Direct integration of Hox and segmentation gene inputs during Drosophila development

Nature. 2004 Oct 7;431(7009):653-9. doi: 10.1038/nature02946.


During Drosophila embryogenesis, segments, each with an anterior and posterior compartment, are generated by the segmentation genes while the Hox genes provide each segment with a unique identity. These two processes have been thought to occur independently. Here we show that abdominal Hox proteins work directly with two different segmentation proteins, Sloppy paired and Engrailed, to repress the Hox target gene Distalless in anterior and posterior compartments, respectively. These results suggest that segmentation proteins can function as Hox cofactors and reveal a previously unanticipated use of compartments for gene regulation by Hox proteins. Our results suggest that these two classes of proteins may collaborate to directly control gene expression at many downstream target genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / embryology
  • Abdomen / physiology
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Body Patterning / genetics
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genes, Insect / genetics*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Response Elements / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • En protein, Drosophila
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Transcription Factors
  • distal-less protein, insect
  • slp1 protein, Drosophila
  • DNA