Steroid induction of a peptide hormone gene leads to orchestration of a defined behavioral sequence

Neuron. 1999 Jul;23(3):523-35. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80805-3.


At the end of each molt, insects shed the old cuticle by performing preecdysis and ecdysis behaviors. Regulation of these centrally patterned movements involves peptide signaling between endocrine Inka cells and the CNS. In Inka cells, we have identified the cDNA and gene encoding preecdysis-triggering hormone (PETH) and ecdysis-triggering hormone (ETH), which activate these behaviors. Prior to behavioral onset, rising ecdysteroid levels induce expression of the ecdysone receptor (EcR) and ETH gene in Inka cells and evoke CNS sensitivity to PETH and ETH. Subsequent ecdysteroid decline is required for peptide release, which initiates three motor patterns in specific order: PETH triggers preecdysis I, while ETH activates preecdysis II and ecdysis. The Inka cell provides a model for linking steroid regulation of peptide hormone expression and release with activation of a defined behavioral sequence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Ecdysteroids
  • Electrophysiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Hemolymph / chemistry
  • Insect Hormones / analysis
  • Insect Hormones / genetics*
  • Insect Hormones / pharmacology
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Larva / chemistry
  • Larva / genetics
  • Manduca / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molting / physiology*
  • Nervous System / growth & development
  • Peptides / analysis
  • Peptides / genetics*
  • Peptides / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Steroid / genetics
  • Steroids / physiology


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Ecdysteroids
  • Insect Hormones
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Manduca sexta ecdysis-triggering hormone
  • Peptides
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Steroids
  • ecdysone receptor
  • preecdysis-triggering hormone

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF165427