From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellness Encyclopedia


20-Hydroxyecdysone (20E) is a naturally occurring steroid hormone that plays a crucial role in the molting and development of arthropods, including insects, crustaceans, and some arthropod-related species. It is considered one of the most active forms of ecdysteroids, a class of hormones that are pivotal in regulating molting and metamorphosis in these organisms.

Overview[edit | edit source]

20-Hydroxyecdysone is synthesized from cholesterol in arthropods. It functions by binding to ecdysone receptors, which are nuclear receptors that upon activation, initiate the transcription of genes responsible for the molting process. This hormone is critical for the proper timing of molting and for the differentiation of tissues necessary for the development of adult features in arthropods.

Biosynthesis and Mechanism[edit | edit source]

The biosynthesis of 20-Hydroxyecdysone begins with cholesterol, which undergoes a series of enzymatic transformations. The final step involves the hydroxylation of ecdysone into 20-Hydroxyecdysone, which is catalyzed by the enzyme CYP314A1, also known as the Halloween gene "shade".

Upon its formation, 20-Hydroxyecdysone diffuses into target cells and binds to its receptor, forming a receptor-hormone complex. This complex then enters the nucleus and binds to specific DNA sequences, leading to the transcription of genes that are essential for molting and development.

Functions[edit | edit source]

The primary function of 20-Hydroxyecdysone is to regulate the molting cycle of arthropods. It controls the degradation of the old exoskeleton and the synthesis of a new one, a process critical for growth and development. Additionally, 20-Hydroxyecdysone is involved in other physiological processes, including reproduction, diapause, and stress responses.

Research and Applications[edit | edit source]

In research, 20-Hydroxyecdysone is used to study gene expression, developmental biology, and the endocrine systems of arthropods. Its role in insect development makes it a target for the development of insecticides. By disrupting the normal signaling pathways of 20-Hydroxyecdysone, scientists aim to create compounds that can control pest populations without harming non-target species.

Safety and Environmental Impact[edit | edit source]

As a naturally occurring compound, 20-Hydroxyecdysone is considered to have minimal environmental impact compared to synthetic chemicals. However, the specificity and long-term effects of disrupting ecdysteroid signaling in ecosystems are areas of ongoing research.


Navigation: Wellness - Encyclopedia - Health topics - Disease Index‏‎ - Drugs - World Directory - Gray's Anatomy - Keto diet - Recipes

Search WikiMD

Ad.Tired of being Overweight? Try W8MD's physician weight loss program.
Semaglutide (Ozempic / Wegovy and Tirzepatide (Mounjaro / Zepbound) available.
Advertise on WikiMD

WikiMD is not a substitute for professional medical advice. See full disclaimer.

Credits:Most images are courtesy of Wikimedia commons, and templates Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY SA or similar.

Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD