Fluoride Action Network



  • 200 mg/L fluoride soaked mulberry leaves exposure inhibits the growth of silkworm larvae.
  • RNA-seq reveals the toxic mechanism of fluoride exposure in silkworm.
  • Fluoride damages oxidative phosphorylation process and disturbs MAPK signaling pathway.
  • The identification of potential transports for fluoride.

Fluoride generally exists in the natural environment, and has been reported to induce serious environmental hazard to animals, plants, and even humans via ecological cycle. Silkworm, Bombyx mori, which showed significant growth and reproductivity reduction when exposed to fluoride, has become a model to evaluate the toxicity of fluoride. However, the detailed mechanism underlying fluoride toxicity and corresponding transport proteins remain unclear. In this study, we performed RNA-seq of the larval midgut and fat body with fluoride exposure and normal treatment. Differential analysis showed that there were 4405 differentially expressed genes in fat body and 4430 DEGs in midgut with fluoride stress. By Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes analyses, we identified several key pathways involved in the fluoride exposure and poisoning. We focused on the oxidative phosphorylation and MAPK signal pathway. QRT-PCR confirmed that oxidative phosphorylation process was remarkably inhibited by fluoride exposure and resulted in the blocking of ATP synthesis. The MAPK signal pathway was stimulated via phosphorylation signal transduction. Moreover, by protein structure analysis combined with the DEGs, we screen 36 potential membrane proteins which might take part in transporting fluoride. Taken together, the results of our study expanded the underlying mechanisms of fluoride poisoning on silkworm larval growth and development, and implied potential fluoride transport proteins in silkworm.