Transcriptional activation by the Antennapedia and fushi tarazu proteins in cultured Drosophila cells

Cell. 1989 Jun 16;57(6):1017-30. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(89)90340-1.


Drosophila homeodomain proteins bind to specific DNA sequences in vitro and are hypothesized to regulate the transcription of other genes during development. Using a cotransfection assay, we have shown that homeodomain proteins encoded by the homeotic gene Antennapedia (Antp) and the segmentation gene fushi tarazu, as well as a hybrid homeodomain protein, are activators of transcription from specific promoters in cultured Drosophila cells. Sequences downstream of the Antp P1 and Ultrabithorax transcription start sites mediate the observed activation. A TAA-rich DNA sequence to which the Antp protein binds in vitro is sufficient to confer regulation on a heterologous promoter. The results demonstrate that homeodomain proteins are transcriptional regulators in vivo and that in cultured cells, different homeodomain-containing proteins can act upon a common sequence to modulate gene transcription.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Homeobox*
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Transcription Factors