Expression pattern of Bombyx vasa-like (BmVLG) protein and its implications in germ cell development

Dev Genes Evol. 2006 Feb;216(2):94-9. doi: 10.1007/s00427-005-0033-8. Epub 2005 Nov 1.


Germ cell development in the silkworm Bombyx mori is interesting in that the species has no recognizable germ plasm, and its germ cells appear first on the ventral side of the embryo, not on the posterior pole as in Drosophila melanogaster. We previously reported the isolation of a vasa homologue (BmVLG) from B. mori and revealed the specific expression of transcript in the germ cells. In this paper, we describe the embryonic expression pattern of BmVLG protein. Consistent with the lack of recognizable germ plasm, the protein is not localized in freshly laid eggs, and its specific expression is first detectable several hours after energids penetrate the periplasm. This is in contrast to D. melanogaster, where germ cell lineage can be traced with anti-vasa antibody just after the formation of pole cells as they sequester vasa-positive germ (pole) plasm during cellularization. It is also revealed that, within the first few hours of their appearance when extensive cell movement does not seem to occur, stained cells are sometimes widely dispersed along the midline, which eventually may lead to the formation of ectopic germ cells. The implications of these results for germ cell development are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bombyx / embryology*
  • Bombyx / metabolism
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / chemistry
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Germ Cells / chemistry
  • Germ Cells / growth & development*
  • Germ Cells / metabolism*
  • Insect Proteins / analysis
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism*


  • Insect Proteins