BmILF and i-motif structure are involved in transcriptional regulation of BmPOUM2 in Bombyx mori

Kangkang Niu, Xiaojuan Zhang, Huimin Deng, Feng Wu, Yandong Ren, Hui Xiang, Sichun Zheng, Lin Liu, Lihua Huang, Baojuan Zeng, Sheng Li, Qingyou Xia, Qisheng Song, Subba Reddy Palli, Qili Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Guanine-rich and cytosine-rich DNA can form fourstranded DNA secondary structures called Gquadruplex (G4) and i-motif, respectively. These structures widely exist in genomes and play important roles in transcription, replication, translation and protection of telomeres. In this study, G4 and i-motif structures were identified in the promoter of the transcription factor gene BmPOUM2, which regulates the expression of the wing disc cuticle protein gene (BmWCP4) during metamorphosis. Disruption of the i-motif structure by base mutation, antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) or inhibitory ligands resulted in significant decrease in the activity of the BmPOUM2 promoter. A novel i-motif binding protein (BmILF) was identified by pull-down experiment. BmILF specifically bound to the i-motif and activated the transcription ofBmPOUM2. The promoter activity of BmPOUM2 was enhanced when BmILF was overexpressed and decreased when BmILF was knockeddown by RNA interference. This study for the first time demonstrated that BmILF and the i-motif structure participated in the regulation of gene transcription in insect metamorphosis and provides new insights into the molecular mechanism of the secondary structures in epigenetic regulation of gene transcription.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1710-1723
Number of pages14
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 28 2018

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© 2017 The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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