The steroid hormone ecdysone is a central regulator of insect development. In this report we show that CTCF expression in the prothoracic gland is required for full transcriptional activation of the Halloween genes spookier, shadow and noppera-bo, which encode ecdysone biosynthetic enzymes, and for proper timing of ecdysoneresponsive gene expression. Loss of CTCF results in delayed and less synchronized larval development that can only be rescued by feeding larvae with both, the steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone and cholesterol. Moreover, CTCF-knockdown in prothoracic gland cells leads to increased lipid accumulation. In conclusion, the insulator protein CTCF is required for Halloween gene expression and cholesterol homeostasis in ecdysone-producing cells controlling steroidogenesis.
- Developmental timing
- Halloween genes