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Molecular evolution of the cecropin multigene family in silkworm Bombyx mori



Kangayam M Ponnuvel*, Natarajan Subhasri, Sasibhushan Sirigineedi, Geetha N Murthy, Nanjappa B Vijayaprakash



Seribiotech Research Laboratory, Carmelaram– Post, Sarjapura Road, Kodathi, Bangalore- 560 035, INDIA;


E-mail*; * Corresponding author


Article Type






Received July 26, 2010; Accepted August 26, 2010; Published September 20, 2010



Cecropins constitute one of the largest and most potent immune protein families found in insect species with diversified numbers and features. In view of the large number of cecropin proteins existing with much sequence variations among them, an overview of the multigene cecropin family in silkworm Bombyx mori was attempted in this study. Cecropin encodes an inducible 64 residue anti-bacterial peptide and was clustered into two groups; first group viz. A and second group including B, D, E and Enbocin. Cecropin A consisted of two sub-groups located on chromosome number 6 of B.mori genome. Cecropin B consisted of six sub-groups, cecropin D and E of one each and Enbocin of two. The second sub-group formed in tandem array of multigene family locus over a length of 78.62 kb on chromosome number 26 in B.mori genome and was organized in positive as well as opposite orientation. The results indicated that cecropin B genes were organized in a close cluster with the intergenic sequence ranging from 1366 bp to 23526 bp. Interestingly a distantly related cecropin E was also located within the cecropin B multigene locus. Similarly distant members like cecropin D and Enbocin were also located in the 3’ region of cecropin B locus. The maximum intergenic region of 23526 bp observed between Cecropin D and Enbocin indicates that the two genes were distantly evolved. The phylogenetic analysis clearly indicates a positive correlation between the clusters and physical location on the chromosome, as the length of the intergenic region plays a major role to create newer cecropin families. EST database analysis suggests that most of the cecropin A members were expressed in the microbial fat body while, the cecropin B was equally expressed in fat body and other target tissues. The signal peptides were conserved in all the twelve paralogous gene sequences.





Bombyx mori, cecropin, genomic organization, multigene, evolution.




Ponnuvel et al. Bioinformation 5(3): 97-103 (2010)

Edited by


P. Kangueane







  Biomedical Informatics



  This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. This is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.