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Cell. 1990 Nov 30;63(5):969-76.

Human Hox-4.2 and Drosophila deformed encode similar regulatory specificities in Drosophila embryos and larvae.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511.


Within the serial array of vertebrate homeobox genes in the Hox complexes, it is possible to define a subgroup that is structurally homologous to the Drosophila homeotic gene Deformed (Dfd). We wished to test whether a vertebrate Dfd-like protein could substitute for any of the regulatory functions of the Dfd protein in Drosophila embryos, including its ability to transcriptionally activate the Dfd transcription unit. A fusion gene consisting of a heat shock promoter attached to the human Hox-4.2 gene was introduced into the Drosophila genome, and its regulatory and developmental effects were assayed after heat shock. In developing embryonic and larval cells, we find that human Hox-4.2 specifically activates ectopic expression of the endogeneous Dfd transcription unit and phenocopies a dominant mutant allele of Dfd. Thus, human Hox-4.2 can specifically substitute for a normal regulatory function of its Drosophila homolog, Dfd.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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