The published genome sequence of Antheraea yamamai (Saturnnidae) was used to construct a library of long terminal repeat (LTR)-retrotransposons that is representative of the wild silkmoth (Antherea) genus, and that includes 22,666 solo LTRs and 541 full-length LTRs. The LTR retrotransposons of Antheraea yamamai (AyLTRs) could be classified into the three canonical groups of Gypsy, Copia and Belpao. Eleven AyLTRs contained the env gene element, but the relationship with the env element of baculovirus, particularly A. yamamai and pernyi nucleopolyhedrovirus (AyNPV and ApNPV), was distant. A total of 251 "independent" full-length AyLTRs were identified that were located within 100 kb distance (downstream or upstream) of 406 neighboring genes in A. yamamai. Regulation of these genes might occur in cis by the AyLTRs, and the neighboring genes were found to be enriched in GO terms such as "response to stimulus", and KEGG terms such as "mTOR signaling pathway" among others. Furthermore, the library of LTR-retrotransposons and the A. yamamai genome were used to identify and analyze the expression of LTR-retrotransposons and genes in ApNPV-infected and non-infected A. pernyi larval midguts, using raw data of a published transcriptome study. Our analysis demonstrates that 93 full-length LTR-retrotransposons are transcribed in the midgut of A. pernyi of which 12 significantly change their expression after ApNPV infection (differentially expressed LTR-retrotransposons or DELs). In addition, the expression of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and neighboring DELs on the chromosome following ApNPV infection suggests the possibility of regulation of expression of DEGs by DELs through a cis mechanism, which will require experimental verification. When examined in more detail, it was found that genes involved in Notch signaling and stress granule (SG) formation were significantly up-regulated in ApNPV-infected A. pernyi larval midgut. Moreover, several DEGs in the Notch and SG pathways were found to be located in the neighborhood of particular DELs, indicating the possibility of DEG-DEL cross-regulation in cis for these two pathways.
Keywords: Antheraea pernyi; ApNPV; LTR-retrotransposons.