The genome of the nematode Pristionchus pacificus encodes putative homologs of RXR/Usp and EcR
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Ecdysteroid signaling is an important regulator of arthropod development and reproduction. However, the role of ecdysteroid signaling in another Ecdysozoan animal, the nematode, remains unclear. We report here the identification, cloning, and temporal expression of genes encoding putative homologs of the two nuclear receptor components of the ecdysone receptor, RXR/Usp (NR2B) and EcR (NR1H), in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus. The P. pacificus genes Ppa-pnhr-1 and Ppa-pnhr-2 encode nuclear receptors with strong sequence similarity to RXR/Usp and EcR, respectively. Maximum likelihood analysis incorporating both DNA-binding and ligand-binding domains places the two proteins in the NR2B and NR1H groups with strong bootstrap support. RT-PCR analysis reveals that both Ppa-pnhr-1 and Ppa-pnhr-2 are expressed during larval development and that Ppa-pnhr-1 expression oscillates with the molting cycle. The identification of a putative ecdysone receptor in a nematode amenable to genetic analysis provides a powerful system to investigate the function and evolution of ecdysone receptor signaling in the Nematoda.