The Microbe Research Lab devotes to dissect the infection mechanism of silkworm pathogens, such as microsporidia, fungi, virus and bacteria, and develop determination and prevention methods.
Silkworm Bombyx mori is an important economic insect. Silk industry contributed a lot to world economy in history. Now in China, there are 20 million farmers working on silkworm feeding to increase family income. Diseases of silkworm cause big losses, 15-20% silkworms died because of different diseases, among which Nosema bombycis and BmNPV are two important pathogens. Our team now mainly focuses on the general biology of N. bombycis, which cause silkworm pebrine disease. After we obtained the genome sequences of N. bombycis, now we are interested in four aspects of N. bombycis.
- The invasion process of N. bombycis. The polar tube extrusion is an amazing and unique biological event in nature. How does this event occur? Now, several proteins, including SWPs and subtilisins, are thought to be involved in this event. We are still on the way to explore their functions.
- Vertical transmission of microsporidia. Vertical transmission via eggs is a strategy of Microsporidia survival, and also caused a big problem for silkworm eggs production. Notably, different species of microsporidia show different capacities in vertical transmission. We are interested in dissect the process of vertical transmission through histopathology and comparative genomics approaches.
- Interaction between silkworm and N. bombycis. N. bombycis infection can caused strong host response. Some research results have been published in PLoS ONE in 2014. Some of secreted proteins of N. bombycis could regulate the host immune system and apoptosis pathway, and enhance its proliferation in host. What are these secreted proteins and how they interact with host target proteins? We are working on several families of proteins of N. bombycis, like serpin, Ricin B-lectin, hoping to find the interaction that how the microsproidia control the host.
- The modern detection method for N. bombycis in moths or silkworm eggs. Now in silkworm eggs production, an important step is to detect spores of N. bombycis in the moth. If the female moth was infected, its eggs would be destroyed to prevent the vertical transmission. However, this work and other measures to prevent the N. bombycis infection are really time- and money-consuming，so it is necessary to invent a modern method to examine infected eggs easily in production. Now we are trying to invent some immunological methods and none destructive testing to detect spores in eggs and moths.