Cytoplasmic Hsp70s promote EcR transport into the nucleus by responding to various stimuli

Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2023 Jun:157:103964. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2023.103964. Epub 2023 May 23.


Metamorphosis is one of the most important physiological processes in insects, which is coordinated by juvenile hormone (JH) and 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E). Ecdysone receptor (EcR) is a steroid receptor (SR), which usually presents in cytoplasm and transfers into nucleus after binding to 20E. Heat shock proteins (Hsps) are suggested to be important members of the SR complex. However, their role in nucleocytoplasmic shuttle of the EcR remains unclear. In the present study, we found that apoptozole (Hsp70 inhibitor) suppressed the larval molting by decreasing the expression of ecdysone signaling genes. Two cytoplasmic (Cy) Hsp70s (Hsp72 and Hsp73) interacted with both EcR and ultraspiracle (USP, the heterodimer partner of EcR). By immunohistochemistry experiments, we revealed that CyHsp70 co-localized with EcR in the cytoplasm, and that both apoptozole and interfering of CyHsp70 significantly inhibited the process of EcR entering the nucleus under 20E induction, while reducing the expression of ecdysone signaling genes. Interestingly, the nuclear localization of EcR was also promoted by two other stimuli, including JH and heat stress, and this promotion was inhibited by apoptozole. This implies that various stimuli can induce EcR entry into the nucleus, and that this process is mediated by CyHsp70. Curiously, neither JH nor heat stress activated the ecdysone signaling genes; instead, they have a significant inhibitory effect on them. Taken together, it seems that Cytoplasmic Hsp70s promote EcR transport into the nucleus by responding to various stimuli, and that the biological effects of various stimuli passing through the EcR are different. Thus, our data provide a new viewpoint to understand the mechanism of nucleocytoplasmic shuttle of EcR.

Keywords: EcR; Ecdysone; Hsp70; Metamorphosis; Nuclear localization; Signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins* / genetics
  • Ecdysone
  • Ecdysterone / metabolism
  • Juvenile Hormones / metabolism
  • Metamorphosis, Biological / genetics
  • Receptors, Steroid* / genetics
  • Receptors, Steroid* / metabolism


  • ecdysone receptor
  • apoptozole
  • Ecdysone
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Ecdysterone
  • Juvenile Hormones
  • Drosophila Proteins