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FEBS Lett. 1999 Dec 10;463(1-2):133-8.

Molecular cloning and biological activity of ecdysis-triggering hormones in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Entomology, 5419 Boyce Hall, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.


Ecdysis-triggering hormones (ETH) initiate a defined behavioral sequence leading to shedding of the insect cuticle. We have identified eth, a gene encoding peptides with ETH-like structure and biological activity in Drosophila melanogaster. The open reading frame contains three putative peptides based on canonical endopeptidase cleavage and amidation sites. Two of the predicted peptides (DrmETH1 and DrmETH2) prepared by chemical synthesis induce premature eclosion upon injection into pharate adults. The promoter region of the gene contains a direct repeat ecdysteroid response element. Identification of eth in Drosophila provides opportunities for genetic manipulation of endocrine and behavioral events underlying a stereotypic behavior.

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