-649. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2021.126

Role of juvenile hormone receptor Methoprene-tolerant 1 in silkworm larval brain development and domestication

doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2021.126
#Authors contributed equally to this work
Funds:  This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (32070411, 31720103916, 31330071, 31672494), Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (2019A1515011012), and Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB11010600)
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  • The insect brain is the central part of the neurosecretory system, which controls morphology, physiology, and behavior during the insect’s lifecycle. Lepidoptera are holometabolous insects, and their brains develop during the larval period and metamorphosis into the adult form. As the only fully domesticated insect, the Lepidoptera silkworm Bombyx mori experienced changes in larval brain morphology and certain behaviors during the domestication process. Hormonal regulation in insects is a key factor in multiple processes. However, how juvenile hormone (JH) signals regulate brain development in Lepidoptera species, especially in the larval stage, remains elusive. We recently identified the JH receptor Methoprene tolerant 1 (Met1) as a putative domestication gene. How artificial selection on Met1 impacts brain and behavioral domestication is another important issue addressing Darwin’s theory on domestication. Here, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of Bombyx Met1 caused developmental retardation in the brain, unlike precocious pupation of the cuticle. At the whole transcriptome level, the ecdysteroid (20-hydroxyecdysone, 20E) signaling and downstream pathways were overactivated in the mutant cuticle but not in the brain. Pathways related to cell proliferation and specialization processes, such as extracellular matrix (ECM)-receptor interaction and tyrosine metabolism pathways, were suppressed in the brain. Molecular evolutionary analysis and in vitro assay identified an amino acid replacement located in a novel motif under positive selection in B. mori, which decreased transcriptional binding activity. The B. mori MET1 protein showed a changed structure and dynamic features, as well as a weakened co-expression gene network, compared with B. mandarina. Based on comparative transcriptomic analyses, we proposed a pathway downstream of JH signaling (i.e., tyrosine metabolism pathway) that likely contributed to silkworm larval brain development and domestication and highlighted the importance of the biogenic amine system in larval evolution during silkworm domestication.
  • #Authors contributed equally to this work
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