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Gene Review

al  -  aristaless

Drosophila melanogaster

Synonyms: A1, AL, CG3935, Dmel\CG3935, Homeobox protein aristaless, ...
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Disease relevance of al

  • Most strikingly, however, 90% of heterozygous mice were reported to develop multiple intestinal adenomatous polyps, most notably in the proximal colon (Chawengsaksophak et al., 1997) [1].
  • Mutations in the highly conserved Aristaless-related homeodomain protein ARX have been shown to underlie multiple forms of X-linked mental retardation [2].

High impact information on al

  • Ectopic expression of wg can induce both ectopic al expression and a duplication of the proximodistal axis (the development of supernumerary legs), but only in regions expressing high levels of dpp [3].
  • The proximodistal axis may be specified via a mechanism involving a direct interaction between cells expressing wg, dpp, and possibly al [3].
  • Driever et al. proposed that at least one other bcd-activated gene controls the development of head regions anterior to the hb domain [4].
  • The al gene contains a prd-type homeo domain and a Pro/Gln-rich domain and, hence, probably encodes a transcription factor [5].
  • The al gene is also transcribed during embryogenesis [5].

Biological context of al

  • The roles of the homeobox genes aristaless and Distal-less in patterning the legs and wings of Drosophila [6].
  • The al gene has been cloned and identified by P-element-mediated germ-line transformation with a genomic DNA fragment, which rescues a lethal mutation of al as well as aspects of the adult al phenotype [5].
  • So far, only partial nucleotide sequences have been reported for mouse Hoxa-9 cDNA (Rubin et al., (1987) Mol. Cell. Biol. 7, 3836-3841) [7].
  • Finally, we have molecularly characterized an enhancer trap line, AE33, that was identified in earlier screens as a target of both ro and gl (freeman et al., 1992; Treisman and Rubin, 1996) [8].
  • Mammalian alpha-adaptins are encoded by two genes; however, Drosophila alpha-adaptin has a single gene locus, within polytene bands 21C2-C3 on the left arm of the chromosome 2, closely adjacent to the paired homeobox gene aristaless [9].

Anatomical context of al

  • Tarsus/pretarsus boundary formation requires at least two different Bar functions, early antagonistic interactions with a pretarsus-specific homeobox gene, aristaless, and the subsequent induction of Fas II expression in pretarsus cells abutting tarsal segment 5 [10].
  • Mouse Alx3: an aristaless-like homeobox gene expressed during embryogenesis in ectomesenchyme and lateral plate mesoderm [11].
  • Previously, we have identified three highly-related genes of the mouse Iroquois gene family that exert specific expression patterns in the central nervous system (A. Bosse et al., Mech Dev 69:169-181, 1997) [12].

Regulatory relationships of al

  • C15 is expressed in the same cells as al and, together, C15 and Al appear to directly repress B [13].

Other interactions of al

  • Here, the roles played by al and Dll in patterning the legs and wings have been investigated through loss of function studies [6].
  • No Lim1 misexpression occurred upon aristaless misexpression [14].
  • The most frequent recombinant phenotype observed was b cn followed by cn and al [15].
  • The P11 sequence corresponds to the Hrb87F sequence that was recently described by Haynes et al [16].
  • The homeobox-containing gene tinman (msh-2, Bodmer et al., 1990 Development 110, 661-669) is expressed in the mesoderm primordium, and this expression requires the function of the mesoderm determinant twist [17].


  1. CDX2, a human homologue of Drosophila caudal, is mutated in both alleles in a replication error positive colorectal cancer. Wicking, C., Simms, L.A., Evans, T., Walsh, M., Chawengsaksophak, K., Beck, F., Chenevix-Trench, G., Young, J., Jass, J., Leggett, B., Wainwright, B. Oncogene (1998) [Pubmed]
  2. Regulation of chemosensory and GABAergic motor neuron development by the C. elegans Aristaless/Arx homolog alr-1. Melkman, T., Sengupta, P. Development (2005) [Pubmed]
  3. Axis specification in the developing Drosophila appendage: the role of wingless, decapentaplegic, and the homeobox gene aristaless. Campbell, G., Weaver, T., Tomlinson, A. Cell (1993) [Pubmed]
  4. The orthodenticle gene is regulated by bicoid and torso and specifies Drosophila head development. Finkelstein, R., Perrimon, N. Nature (1990) [Pubmed]
  5. Molecular genetics of aristaless, a prd-type homeo box gene involved in the morphogenesis of proximal and distal pattern elements in a subset of appendages in Drosophila. Schneitz, K., Spielmann, P., Noll, M. Genes Dev. (1993) [Pubmed]
  6. The roles of the homeobox genes aristaless and Distal-less in patterning the legs and wings of Drosophila. Campbell, G., Tomlinson, A. Development (1998) [Pubmed]
  7. Analysis of the murine Hoxa-9 cDNA: an alternatively spliced transcript encodes a truncated protein lacking the homeodomain. Fujimoto, S., Araki, K., Chisaka, O., Araki, M., Takagi, K., Yamamura, K. Gene (1998) [Pubmed]
  8. A Drosophila gene regulated by rough and glass shows similarity to ena and VASP. DeMille, M.M., Kimmel, B.E., Rubin, G.M. Gene (1996) [Pubmed]
  9. Alpha-adaptin, a marker for endocytosis, is expressed in complex patterns during Drosophila development. Dornan, S., Jackson, A.P., Gay, N.J. Mol. Biol. Cell (1997) [Pubmed]
  10. Formation and specification of distal leg segments in Drosophila by dual Bar homeobox genes, BarH1 and BarH2. Kojima, T., Sato, M., Saigo, K. Development (2000) [Pubmed]
  11. Mouse Alx3: an aristaless-like homeobox gene expressed during embryogenesis in ectomesenchyme and lateral plate mesoderm. ten Berge, D., Brouwer, A., el Bahi, S., Guénet, J.L., Robert, B., Meijlink, F. Dev. Biol. (1998) [Pubmed]
  12. Identification of a novel mouse Iroquois homeobox gene, Irx5, and chromosomal localisation of all members of the mouse Iroquois gene family. Bosse, A., Stoykova, A., Nieselt-Struwe, K., Chowdhury, K., Copeland, N.G., Jenkins, N.A., Gruss, P. Dev. Dyn. (2000) [Pubmed]
  13. Regulation of gene expression in the distal region of the Drosophila leg by the Hox11 homolog, C15. Campbell, G. Dev. Biol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  14. Requirements of Lim1, a Drosophila LIM-homeobox gene, for normal leg and antennal development. Tsuji, T., Sato, A., Hiratani, I., Taira, M., Saigo, K., Kojima, T. Development (2000) [Pubmed]
  15. Modification by chloramphenicol of diethyl sulphate-induced male recombination frequency in Drosophila melanogaster. Miglani, G.S., Kaur, N.P. Indian J. Exp. Biol. (1995) [Pubmed]
  16. Drosophila snRNP associated protein P11 which specifically binds to heat shock puff 93D reveals strong homology with hnRNP core protein A1. Hovemann, B.T., Dessen, E., Mechler, H., Mack, E. Nucleic Acids Res. (1991) [Pubmed]
  17. The gene tinman is required for specification of the heart and visceral muscles in Drosophila. Bodmer, R. Development (1993) [Pubmed]
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