The design and analysis of a homeotic response element

Robert A.H. White, Simon E. Aspland, Jenny J. Brookman, Lesley Clayton, Graham Sproat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We have shown that the 26 bp bx1 element from the regulatory region of Distal-less is capable of imposing control by the homeotic genes Ultrabithorax and abdominal-A on a general epidermal activator in Drosophila. This provides us with an assay to analyze the sequence requirements for specific repression by these Hox genes. Both the core Hox binding site, 5'- TAAT, and the adjacent EXD 5'-TGAT core site are required for repression by Ultrabithorax and abdominal-A. The Distal-less bx1 site thus fits with the model of Hox protein binding specificity based on the consensus PBX/HOX- family site TGATNNAT[g/t][g/a], where the key elements of binding specificity are proposed to lie in the two base pairs following the TGAT. A single base pair deletion in the bx1 sequence generates a site, bx1:A-mut, that on the consensus PBX/HOX model would be expected to be regulated by the Deformed Hox gene. We observed, however, that the bx1:A-mut site was regulated predominantly by Sex combs reduced, Ultrabithorax and abdominal-A. The analysis of this site indicates that the specificity of action of Hox proteins may depend not only on selective DNA binding but also on specific post-binding interactions. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-226
Number of pages10
JournalMechanisms of Development
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA binding protein
  • Distal-less
  • Drosophila
  • Extradenticle
  • Gene regulation
  • Grainyhead
  • Homeotic gene
  • Hox gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Embryology
  • Developmental Biology


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