Redesigning the body plan of Drosophila by ectopic expression of the homoeotic gene Antennapedia

Nature. 1987 Feb 26-Mar 4;325(6107):816-8. doi: 10.1038/325816a0.


Genetic and molecular studies on the expression of Antennapedia (Antp) have suggested that this gene specifies mainly the second thoracic segment. On the basis of our molecular analysis of dominant gain-of-function mutants we have postulated that the transformation of antennae into second legs is due to the ectopic overexpression of the Antp+ protein. This hypothesis was tested by inserting the complementary DNA encoding the normal Antp protein into a heat-shock expression vector and subsequent germ-line transformation. As predicted, heat induction at defined larval stages leads to the transformation of antennae into second legs. The dorsal part of the head can also be transformed into second thoracic structures (scutum) indicating that Antp indeed specifies the second thoracic segment. By ectopic overexpression of the Antp protein the body plan of the fruit fly can be altered in a predictable way.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Recombinant
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Extremities / embryology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Head
  • Hot Temperature
  • Mutation
  • Thorax / embryology
  • Transformation, Genetic


  • DNA, Recombinant