Control of the insect metamorphic transition by ecdysteroid production and secretion

Xueyang Pan, Robert P. Connacher, Michael B. O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Ecdysteroids are a class of steroid hormones that controls molting and metamorphic transitions in Ecdysozoan species including insects, in which ecdysteroid biosynthesis and its regulation have been extensively studied. Insect ecdysteroids are produced from dietary sterols by a series of reduction-oxidation reactions in the prothoracic gland and in Drosophila they are released into the hemolymph via vesicle-mediated secretion at the time of metamorphosis. To initiate precisely controlled ecdysteroid pulses, the prothoracic gland functions as a central node integrating both intrinsic and extrinsic signals to control ecdysteroid biosynthesis and secretion. In this review, we outline recent progress in the characterization of ecdysone biosynthesis and steroid trafficking pathways and the discoveries of novel factors regulating prothoracic gland function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Opinion in Insect Science
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank MJ Shimell and Aidan Peterson for comments on the manuscript. This work was funded by a grant R35GM118029 from the National Institutes of Health to MBO. Support for R.C. was provided by National Institutes of Health, R01GM105707 to Aaron Goldstrohm.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review


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