The basis for colorless hemolymph and cocoons in the Y-gene recessive Bombyx mori mutants: A defect in the cellular uptake of carotenoids

Kozo Tsuchida, Chihiro Katagiri, Yoshiro Tanaka, Hiroko Tabunoki, Ryoichi Sato, Hideaki Maekawa, Naoko Takada, Yutaka Banno, Hiroshi Fujii, Michael A. Wells, Zeina E. Jouni

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Bombyx mori is an excellent model for the study of carotenoid-binding proteins (CBP). In previous papers, we identified and molecularly characterized a CBP from the Y-gene dominant mutants. In the present study, we attempted to correlate and establish lipid metabolism and distribution in these mutants. When [ 3H]-triolein was fed to the mutants, typical patterns of uptake of labeled fatty acids from midgut to hemolymph and subsequent delivery to fat body and silk glands were obtained in all mutants. Further analysis of lipid and carotenoid profiles revealed that the yellow coloration in the hemolymph associated with lipophorin is not attributed to a difference in lipophorin concentrations among the mutants, nor to its lipid composition, but rather to its carotenoid content. Lipophorin of the Y+ I mutant exhibited the highest concentration of total carotenoids of 55.8 μg/mg lipophorin compared to 3.1 μg/mg in the + Y+ I mutant, 1.2 μg/mg in the YI mutant and 0.5 μg/mg in the + YI mutant. Characteristic retention time in HPLC of the different classes of carotenoids of lipophorin identified the presence of lutein as the major chromophore (62-77%), followed by β-carotenes (22-38%). Although lutein and β-carotene content of mutants' lipophorin differed significantly, the ratio of lutein to β-carotene of 3:1 was not different among mutants. Similarly, lipid compositions of mutant silk glands were not significantly different, but carotenoid contents were. The significantly high concentration of lutein in the Y+ I mutant silk gland represented more than 160-fold increase compared to + Y+ I mutant (p<0.001). In this report, we conclude that lipid metabolism in the mutants is not defected and that the molecular basis for colorless hemolymph and cocoons is a defect in the cellular uptake of lutein associated with the Y-gene recessive mutants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)975-983
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of insect physiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Insect Science


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