Ecdysone receptor directly binds the promoter of the Drosophila caspase dronc, regulating its expression in specific tissues

Dimitrios Cakouros, Tasman J. Daish, Sharad Kumar

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73 Citations (Scopus)


The steroid hormone ecdysone regulates moulting, cell death, and differentiation during insect development. Ecdysone mediates its biological effects by either direct activation of gene transcription after binding to its receptor EcR-Usp or via hierarchical transcriptional regulation of several primary transcription factors. In turn, these transcription factors regulate the expression of several downstream genes responsible for specific biological outcomes. DRONC, the Drosophila initiator caspase, is transcriptionally regulated by ecdysone during development. We demonstrate here that the dronc promoter directly binds EcR-Usp. We further show that mutation of the EcR-Usp binding element (EcRBE) reduces transcription of a reporter and abolishes transactivation by an EcR isoform. We demonstrate that EcRBE is required for temporal regulation of dronc expression in response to ecdysone in specific tissues. We also uncover the participation of a putative repressor whose function appears to be coupled with EcR-Usp. These results indicate that direct binding of EcR-Usp is crucial for controlling the timing of dronc expression in specific tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-640
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 7 Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Gene transcription
  • Nuclear hormone receptors
  • Steroid hormones
  • Transcriptional regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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