, Volume 198, Issue 2, pp 213-220

Polyhomeotic: A gene of Drosophila melanogaster required for correct expression of segmental identity


A new locus in Drosophila melanogaster that is required for the correct expression of segmental identity has been discovered. The new locus, termed polyhomeotic (ph), is X-linked and maps cytologically to bands 2D2-3. Homozygous ph flies have homeotic transformations similar to those of known dominant gain of function mutants in the Antennapedia and bithorax complexes (ANT-C, BX-C), and in addition show loss of the humerus. ph interacts with three other similar mutations: Polycomb (Pc), Polycomblike (Pcl), and extra sex comb (esc), and acts as a dominant enhancer of Pc. The expression of ph depends on the ANT-C and BX-C dosage. ph has no embryonic phenotype, but temperature shift studies on ph 2 show that the ph + product is required during embryogenesis and larval development. We propose that ph mutants in some way disrupt the normal expression of the ANT-C and BX-C, and, therefore, that ph + is needed for maintenance of segmental identity.

Communicated by W. Gehring