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Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus (BmNPV) is a DNA virus that causes huge losses to the silkworm industry but the piRNA responses during BmNPV infection in the silkworm remain uninvestigated. Here, silkworm piRNA profiles of uninfected and BmNPV-infected fat body and midgut were determined by high-through sequencing in the early stages of BmNPV infection. A total of 2675 and 3396 genome-derived piRNAs were identified from fat body and midgut, respectively. These genome-derived piRNAs mainly originated from unannotated instead of transposon regions in the silkworm genome. In total, 572 piRNAs were associated with 280 putative target genes in fat body and 805 piRNAs with 380 target genes in midgut. Compared to uninfected tissues, 322 and 129 piRNAs were significantly upregulated in BmNPV-infected fat body and midgut, respectively. In addition, 276 and 117 piRNAs were significantly downregulated. Moreover, differentially expressed (DE) piRNAs during BmNPV infection differed significantly between fat body and midgut. Putative DE piRNA-targeted genes were associated with "response to stimulus" and "environmental information processing" in fat body after infection with BmNPV, which may indicate an active piRNA response to BmNPV infection in fat body. This study may lay the foundation for future research of the potential roles of the piRNA pathway and specific piRNAs in BmNPV pathogenesis. © 2020 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Min Feng, Anna Kolliopoulou, Yao-Hong Zhou, Shi-Gang Fei, Jun-Ming Xia, Luc Swevers, Jing-Chen Sun. The piRNA response to BmNPV infection in the silkworm fat body and midgut. Insect science. 2020 May 04

PMID: 32367653

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