A diversity of U1 small nuclear RNAs in the silk moth Bombyx mori

Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2003 Jan;33(1):29-39. doi: 10.1016/s0965-1748(02)00164-9.


Variants of U1 small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) have been previously detected in a permanent cell line (BmN) of the silk moth Bombyx mori. In this study, the existence of U1 snRNA isoforms in the silk gland (SG) of the organism is investigated. The polyploidy (approximately 200,000X the 2N somatic value) state of the B. mori silk gland cells represents a unique system to explore the potential presence and differential expression of multiple U1 variants in a normal tissue. B. mori U1-specific RT-PCR libraries from the silk gland were generated and five U1 isoforms were isolated and characterized. Nucleotide differences, structural alterations, as well as protein and RNA interaction sites were examined in these variants and compared to the previously reported isoforms from the transformed BmN cell line. In all these SG U1 variants, variant sites and inter-species differences are located in moderately conserved regions. Substitutional or compensatory changes were found in the double stranded areas and clustered in moderately conserved regions. Some of the changes generate stronger base pairing. Calculated free energy (DeltaG) values for the entire U1 snRNA secondary structures and for the individual stem/loops (I, II, III and IV) domains of the isoforms were generated and compared to determine their structural stability. Using phylogenetic analysis, an evolutionary parallelism is observed between the polymorphic sites in B. mori and variant locations found among animal and plant species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Bombyx / genetics*
  • DNA Primers
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Small Nuclear / chemistry
  • RNA, Small Nuclear / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Species Specificity


  • DNA Primers
  • RNA, Small Nuclear
  • U1 small nuclear RNA