20-Hydroxyecdysone regulation of H-fibroin gene in the stored grain pest Corcyra cephalonica, during the last instar larval development

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Chaitanya, R. K.
Sridevi, P.
Senthilkumaran, B.
Dutta Gupta, Aparna
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20-Hydroxyecdysone (20E) controls molting, metamorphosis and reproduction of insects. It binds to a heterodimeric complex of ecdysone receptor (EcR) and ultraspiracle (USP), and regulates the transcription of genes containing ecdysone response elements (EcREs). However, the 20E regulation of silk fibroin genes is largely unexplored. In most lepidopteran larvae, the silk fibroin primarily consists of a large protein, heavy chain fibroin (H-fibroin) that is associated with two small proteins, L-chain fibroin and P25. In the present study, we demonstrate that 20E regulates the expression of H-fibroin gene in Corcyra cephalonica, in a dose-dependent manner during the last instar larval development. Semi-quantitative and real-time PCR studies reveal that physiological doses of 20E do not alter the normal expression, whereas higher doses cause a significant decline in the expression. Luciferase activity assays and gel shift experiments further confirm the presence of a functional EcRE in the upstream region of H-fibroin which regulates the ecdysteroid dependent transcriptional activity of fibroin gene through EcR. In vitro treatment with 20E mimicking insecticides, RH-5849 and RH-5992 decreases the expression of H-fibroin in isolated salivary glands. Insects fed with similar concentrations of these insecticides, metamorphose abnormally. Differences are also observed in the ultrastructure of the silk fibers of control and insecticide fed insects providing additional insight into the disruptive effects of these non-steroidal ecdysteroid agonists. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
20-Hydroxyecdysone (20E), Ecdysone receptor (EcR), Ecdysone response element (EcRE), Gene expression, H-fibroin, Non-steroidal ecdysteroid agonists
Steroids. v.76(1-2)