Glutathione S-transferase (GST) is a gene family generally associated with detoxification and plays an important role in detoxifying exogenous compounds. The silkworm Bombyx mori is an important economic animal for silk production. However, it is liable to infection by a number of viruses and chemical agents that can contaminate its food and growing environment. Here we conducted a comparative study of strain- and tissue-specific expressions of GST in the silkworm under infections by Bombyx mori nuclear polyhedrosis virus (BmNPV) and Bombyx mori densonucleosis virus (BmDNV) and under the stress of pesticides (insecticide and herbicide). BmDNV induced an increase of GST at 24 h and a decrease at 48 and 72 h in the midgut of the DNV-susceptible strain and a decrease at 24 h and increase at 48 and 72 h in the midgut of the DNV-tolerant strain. BmDNV induced a significant increase of GST from 24 to 72 h in the fat body of both DNV-susceptible and DNV-tolerant strains. In contrast, BmNPV induced a significant decrease of GST in both the fat body and midgut of the NPV-susceptible strain and induced increase of GST from 24 to 48 h in the midgut and at 72 h in the fat body of the NPV-tolerant strain. All of these results suggest that BmGST activity varies with the strain, tissue, feeding behavior, and developmental stage of the silkworm. On treating silkworm larvae with pesticides (insecticide and herbicide), expression of the BmGSTS2 gene increased noticeably in the midgut and reached a peak at 6 to 12 h. The mRNA level of BmGSTS2 in the midgut increased during administration of the chemicals, suggesting that the induction of BmGSTS2 is part of the defense mechanism against exogenous chemicals.
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Vol. 102 • No. 4