J Invertebr Pathol. 2021 Sep;184:107647.doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2021.107647. Epub 2021 Jul 23.

Bombyx mori Apolipophorin-III inhibits Beauveria bassiana directly and through regulating expression of genes relevant to immune signaling pathways

Wanming Wu  1 Su Lin  1 Ze Zhao  1 Yun Su  1 Ruilin Li  1 Zhendong Zhang  1 Xijie Guo  2 Affiliations


Insect Apolipophorin-III is a multifunctional protein and also plays an important role in insect innate immunity. Early transcriptome and proteome studies indicated that the gene expression level of Bombyx mori Apolipophorin-III (BmApoLp-III) in silkworm larvae infected with Beauveria bassiana was significantly up-regulated. In this study, BmApoLp-III gene was cloned, its expression patterns in different larval tissues investigated, the BmApoLp-III protein was successfully expressed with prokaryotic expression system and its antifungal effect was verified. The results showed that the BmApoLp-III gene was expressed in all the tested tissues of the 5th instar larvae infected by B. bassiana, with the highest expression in fat body. The fungistatic zone test showed that the recombinant BmApoLp-III has a significant antifungal effect on B. bassiana. Injecting purified BmApoLp-III to the larvae delayed the onset and death of the infected larvae. Conversely, silencing BmApoLp-III gene by RNAi resulted in early morbidity and death of the infected larvae. At the same time, injecting BmApoLp-III up-regulated the expression of genes including BmβGRP4 and BmMyd88 in the Toll signaling pathway, BmCTL5 and BmHOP in the Jak/STAT signaling pathway, serine proteinase inhibitor BmSerpin5, and antimicrobial peptide BmCecA, but down-regulated the expression of BmTak1 of Imd signaling pathway; while silencing BmApoLp-III gene down-regulated the expression of BmβGRP1 and BmSpaetzle, BmCTL5 and BmHOP, BmSerpin2 and BmSerpin5, BmBAEE and BmPPO2 of relevant pathways and BmCecA, but up-regulated the expression of BmPGRP-Lc and BmTak1 of Imd pathway. These results indicate that the BmApoLp-III could not only directly inhibit B. bassiana, but also participate in regulation of the expression of immune signaling pathway related genes, promote the expression of immune effectors, and indirectly inhibit the reproduction of B. bassiana in the silkworm.

Keywords: Antifungal effect; Apolipophorin-III; Beauveria bassiana; Bombyx mori; Immune signaling pathway.