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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 1996 Mar;26(3):217-21.

Bombyx EcR (BmEcR) and Bombyx USP (BmCF1) combine to form a functional ecdysone receptor.

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  • 1Department of Medical Biochemistry, University of Calgary, Canada.


The Drosophila ecdysone receptor (DmEcR) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily; it functions as an obligate heterodimer with another nuclear receptor, DmUSP. EcR homologs have now been cloned from several other insects. We report here that one such homolog, BmEcR from the commercial silkmoth, Bombyx mori, is a functional ecdysone receptor. Upon dimerization with BmCF1, the silkmoth homology of DmUSP, BmEcR binds the radiolabeled steroid ligand 125I-iodoponasterone A with Kd = 1.1 nM, indistinguishable from that exhibited by DmEcR/DmUSP. BmEcR/BmCF1 forms a specific complex with an ecdysone response element (EcRE) derived from the heat shock protein 27 (hsp27) gene promoter of Drosophila; and, as with DmEcR/DmUSP, formation of this complex is stimulated by the presence of 20-hydroxyecdysone. Finally, BmEcR can substitute for DmEcR in an EcR-deficient Drosophila tissue culture line, stimulating trans-activation of an ecdysone-inducible reporter gene construct. Thus, BmEcR and BmCF1 are the functional counterparts of DmEcR and DmUSP, respectively and, despite considerable sequence divergence between the Drosophila and Bombyx proteins, the counterparts are--at least qualitatively--functionally equivalent.

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