Identification and functional analysis of a testis‑biased gene encoding serine/arginine‑rich protein in silkworm, Bombyx mori


  • Li-Ying Zhang State Key Laboratory of Silkworm Genome Biology, Biological Science Research Center, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715
  • Juan Li School of Life, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715
  • Xingfu Zha 1. State Key Laboratory of Silkworm Genome Biology, Biological Science Research Center, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715; 2. Chongqing Key Laboratory of Sericultural Science, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715; 3. Chongqing engineering and technology research center for novel silk materials, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715


silkworm, spermatogenesis, serine/arginine-rich protein, lepidopteran‑specific gene, RNAi


Paper description:

  • Major pests in agriculture and forestry belong to the lepidopteran insects. Genes involved in spermatogenesis are potential targets for pest control using the sterile‑male technique.
  • We identified a testis-biased gene BmRS-TS encoding Serine/Arginine-rich protein in the silkworm. BmRS-TS is a Lepidopteran-specific gene, which is predominantly expressed in silkworm testes and plays an important role in spermatogenesis.
  • The obtained results provide clues for understanding the mechanism of spermatogenesis in the silkworm, which can be used as a reference for other lepidopterans.

Abstract: Spermatogenesis is a fundamental process in sexual reproduction. In this study, we cloned a 716-bp cDNA of a testis-biased gene in Bombyx mori, named as BmRS-TS, which encodes a polypeptide of 164 amino acids, containing 26.7% arginine and serine residues. Sequence similarity analysis showed that BmRS-TS is a lepidopteran-specific gene. Results of RT-PCR and Western analysis revealed that BmRS-TS was expressed predominantly in the testis. Immunohistochemistry assay showed that the BmRS-TS protein was mostly located in primary spermatocytes. Moreover, knockdown of BmRS-TS by RNA interference (RNAi) showed that the morphology of the mature sperm was abnormal and that sperm bundles were broken up. Our results suggest that BmRS-TS plays an important role in silkworm spermatogenesis and provide some clues for understanding the mechanism that underlies spermatogenesis, which can be used as a reference for other lepidopterans.

Received: June 16, 2019; Revised: July 24, 2019; Accepted: July 29, 2019; Published online: August 2, 2019

How to cite this article: Zhang L, Li J, Zha X. Identification and functional analysis of a testis‑biased gene encoding serine/arginine‑rich protein in silkworm, Bombyx mori. Arch Biol Sci. 2019;71(4):639-45.


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How to Cite

Zhang L-Y, Li J, Zha X. Identification and functional analysis of a testis‑biased gene encoding serine/arginine‑rich protein in silkworm, Bombyx mori. Arch Biol Sci [Internet]. 2019Dec.19 [cited 2022Aug.18];71(4):639-45. Available from: