U6 snRNA variants isolated from the posterior silk gland of the silk moth Bombyx mori

Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2006 Jun;36(6):454-65. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2006.03.004. Epub 2006 Mar 28.


Five U6 small nuclear RNA (snRNA) isoforms were detected and characterized from the posterior silk gland (PSG) of the silk moth Bombyx mori (Nistari strain). Using the currently accepted U6 secondary structure model as a basis for comparison, the variants were analyzed for nucleotide differences across the sequence with a focus on known functional domains. Differences were observed primarily in single-stranded areas of which sixty percent were found in the highly conserved U4-U6 binding sites. In the Nistari strain, the U6A variant was found to be approximately four times more abundant as part of high molecular weight spliceosomal complexes when compared with U6A in the total unfractionated PSG cell lysate. Additionally, the European 703 B. mori strain total cell lysate U6 snRNA was analyzed and only the dominant U6A isoform initially identified in Nistari was found. Due to U6's essential role in pre-mRNA processing, variants may modulate assemblage of the catalytic core and in doing so potentially affect the rate of splicing. Phylogenetic analysis of the U6 snRNA sequences indicate an ancient divergence of U6 from the self-splicing group II intron module and a high degree of evolutionary conservation across species possibly due to functional constraints on the gene. Using in silico analysis, 35 full-length U6 variants were observed in the recently released Whole Genome Shotgun (WGS) database of the p50T strain. The consensus sequence of these U6 genes from p50T is identical to U6A identified in the Nistari strain. Furthermore p50T variant 1, which is represented in 14 genes, is equivalent to Nistari U6A.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bombyx / genetics*
  • Exocrine Glands
  • Genes, Insect / genetics*
  • Introns / genetics
  • Larva / genetics
  • RNA Splicing / genetics*
  • RNA, Small Nuclear / genetics*
  • Species Specificity
  • Spliceosomes / genetics


  • RNA, Small Nuclear
  • U6 small nuclear RNA