The juvenile hormone receptor as a target of juvenoid "insect growth regulators"

Arch Insect Biochem Physiol. 2020 Mar;103(3):e21615. doi: 10.1002/arch.21615. Epub 2019 Sep 10.


Synthetic compounds that mimic the action of juvenile hormones (JHs) are founding members of a class of insecticides called insect growth regulators (IGRs). Like JHs, these juvenoids block metamorphosis of insect larvae to reproductive adults. Many biologically active juvenoids deviate in their chemical structure considerably from the sesquiterpenoid JHs, raising questions about the mode of action of such JH mimics. Despite the early deployment of juvenoid IGRs in the mid-1970s, their molecular effect could not be understood until recent discoveries of JH signaling through an intracellular JH receptor, namely the ligand-binding transcription factor Methoprene-tolerant (Met). Here, we briefly overview evidence defining three widely employed and chemically distinct juvenoid IGRs (methoprene, pyriproxyfen, and fenoxycarb), as agonist ligands of the JH receptor. We stress that knowledge of the target molecule is critical for using these compounds both as insecticides and as research tools.

Keywords: Drosophila; IGR; agonist ligand; bHLH-PAS protein; hormone receptor; juvenile hormone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects
  • Insecticide Resistance
  • Insecticides / chemistry
  • Insecticides / metabolism
  • Insecticides / pharmacology
  • Juvenile Hormones / agonists
  • Juvenile Hormones / chemistry
  • Juvenile Hormones / pharmacology*
  • Ligands
  • Metamorphosis, Biological / drug effects*
  • Methoprene / metabolism
  • Methoprene / pharmacology
  • Phenylcarbamates / metabolism
  • Phenylcarbamates / pharmacology
  • Pyridines / metabolism
  • Pyridines / pharmacology
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Insecticides
  • Juvenile Hormones
  • Ligands
  • Phenylcarbamates
  • Pyridines
  • pyriproxyfen
  • Methoprene
  • fenoxycarb

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