Embryonic silk gland development in Bombyx: Molecular cloning and expression of the Bombyx trachealess gene

Katsuyoshi Matsunami, Hiroki Kokubo, Kaoru Ohno, Pin Xian Xu, Kohji Ueno, Yoshiaki Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We describe embryonic development of the Bombyx silk gland. To extend the analysis further we isolated a Bombyx counterpart gene of the Drosophila trachealess (trh) gene. Bombyx trh encodes a protein of 849 amino acids. When compared with the amino acid sequence of Drosophila trh, the identity of Bombyx bHLH, PAS-A and PAS-Bombyx domains is 100%, 97%, and 80%, respectively. Northern blot analysis revealed the presence of a single Bombyx trh transcript of 5.4 kb. We analyzed the expression pattern of the Bombyx trh transcript during embryogenesis by in situ hybridization. Bombyx trh mRNA was first detected in the tracheal primordial cells at around embryonic stage 18. Thereafter levels of Bombyx trh mRNA increased, and the high expression level was maintained until hatching. At embryonic stage 19 the transcript was also detected in the posterior basal region of the labial segment from where the silk gland invaginates. By the blastokinesis stage (around stage 23), the silk gland was lengthened, and, interestingly, the Bombyx trh transcript was restricted to the anterior silk gland. These results suggest that Bombyx trh plays a role in the formation of the trachea and the anterior silk glands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-514
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopment Genes and Evolution
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Bombyx mori
  • Silk gland
  • Trachea
  • Trachealess


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