The influence of heterodimer partner ultraspiracle/retinoid X receptor on the function of ecdysone receptor

Subba R. Palli, Mariana Z. Kapitskaya, David W. Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


A pair of nuclear receptors, ecdysone receptor (EcR) and ultraspiracle (USP), heterodimerize and transduce ecdysteroid signals. The EcR and its nonsteroidal ligands are being developed for regulation of transgene expression in humans, animals and plants. In mammalian cells, EcR:USP heterodimers can function in the absence of ligand, but EcR/retinoid X receptor (EcR:RXR) heterodimers require the presence of ligand for activation. The heterodimer partner of EcR can influence ligand sensitivity of EcR so that the EcR/Locusta migratoria RXR (EcR:LmRXR) heterodimers are activated at lower concentrations of ligand when compared with the concentrations of ligand required for the activation of EcR/Homo sapiens RXR (EcR:HsRXR) heterodimers. Analysis of chimeric RXRs containing regions of LmRXR and HsRXR and point mutants of HsRXR showed that the amino acid residues present in helix 9 and in the two loops on either end of helix 9 are responsible for improved activity of LmRXR. The EcR:Lm-HsRXR chimera heterodimer induced reporter genes with nanomolar concentration of ligand compared with the micromolar concentration of ligand required for activating the EcR:HsRXR heterodimer. The EcR:Lm-HsRXR chimera heterodimer, but not the EcR:HsRXR heterodimer, supported ligand-dependent induction of reporter gene in a C57BL/6 mouse model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5979-5990
Number of pages12
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Gene switch
  • Ligand-binding domain
  • Nuclear receptor
  • Steroid hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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