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University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach

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Las Vegas (Nev.)


Steroid hormones control important developmental and physiological responses in animals, including humans. It is known that when a cell is exposed to a steroid hormone, there is an immediate change in the genes that are expressed into proteins. Of notable importance is steroid regulation in the salivary glands of larval Drosophila melanogaster and the corresponding physiological responses that are governed by treatment with the conserved insect steroid, 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E). Exposure to the steroid hormone 20E causes a change in gene expression that facilitates the secretion of glue glycoproteins from inside the cells into the lumen of the tissue. Altered gene expression induced from exposure to 20E is manifested in part because of an elevation in the cytoplasmic concentration of Calcium ions (Ca2+). The molecular details that make the connections between the observed secretions of glue granules, the sudden increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration, and the proteins that modulate these physiological responses are unknown, but are now experimentally tractable because of recent advances in the fields of genomics and molecular genetics. We have conducted a search through a database containing over 13,000 expressed genes from the salivary glands that show altered expression before and after hormone exposure. The goal of this research is to compile a list of candidates that show a significantly altered level of expression in preparation for functional genetic tests. Any such genes identified will be compared to human databases for shared functionality in terms of their expression and subsequent control on basic physiological responses in mammalian systems.


Calcium regulating hormones; Drosophila melanogaster; Gene expression; Steroid hormones


Genetics | Genetics and Genomics

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