Cloning and developmental expression of the ecdysone receptor gene from the spruce budworm, choristoneura fumiferana

Ravi Kothapalli, Subba R. Palli, Tim R. Ladd, Sardar S. Sohi, Dean Cress, Tarlochan S. Dhadialla, George Tzertzinis, Arthur Retnakaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Degenerate oligonucleotides were designed on the basis of conserved amino acid sequences in the DNA and ligand‐binding regions of the members of the steroid hormone receptor superfamily. Using these oligonucleotides in RNA‐PCR, a cDNA fragment was isolated from the spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana. Comparison of the deduced amino acid sequence of this cDNA fragment with the members of the steroid hormone receptor superfamily suggested that this PCR fragment is a region of the ecdysone receptor from C. fumiferana. Using this cDNA fragment as a probe, 10 clones were isolated from a cDNA library that was constructed using the RNA from 4‐ and 5‐day old embryos of C. fumiferana. Two cDNA clones (1.3 and 3 kb) that overlap and show amino acid identity with Drosophila melanogaster ecdysone receptor B‐1 isoform (DmEcR) were characterized and sequenced. The longest open reading frame had 539 codons and covered the complete EcR coding region. The deduced amino acid sequence of this open reading frame had all five of the regions typical for a steroid hormone nuclear receptor. The C domain or DNA binding region showed the highest identity with EcR proteins from D. melanogaster, Chironomus tentans, Aedes aegypti, Manduca sexta and Bombyx mori. The A/B region, D domain or hinge region, E domain, or ligand binding region also showed significant amino acid similarity with the EcR proteins from the five insects mentioned above. The C. fumiferana ecdysteroid receptor (CfEcR) cDNA probe detected a 6.0‐kb mRNA that was present throughout the development of C. fumiferana. The CfEcR mRNA increases in abundance at the time of the ecdysteroid peak during the molting phase in the embryonic, larval and pupal stages but remains low during the intermolt period. In the 6th instar larvae, the 6‐kb CfEcR mRNA was detected in the epidermis, fat body, and midgut and maximum expression was observed during the prepupal peak of ecdysteroids in the hemolymph. CfEcR mRNA was induced in ecdysone treated CF‐203 cells as well as in the epidermis and midgut of larvae that were fed the nonsteroidal ecdysteroid agonist, RH‐5992. The induction occurred within an hour and reached maximum levels around 3 hr, after which it decreased to the basal level by 6 hr. In vitro transcription and translation of the CfEcR cDNA yielded a 67‐Kda protein that bound to the ecdysone response element (EcRE) as a heterodimer, along with the ultraspiracle protein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-330
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995


  • Choristoneura fumiferana cDNA cloning
  • Ecdysone receptor
  • developmental expression
  • ecdysone response element
  • molting and metamorphosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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