Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2021

Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Scales are symbolic characteristic of Lepidoptera; however, nothing is known about the contribution of cuticular proteins (CPs) to the complex patterning of lepidopteran scales. This is because scales are resistant to solubilization, thus hindering molecular studies. Here we succeeded in dissolving developing wing scales from Bombyx mori, allowing analysis of their protein composition. We identified a distinctive class of histidine rich (His-rich) CPs (6%–45%) from developing lepidopteran scales by LC-MS/MS. Functional studies using RNAi revealed CPs with different histidine content play distinct and critical roles in constructing the microstructure of the scale surface. Moreover, we successfully synthesized films in vitro by crosslinking a 45% His-rich CP (BmorCPR152) with laccase2 using N-acetyl- dopamine or N-β-alanyl-dopamine as the substrate. This molecular study of scales provides fundamental information about how such a fine microstructure is constructed and insights into the potential application of CPs as new biomaterials.

Publication Title

Communications Biology

Volume

4

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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