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Cell. 1990 Nov 30;63(5):961-7.

Mouse Hox-2.2 specifies thoracic segmental identity in Drosophila embryos and larvae.

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Department of Human Genetics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511.


The mouse genome has a number of homeobox genes that are structurally similar to the Drosophila Antenapedia (Antp) gene. We find that one of the mouse Antp-like genes, Hox-2.2, when expressed in developing Drosophila cells under control of a heat shock promoter, can induce homeotic transformations that are nearly identical to those caused by ectopic expression of Antp. In larvae, the Hox-2.2-induced transformations include thoracic denticle belts in place of head structures; in adults, the Hox-2.2 transformations include thoracic legs in place of antennae. The phenotypic effects of Hox-2.2 do not depend on the endogenous Antp gene, whose spatial limits of expression are unaffected by Hox-2.2 expression. Thus, in the Drosophila embryo, Hox-2.2 can substitute for some of the segmental identity functions of Antp, presumably by regulating the same set of downstream genes.

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