Heterodimerization of ecdysone receptor and ultraspiracle on symmetric and asymmetric response elements

Srini C. Perera, Sichun Zheng, Qi Li Feng, Peter J. Krell, Arthur Retnakaran, Subba R. Palli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Heterodimerization of nuclear receptors is facilitated by the interaction of two dimerization interfaces: one spanning the DNA-binding (C domain) region and the adjacent hinge (D domain) region, and the other in the ligand-binding (E domain) region. Ultraspiracle (USP) heterodimerizes with ecdysone receptor (EcR) and this complex participates in ecdysone signal transduction. The natural ecdysone response elements (EcREs) discovered so far are asymmetric elements composed of either imperfect palindromes or direct repeats. However, gel mobility shift assays have shown that both symmetric (perfect palindromes) and asymmetric (imperfect palindromes and direct repeats) elements can bind to the EcR/USP complex. Therefore, we analyzed EcR/USP domains involved in heterodimerization on different types of response elements (RE). Gel shift assays using full-length and truncated EcR and USP proteins showed that heterodimerization of these two proteins in the presence of asymmetric RE (DR4 and the natural EcRE hsp27) requires both dimerization interfaces present in CD and E domains of both proteins. In contrast, the dimerization interface present in the E domain of either EcR or USP was not essential for heterodimerization on symmetric RE such as PAL1 or IR1. We conclude that the use of heterodimerization interfaces present in CD and E domains of EcR/USP depends on the nature of response elements they bind to.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-70
Number of pages16
JournalArchives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • DNA binding
  • Direct repeats
  • EcR
  • Ecdysone receptor
  • Heterodimerization
  • Palindromes
  • Response elements
  • USP
  • Ultraspiracle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Insect Science


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