p-oily (op) is a novel mutant of Bombyx mori exhibiting translucent larval integument and male infertility. Elucidation of the causative gene of the op mutant will help understand the genetic mechanism underlying larval integument coloration and male fertility. Using polymorphisms between B. mori and B. mandarina, the op locus was narrowed down to a 375-kb region. Using RNA-seq analysis, we found that op mutants have a frameshift mutation in the KWMTBOMO13770 gene located in the 375-kb region. A database search indicated that this gene is the human cytosolic 5ʹ-nucleotidase II gene (cN-II) homolog in Bombyx, which mediates the conversion of inosine monophosphate (IMP) to inosine, a precursor of uric acid. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout mutants of the Bm-cN-II gene showed translucent integuments, and there appeared translucent larvae in the crosses between knockout moths and +/op moths. Moreover, the translucent phenotype of, and decreased uric acid content in the larval integument caused by the mutations in the Bm-cN-II gene were rescued by oral administration of inosine. These results indicated that the Bm-cN-II gene is responsible for the op phenotype and that the molecular function of the Bm-cN-II gene is the conversion of IMP to inosine. We also discuss the genetic relationship between the Bm-cN-II gene and male fertility.
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