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Open AccessArticle

Metabolic Characterisation of the Midgut of Bombyx mori Varieties after BmNPV Infection Using GC-MS-Based Metabolite Profiling

by Heying Qian 1,2,*, Gang Li 1,2, Guodong Zhao 1,2, Mingzhu Liu 1,2 and Anying Xu 1,2,*
The Sericultural Research Institute, Jiangsu University of Science and Technology, Zhenjiang 212003, China
The key Laboratory of silkworm and mulberry genetic improvement, Ministry of Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, Zhenjiang 212018, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(13), 4707;
Received: 23 May 2020 / Revised: 19 June 2020 / Accepted: 25 June 2020 / Published: 1 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus (BmNPV) is a silkworm disease that is especially harmful to cocoon production and seriously restricts sericultural development. Our laboratory successfully cultivated a new highly BmNPV-resistant silkworm variety, Huakang 2; however, its mechanism of BmNPV resistance remains unclear. To understand its resistance mechanism, we conducted a metabolomic and transcriptomic study of the midgut of silkworm varieties, Baiyu N and Baiyu after BmNPV infection. We identified 451 differential metabolites, which were mostly comprised of small molecules, such as saccharides, acids, amines, alcohols, and glycosides. We found that the primary differences in disease resistance between the silkworm varieties are metabolic-pathways, tryptophan metabolism, oxidative phosphorylation, ABC-transporters, beta-alanine metabolism, and phenylalanine metabolism. Combined analysis with transcriptomic data suggested that tryptophan metabolism and oxidative phosphorylation are closely related to the silkworms’ BmNPV resistance. We hypothesize that the roles of the two metabolic pathways in the BmNPV resistance mechanism might be the following: Oxidative phosphorylation generates a large amount of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in response to BmNPV infection to provide silkworms the energy required for establishing BmNPV resistance. Tryptophan metabolism then activates the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) through the exogenous virus BmNPV, which activates the silkworm’s immune system to defeat BmNPV infections. View Full-Text
Keywords: silkworm; BmNPV; GC-MS; RNA-seq; metabolic pathway silkworm; BmNPV; GC-MS; RNA-seq; metabolic pathway
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Qian, H.; Li, G.; Zhao, G.; Liu, M.; Xu, A. Metabolic Characterisation of the Midgut of Bombyx mori Varieties after BmNPV Infection Using GC-MS-Based Metabolite Profiling. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 4707.

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