Heterodimer of two bHLH-PAS proteins mediates juvenile hormone-induced gene expression

Meng Li, Edward A. Mead, Jinsong Zhu

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203 Scopus citations


Juvenile hormone (JH) plays crucial roles in many aspects of insect life. The Methoprene-tolerant (Met) gene product, a member of the bHLH-PAS family of transcriptional regulators, has been demonstrated to be a key component of the JH signaling pathway. However, the molecular function of Met in JH-induced signal transduction and gene regulation remains to be fully elucidated. Here we show that a transcriptional coactivator of the ecdysteroid receptor complex, FISC, acts as a functional partner of Met in mediating JH-induced gene expression. Met and FISC appear to use their PAS domains to form a dimer only in the presence of JH or JH analogs. In newly emerged adult female mosquitoes, expression of some JH responsive genes is considerably dampened when Met or FISC is depleted by RNAi. Met and FISC are found to be associated with the promoter of the early trypsin gene (AaET) when transcription of this gene is activated by JH. A juvenile hormone response element (JHRE) has been identified in the AaET upstream regulatory region and is bound in vitro by the Met-FISC complex present in the nuclear protein extracts of previtellogenic adult female mosquitoes. In addition, the Drosophila homologs of Met and FISC can also use this mosquito JHRE to activate gene transcription in response to JH in a cell transfection assay. Together, the evidence indicates that Met and FISC form a functional complex on the JHRE in the presence of JH and directly activate transcription of JH target genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-643
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - 11 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Chromatin immunoprecipitation
  • Development
  • Endocrinology


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