Insulin signaling plays key roles in development, growth and metabolism through dynamic control of glucose uptake, global protein translation and transcriptional regulation. Altered levels of insulin signaling are known to play key roles in development and disease, yet the molecular basis of such differential signaling remains obscure. Expression of the insulin receptor (InR) gene itself appears to play an important role, but the nature of the molecular wiring controlling InR transcription has not been elucidated. We characterized the regulatory elements driving Drosophila InR expression and found that the generally broad expression of this gene is belied by complex individual switch elements, the dynamic regulation of which reflects direct and indirect contributions of FOXO, EcR, Rbf and additional transcription factors through redundant elements dispersed throughout ∼40 kb of non-coding regions. The control of InR transcription in response to nutritional and tissue-specific inputs represents an integration of multiple cis-regulatory elements, the structure and function of which may have been sculpted by evolutionary selection to provide a highly tailored set of signaling responses on developmental and tissue-specific levels.
- Insulin receptor
- Transcriptional enhancer