Bombyxin, an insulin-related peptide of insects, reduces the major storage carbohydrates in the silkworm Bombyx mori

Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 1997 Oct;118(2):349-57. doi: 10.1016/s0305-0491(97)00166-1.


The effects of an insect insulin-related peptide, bombyxin, on carbohydrate metabolism were investigated in the silkworm Bombyx mori. Bombyxin lowered the concentration of the major hemolymph sugar, trehalose, in a dose-dependent manner when injected into neck-ligated larvae. Bombyxin also caused elevated trehalase activity in the midgut and muscle, suggesting that bombyxin induces hypotrehalosemia by promoting the hydrolysis of hemolymph trehalose to glucose and thereby facilitating its transport into tissues. In addition, bombyxin reduced the glycogen content in the fat body and concurrently raised the percentage of active glycogen phosphorylase in this tissue. Because hemolymph trehalose is also a major storage form of carbohydrate in insects, our results indicate that bombyxin reduces the amount of both principal storage carbohydrates in B. mori larvae. It is therefore suggested that although bombyxin is involved in the control of carbohydrate metabolism like insulin, the physiological role of bombyxin in insects is different from that of insulin in mammals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bombyx / drug effects
  • Bombyx / metabolism*
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism*
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Hemolymph / drug effects
  • Larva / drug effects
  • Larva / metabolism
  • Neuropeptides / analysis
  • Neuropeptides / pharmacology*
  • Phosphorylases / drug effects
  • Phosphorylases / metabolism
  • Trehalase / drug effects
  • Trehalase / metabolism


  • Neuropeptides
  • bombyxins
  • Glycogen
  • Phosphorylases
  • Trehalase