Bombyxin stimulated proliferation of cultured midgut stem cells that were derived from two noctuiid moth larvae, Heliothis virescens and Mamestra brassicae. Bombyxin exhibited the highest activity at 10−12 M. The number of cells increased for 3 d after the addition of bombyxin. Although a single addition of bombyxin did not maintain proliferation, a second addition, made 3 d after the first treatment, retained the effect. Results suggest that the decline of effect after the first addition was not due to the loss of sensitivity of the cultured cells but to the loss of effect of the growth factor added. Addition of bombyxin at more than 10−10 M was less effective. Bombyxin did not affect the number of cultured midgut cells without pupal fat body extract (FBX). The data suggest that FBX contains the factors that maintain sensitivity of midgut cells to proliferate in the presence of bombyxin. Bombyxin must be a unique growth factor that stimulates proliferation of midgut stem cells in vitro from lepidopteran larvae.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1