Relationship between the product of the Drosophila ultraspiracle locus and the vertebrate retinoid X receptor

Nature. 1990 Sep 20;347(6290):298-301. doi: 10.1038/347298a0.


The vitamin A derivative, retinoic acid, can regulate morphogenesis and differentiation in vertebrates. Two different subfamilies of the steroid receptor superfamily of transcription factors, the retinoic acid receptors and the retinoid X receptor, mediate the effects of retinoic acid. As part of an analysis of the hormonal control of development, we have examined the Drosophila genome for retinoic acid receptor homologues. Here we describe one such gene, XR2C, which encodes a product with structural similarity to the human retinoic acid-responsive transcription factor, retinoid X receptor. This receptor-like protein is encoded by ultraspiracle (usp), a locus required both maternally and zygotically for pattern formation. The discovery that the usp product is a retinoid X receptor homologue suggests that similar chemical cues underlie morphogenic signalling in vertebrate and invertebrate systems.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid
  • DNA

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X53417