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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2002 Feb;32(2):113-20.

Ecdysone-regulated puff genes 2000.

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Department of Human Genetics, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Utah, Room 5100, 15 North 2030 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-5331, USA.


The Ashburner model for the hormonal control of polytene chromosome puffing has provided a strong foundation for understanding the basic mechanisms of steroid-regulated gene expression (Cold Spring Harbor Symp. Quant. Biol. 38 (1974) 655). According to this model, the steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (referred here as ecdysone) directly induces the expression of a small set of early regulatory genes. These genes, in turn, induce a much larger set of late target genes that play a more direct role in controlling the biological responses to the hormone. The recent characterization of two early puff genes, E63-1 and E23, and three late puff genes, D-spinophilin, L63, and L82, provide further confirmation of the Ashburner model. In addition, these studies provide exciting new directions for our understanding of ecdysone signaling. Overexpression studies of E63-1 implicate this gene in directing calcium-dependent salivary gland glue secretion. In contrast, overexpression of E23 indicates that this ABC transporter family member may negatively regulate ecdysone signaling by actively transporting the hormone out of target cells. Finally, genetic studies of the L63 and L82 late genes reveal unexpected possible functions for ecdysone in controlling developmental timing and growth. This review surveys the recent characterization of these ecdysone-inducible genes and provides an overview of how they expand our understanding of ecdysone functions during development.

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