Effect of ecdysone receptor gene switch ligands on endogenous gene expression in 293 cells

Siva K. Panguluri, Bing Li, Robert E. Hormann, Subba R. Palli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Regulated gene expression may substantially enhance gene therapy. Correlated with structural differences between insect ecdysteroids and mammalian steroids, the ecdysteroids appear to have a benign pharmacology without adversely interfering with mammalian signaling systems. Consequently, the ecdysone receptor-based gene switches are attractive for application in medicine. In the present study, the effect of inducers of ecdysone receptor switches on the expression of endogenous genes in HEK 293 cells was determined. Four ligand chemotypes, represented by a tetrahydroquinoline (RG-120499), one amidoketone (RG-121150), two ecdysteroids [20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) and ponasterone A (Pon A)], and four diacylhydrazines (RG-102240, RG-102277, RG-102398 and RG-100864), were tested in HEK 293 cells. The cells were exposed to ligands at concentrations of 1 μm (RG-120499) or 10 μm (all others) for 72 h and the total RNA was isolated and analyzed using microarrays. Microarray data showed that the tetrahydroquinoline ligand, RG-120499 caused cell death at concentrations ≥ 10 μm. At 1 μm, this ligand caused changes in the expression of genes such as TNF, MAF, Rab and Reprimo. At 10 μm, the amidoketone, RG-121150, induced changes in the expression of genes such as v-jun, FBJ and EGR, but was otherwise noninterfering. Of the two steroids tested, 20E did not affect gene expression, but Pon A caused some changes in the expression of endogenous genes. At lower concentrations pharmacologically relevant for gene therapy, intrinsic gene expression effects of ecdysteroids and amidoketones may actually be insignificant. A fortiori, even at 10 μm, the four diacylhydrazine ligands did not cause significant changes in expression of endogenous genes in 293 cells and therefore should have minimum pleiotropic effects when used as ligands for the ecdysone receptor gene switch.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5669-5689
Number of pages21
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Diacylhydrazine
  • Ecdysone
  • Gene therapy
  • Microarray
  • RSL-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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