Rad23 is an NER (nucleotide excision repair) protein and it plays an important role in the UPP (ubiquitin–proteasome pathway). In the present study, BmRad23 (a homologous gene of Rad23 from Bombyx mori) was cloned and designated as BmRad23. The ORF (open reading frame) of the BmRad23 cDNA encoded deduced 324 amino acids with a calculated molecular mass of 36.13 kDa and an estimated pI of 4.50. The deduced amino acid sequence of the BmRad23 cDNA revealed several indispensable domains for the function of the Rad23 protein family, such as one UbL (ubiquitin-like) region domain and two UBA (ubiquitin-associated) domains. UV irradiation and treatment with chemical DNA-damaging reagent increased the expression of BmRad23. The BmRad23 gene was expressed in all the examined organs, and elevated expression was observed in testis and ovary. Northern blot and immunoblot analyses showed enhanced expression of BmRad23 after day 3 of the wandering stage in the silk gland. From the present results it is suggested that BmRad23 functions in the UPP during the silkworm metamorphosis as well as participating in the NER when the genetic material is damaged by UV irradiation and other genotoxic stresses.

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