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Dev Biol. 2009 Apr 15;328(2):541-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.01.013. Epub 2009 Jan 20.

EcR-B1 and Usp nuclear hormone receptors regulate expression of the VM32E eggshell gene during Drosophila oogenesis.

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Dipartimento di Biologia Evoluzionistica Sperimentale, Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.


Ecdysone signaling plays key roles in Drosophila oogenesis, as its activity is required at multiple steps during egg chamber maturation. Recently, its involvement has been reported on eggshell production by controlling chorion gene transcription and amplification. Here, we present evidence that ecdysone signaling also controls the expression of the eggshell gene VM32E, whose product is a component of vitelline membrane and endochorion layers. Specifically blocking the function of the different Ecdysone receptor (EcR) isoforms we demonstrate that EcR-B1 is responsible for ecdysone-mediated VM32E transcriptional regulation. Moreover, we show that the EcR partner Ultraspiracle (Usp) is also necessary for VM32E expression. By analyzing the activity of specific VM32E regulatory regions in usp(2) clones we identify the promoter region mediating ecdysone-dependent VM32E expression. By in vitro binding assay and site-directed mutagenesis we demonstrate that this region contains a Usp binding site necessary for VM32E regulation. Our results further support the crucial role of ecdysone signaling in controlling transcription of eggshell structural genes and suggest that the heterodimeric complex EcR-B1/Usp mediates the ecdysone-dependent VM32E transcriptional activation in the main body follicle cells.

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