Dual role of the serine protease homolog BmSPH-1 in the development and immunity of the silkwormBombyx mori

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Abstract

Serine proteases and serine protease homologs are involved in the prophenoloxidase (proPO)-activating system leading to melanization. The Bombyx mori serine protease homolog BmSPH-1 regulates nodule melanization. Here, we show the dual role of BmSPH-1 in the development and immunity of B. mori. BmSPH-1 was expressed in hemocytes after molting and during the larval-pupal transformation in normal development. In contrast, following infection, BmSPH-1 was expressed in hemocytes and cleaved in the hemolymph, which resulted in the induction of PO activity. Moreover, BmSPH-1 was cleaved in the cuticle during the larval-pupal transformation and early pupal stages. In BmSPH-1 RNAi-treated silkworms, the reduced BmSPH-1 mRNA levels during the spinning stage or the prepupal stage resulted in the arrest of pupation or pupal cuticular melanization, respectively. The binding assays revealed that BmSPH-1 interacts with B. mori immulectin, proPO, and proPO-activating enzyme. Our findings demonstrate that BmSPH-1 paticipates larval-pupal transformation, pupal cuticular melanization and innate immunity of silkworms, illustrating the dual role of BmSPH-1 in development and immunity.

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