SUMOylation is an essential post-translational modification that regulates a variety of cellular processes including cell cycle progression. Although the SUMOylation pathway has been identified and investigated in many eukaryotes, the mechanisms of SUMOylation in regulating the functions of various substrates are still poorly understood. Here, we utilized a model species, the silkworm Bombyx mori that possesses holocentric chromosomes, to exploit the role of the SUMOylation system in cell cycle regulation. We identified all the components that are involved in the SUMOylation pathway in the silkworm genome. Our data revealed a cell cycle-dependent transcription of the SUMOylation genes, localization of the SUMOylation proteins, and abundance of the SUMOylation substrates in cultured silkworm cells. Importantly, the proliferation of the silkworm cells was strikingly inhibited by interference with SUMOylation genes expression, possibly due to an arrest of the SUMOylation-deficient cells at the G2/M phase. Furthermore, disruption of the SUMOylation genes induced the defects of holocentric chromosome congression and segregation during mitosis, which was consistent with high expressions of the SUMOylation genes and high enrichments of global SUMOylation at this stage, suggesting that the SUMOylation system in silkworm is essential for cell cycle regulation, with one particular role in mitosis.
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