Isolation and partial characterization of a gene from trachea of Manduca sexta that requires and is negatively regulated by ecdysteroids

Melinda Mészáros, David B. Morton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The molting cycle in insects is regulated by the fluctuating levels of ecdysteroids. Twenty-four hours prior to the pupal molt in Manduca sexta steroid titers are relatively high and they fall to very low levels at 4 hr before the molt. Several physiological events accompanying molts have been shown to require the rise and then the subsequent decline of ecdysteroid levels. These events also require the expression of a new set of genes. We used subtractive hybridization to isolate genes that are expressed 4 hr, but not 24 hr, prior to the pupal molt in the nervous system of Manduca. These genes are expected to play a role either in ecdysis behavior or in the development of pupal/adult structures. The first such gene we have identified, esr20 (EcdySteroid Regulated) encodes a 20-kDa protein. The deduced amino acid sequence of the protein shows similarity to acidic domains in three unrelated proteins, chick nucleolin, rat heavy-molecular-weight neurofilament, and the Drosophila steroid orphan receptor, knirps-related. The similarity among the four proteins appears to be in regions implicated in protein-protein interactions. The accumulation of esr20 mRNA starts 16 hr prior to the pupal molt and abruptly stops at ecdysis. Expression of esr20 was localized to tracheal epithelial cells within all tissue types, and the transcript was present prior to the larval, pupal, and adult molts only after the molting peak of ecdysteroids had declined. Its expression was inhibited in the presence of ecdysteroids in vitro and required protein synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-630
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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