Ecdysone-dependent feedback regulation of prothoracicotropic hormone controls the timing of developmental maturation

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The activation of a neuroendocrine system that induces a surge in steroid production is a conserved initiator of the juvenile-to-adult transition in many animals. The trigger for maturation is the secretion of brain-derived neuropeptides, yet the mechanisms controlling the timely onset of this event remain ill-defined. Here, we show that a regulatory feedback circuit controlling the Drosophila neuropeptide Prothoracicotropic hormone (PTTH) triggers maturation onset. We identify the Ecdysone Receptor (EcR) in the PTTH-expressing neurons (PTTHn) as a regulator of developmental maturation onset. Loss of EcR in these PTTHn impairs PTTH signaling, which delays maturation. We find that the steroid ecdysone dose-dependently affects Ptth transcription, promoting its expression at lower concentrations and inhibiting it at higher concentrations. Our findings indicate the existence of a feedback circuit in which rising ecdysone levels trigger, via EcR activity in the PTTHn, the PTTH surge that generates the maturation-inducing ecdysone peak toward the end of larval development. Because steroid feedback is also known to control the vertebrate maturation-inducing hypothalamicpituitary-gonadal axis, our findings suggest an overall conservation of the feedback-regulatory neuroendocrine circuitry that controls the timing of maturation initiation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdev188110
Issue number14
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Drosophila, Ecdysone, Maturation, Prothoracicotropic, Ptth, Steroid

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ID: 247984587