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Dev Biol. 2001 Mar 1;231(1):125-37.

Hormonal regulation and patterning of the broad-complex in the epidermis and wing discs of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta.

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Department of Zoology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-1800, USA.


Expression of Manduca Broad-Complex (BR-C) mRNA in the larval epidermis is under the dual control of ecdysone and juvenile hormone (JH). Immunocytochemistry with antibodies that recognize the core, Z2, and Z4 domains of Manduca BR-C proteins showed that BR-C appearance not only temporally correlates with pupal commitment of the epidermis on day 3 of the fifth (final) larval instar, but also occurs in a strict spatial pattern within the abdominal segment similar to that seen for the loss of sensitivity to JH. Levels of Z2 and Z4 BR-C proteins shift with Z2 predominating at pupal commitment and Z4 dominant during early pupal cuticle synthesis. Both induction of BR-C mRNA in the epidermis by 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) and its suppression by JH were shown to be independent of new protein synthesis. For suppression JH must be present during the initial exposure to 20E. When JH was given 6 h after 20E, suppression was only seen in those regions that had not yet expressed BR-C. In the wing discs BR-C was first detected earlier 1.5 days after ecdysis, coincident with the pupal commitment of the wing. Our findings suggest that BR-C expression is one of the first molecular events underlying pupal commitment of both epidermis and wing discs.

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