Quantitative Proteomic and Transcriptomic Analyses of Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Low Silk Production in Silkworm <i>Bombyx mori</i>

To investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the low fibroin production of the ZB silkworm strain, we used both SDS-PAGE-based and gel-free-based proteomic techniques and transcriptomic sequencing technique. Combining the data from two different proteomic techniques was preferable in the characterization of the differences between the ZB silkworm strain and the original Lan10 silkworm strain. The correlation analysis showed that the individual protein and transcript were not corresponded well, however, the differentially changed proteins and transcripts showed similar regulated direction in function at the pathway level. In the ZB strain, numerous ribosomal proteins and transcripts were down-regulated, along with the transcripts of translational related elongation factors and genes of important components of fibroin. The proteasome pathway was significantly enhanced in the ZB strain, indicating that protein degradation began on the third day of fifth instar when fibroin would have been produced in the Lan10 strain normally and plentifully. From proteome and transcriptome levels of the ZB strain, the energy-metabolism-related pathways, oxidative phosphorylation, glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, and citrate cycle were enhanced, suggesting that the energy metabolism was vigorous in the ZB strain, while the silk production was low. This may due to the inefficient energy employment in fibroin synthesis in the ZB strain. These results suggest that the reason for the decreasing of the silk production might be related to the decreased ability of fibroin synthesis, the degradation of proteins, and the inefficiency of the energy exploiting.