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Dev Biol. 1994 Sep;165(1):38-52.

Expression and function of the ultraspiracle (usp) gene during development of Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Biology, University of North Carolina-Greensboro 27412-5001.


The usp locus encodes a member of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily in Drosophila melanogaster that interacts with EcR (ecdysone receptor) to mediate ecdysteroid-induced gene expression. A 2.7-kb usp mRNA was detected at all developmental times tested, although its abundance varied. Among premetamorphic stages, both the 2.7-kb transcript and Usp protein attained their highest levels in the late third larval instar. The 2.7-kb usp transcript was also found in adult stages and a 1.2-kb transcript was detected in the polyadenylated RNA fraction of both mature adult females and early embryos. Aneuploids carrying two usp mutant alleles and a putative variegating usp+ allele often developed deformities of the adult wing disc that apparently resulted from mutational disruption of usp activity before metamorphosis and whose frequency was affected by maternal genotype. Both of the recessive lethal usp mutations associated with this "cleft thorax" phenotype involved substitutions of conserved arginine residues in the DNA-binding domain, although the frequency of the phenotype was not the same for the two alleles. Both mutant proteins retained the ability to form heterodimers with EcR in vitro but showed reduced affinity for an ecdysone response element.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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