[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Silk fibroin of Bombyx mori is secreted from the posterior silk gland (PSG) as a 2.3-MDa elementary unit, consisting of six sets of a disulfide-linked heavy chain (H-chain)-light chain (L-chain) heterodimer and one molecule of fibrohexamerin (fhx)/P25. Fhx/P25, a glycoprotein, associates noncovalently with the H-L heterodimers. The elementary unit was found and purified from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) extract of PSG cells. A substantial amount of fhx/P25 unassembled into the elementary unit was also present in ER. In normal-level fibroin-producing breeds (J-139 and C108), the elementary unit contained fhx/P25 of either 30 kDa (major) or 27 kDa (minor). The 27-kDa fhx/P25 was produced from the 30-kDa form by digestion with the bacterial alpha1,2-mannosidase in vitro. The elementary unit in the ER extract contained only the 30-kDa fhx/P25, whereas both 30- and 27-kDa forms of fhx/P25 were present in the ER plus Golgi mixed extracts. In naked-pupa mutants [Nd(2), Nd-s and Nd-sD], extremely small amounts of fibroin were produced and they consisted of one molecule of 27-kDa fhx/P25 and six molecules of H-chain but no L-chain. When the Nd-sD mutant was subjected to transgenesis with the normal L-chain gene, the (H-L)6fhx1-type elementary unit containing the 30-kDa fhx/P25, was produced. These results suggest that fhx/P25 in the elementary unit is largely protected from digestion with Golgi alpha1,2-mannosidases when L-chains are present in the unit. Models suggesting a role of L-chain for the protection of alpha1,2-mannose residues of fhx/P25 are presented.
European Journal of Biochemistry 02/2004; 271(2):356-66. DOI:10.1046/j.1432-1033.2003.03934.x · 3.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Low molecular mass protein components of fibroin, whose electrophoretic patterns before and after the reductive cleavage of disulfide bonds were similar to those of L-chain and P25 of Bombyx mori, were identified in fibroin samples of Bombyx mandarina, Dendrolimus spectabilis and Papilio xuthus but not of Antheraea yamamai. Fibroin of A. yamamai is suggested to form a dimer of H-chain. Full length cDNA sequences were cloned for the homologues of L-chain and P25 from B. mandarina, D. spectabilis and P. xuthus. The deduced sequences of L-chain and P25 of B. mandarina are almost identical to those of B. mori, each containing a single amino acid change. Homologues of L-chain and P25 of D. spectabilis and P. xuthus show about 50% overall identity, respectively, with those of B. mori, but essential structural features; i.e. the three Cys residues in an L-chain and the eight Cys residues and one of the potential N-glycosylation sites in P25, are conserved in both species. These results, together with the published results for Galleria mellonella, suggest that the three-components (H-chain, L-chain and P25) complex of fibroin is rather common among Lepidopteran silk-producing insects, in contrast to the H-H dimer type found in the saturnid silkworm.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The analysis of fibroin secretion-deficient 'naked-pupa' mutant silkworms has suggested that the disulfide linkage between heavy (H) and light (L) chains of fibroin, produced by the silkworm, Bombyx mori, is essential in its efficient large-scale secretion from the posterior silk gland cells. However, the site of disulfide-linkage between H- and L-chains has not been determined. In this study, cysteine residues involved in the single disulfide linkage between H- and L-chains were identified as the twentieth residue from the carboxyl terminus of H-chain (Cys-c20) and Cys-172 of L-chain by sequencing of genomic clones and peptide analysis. Furthermore, Cys-c4 (fourth residue from the carboxyl terminus) and Cys-c1 at the carboxyl terminus of H-chain were shown to form an intramolecular disulfide bond.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fibroin light (L-) chain and P25 are low molecular weight protein components of silk fibroin which are secreted from the posterior silk gland cells of the silkworm, Bombyx mori. The primary structure of L-chain was determined previously by cDNA cloning and peptide analysis, but that of P25 has only been deduced from its genomic sequence. Our previous studies with specific antibodies against L-chain and P25 have shown that L-chain and H-chain are linked by disulfide bond(s) but P25 is not covalently linked to H-chain. Here, we present evidence that P25 associates with the H-L complex primarily by hydrophobic interactions and that P25 is a glycoprotein containing Asn-linked oligosaccharide chains. From the analysis of three fibroin-secretion-deficient 'naked pupa' mutant breeds [Nd(2), Nd-s and Nd-sD], it is suggested that P25 interacts with H-chain in the absence of H-L linkage but its content of oligosaccharide is reduced when the H-L linkage is not formed. From these results, models are presented implying that the H-L complex and P25 are associated to form a higher-order complex of specific conformation during the processes of intracellular transport and secretion, and that the Asn-linked glycosylation of P25 is partially altered under such conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The allelic Nd-s and Nd-sD mutations of the silkworm Bombyx mori are mapped to the same locus as that of the fibroin light (L)-chain gene (Fib-L). The silkworm carrying the homozygous Nd-s or Nd-sD mutation secretes less than 0.3% of the normal level of fibroin and produces a thin cocoon (naked pupa). In this study, cDNA sequences of the Nd-s and Nd-sD L-chains were compared with the cDNA and genomic sequences of the L-chain of the B. mori J-139 strain, a normal-level producer of fibroin. The two mutant cDNA sequences are almost identical except for one base change in the coding region. The N-terminal half of the L-chain encoded by exons I to III is identical between the mutants and J-139, but the rest of the molecule is completely different. The C-terminal half of the Nd-sD mutant L-chain is encoded by two exons, IV' and V', which are brought into proximity with the exon III by recombination between sequences in the third intron and in the far downstream region with concomitant loss of a region containing exons IV to VII. Sequences corresponding to exons IV' and V' are present about 10 kb downstream of the L-chain gene in the J-139 genome. Their homologous sequences have not been found in the DNA and protein databases. The chimeric L-chain molecule of about 27 kDa is present in posterior silk glands of Nd-s and Nd-sD strains without disulfide-bonding to the fibroin heavy (H-) chain, as revealed by Western blotting with the antibody specific to the C-terminal half of the mutant L-chain.