Biosynthesis of major plasma proteins in the primary culture of fat body cells from the silkworm, Bombyx mori

Atsuhiro Kishimoto, Hiroshi Nakato, Susumu Izumi, Shiro Tomino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Plasma proteins termed 'SP1' and '30K proteins' are synthesized by the fat body cells of the silkworm, Bombyx mori, in a sex- and stage-specific manner during larval development. We successfully established a primary culture of the fat body cells in order to investigate the regulatory mechanisms of plasma protein gene expression. The primary cultures of fat body cells contained at least two cell types: small oval cells, and large spherical cells. The cells adhered to and migrated on the cultured dish after plating. By the 7th day of cultivation, the cells clustered to form fat body-like structures, which were maintained for at least 3 months. Plasma proteins were actively synthesized in the primary cultures of the fat body cells isolated from the final instar larvae only when the cells tightly adhered to and clustered on the cultured dish. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed that only 10-15% of the clustered cells synthesized plasma proteins in our culture system, indicating that the primary culture comprises heterogeneous cells that are morphologically and functionally distinct. The patterns of SP1 syntheses in primary cultures faithfully reproduced their sex-dependency in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-335
Number of pages7
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Project No. 08276120) from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Japan, and Enhancement of Center of Excellence, Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology, Science and Technology Agency, Japan.


  • Bombyx mori (Insecta)
  • Cell cultures
  • Fat body
  • Major plasma proteins
  • Protein synthesis


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