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Xiang, Y., Liu, Z., Huang, X. (2010). br regulates the expression of the ecdysone biosynthesis gene npc1.  Dev. Biol. 344(2): 800--808.
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The growth and metamorphosis of insects are regulated by ecdysteroid hormones produced in the ring gland. Ecdysone biosynthesis-related genes are both highly and specifically expressed in the ring gland. However, the intrinsic regulation of ecdysone biosynthesis has received little attention. Here we used the Drosophila npc1 gene to study the mechanism of ring gland-specific gene expression. npc1 is important for sterol trafficking in the ring gland during ecdysone biosynthesis. We have identified a conserved ring gland-specific cis-regulatory element (RSE) in the npc1 promoter using promoter fusion reporter analysis. Furthermore, genetic loss-of-function analysis and in vitro electrophoretic mobility shift assays revealed that the ecdysone early response gene broad complex (br) is a vital factor in the positive regulation of npc1 ring gland expression. Moreover, br also affects the ring gland expression of many other ecdysone biosynthetic genes as well as torso and InR, two key factors in the regulation of ecdysone biosynthesis. These results imply that ecdysone could potentially act through its early response gene br to achieve positive feedback regulation of ecdysone biosynthesis during development.

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    Dev. Biol.
    Developmental Biology
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