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Gene Review

abd-A  -  abdominal A

Drosophila melanogaster

Synonyms: Abd-A, AbdA, Abda, BX-C, CG10325, ...
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Disease relevance of abd-A

  • The comparison of wildtype embryos with embryos carrying the heat shock-abd-A construct but no abd-A endogenous product indicate that some elements of the pattern-like shape of denticle belts or ventral pits depend on the amount of abd-A protein [1].

High impact information on abd-A

  • Normal enhancer function requires positive regulation by Ubx and negative regulation by abd-A [2].
  • In abdominal segments A1-A8 the overexpressed Ubx product establishes a normal pattern, alone (A1) or in combination with abdominal-A (A2-A4) and Abdominal-B (A5-A8), indicating that the excess of product is irrelevant [3].
  • We find that the pattern of adult muscle precursor cells characteristic of the thorax can be converted to that seen in the abdomen by expressing the homeotic gene abdominal-A specifically in the mesoderm [4].
  • Genetic and molecular results indicate that this deficiency spans at least the interval between the Deformed and abdominal-A homologues [5].
  • A burst of expression of the Hox protein Abdominal-A (AbdA) specifies the time at which apoptosis occurs, thereby determining the final number of progeny that each neuroblast generates [6].

Biological context of abd-A

  • Distinct roles of the homeotic genes Ubx and abd-A in beetle embryonic abdominal appendage development [7].
  • It therefore contained all sequences of the BX-C though in the abdominal region the abd-A and Abd-B domains were not adjacent to each other in the chromosome [8].
  • This genotype was phenotypically normal and demonstrates that DNA sequences in the abd-A and Abd-B regions do not require cis-arrangement for their activity [8].
  • The same result was obtained when the third binding site of HB1 was altered, suggesting that this site is responsible for abd-A-dependent repression [9].
  • Furthermore, the transcripts from each iab region are discrete and the transcripts do not spread across the insulator elements that delineate the iab regions [10].

Anatomical context of abd-A

  • Furthermore, targeted ectopic expression of Ubx or abd-A indicates that these homeotic genes influence muscle cell fates by autonomous action in mesodermal cells [11].
  • CONCLUSIONS: The specific requirement for abd-A and not Ubx in gonad development does not reflect differences in the properties of the proteins that these genes encode, but presumably reflects differences in their regulation [12].
  • Here we show that the spatially restricted expression of dpp in the visceral mesoderm is regulated by the homeotic genes Ubx and abd-A [13].
  • In a branchiopod crustacean, Ubx/AbdA proteins are expressed in both thorax and abdomen, including the limb primordia, but do not repress limbs [14].
  • Requirement of Abdominal-A and Abdominal-B in the developing genitalia of Drosophila breaks the posterior downregulation rule [15].

Associations of abd-A with chemical compounds

  • The model is also capable of dealing with a complicated genetic situation, a hybrid gene of Ubx and abd-A produced by the C1 deletion [16].
  • As these genes control the development of the first segments of the abdomen in insects, which are very variable in ants (petiole, postpetiole, and gaster constriction), we hypothesized that the morphological variations between the subfamilies may be correlated with mutations of some abd-A or Ubx regions [17].
  • Finally, the steroid hormone ecdysone controls cardiac tube remodelling by impinging on both the regulation of Ubx expression and the modification of AbdA function [18].

Physical interactions of abd-A


Regulatory relationships of abd-A

  • In contrast, abd-A represses Ubx expression in the heart and ectopic overexpression of abd-A transforms aorta cells into heart cardiomyocytes [20].
  • Ten different Polycomb group genes are required for spatial control of the abdA and AbdB homeotic products [21].
  • Ectopic Ultrabithorax and Abdominal-A repress only lab and Scr in the central nervous system (CNS) in a timing dependent manner; otherwise, overlapping expression in the CNS in tolerated [22].
  • In this study, regulatory specificity was investigated by dissecting the genetic and molecular requirements that allow the Hox protein Abdominal A to activate wingless in only a few cells of its broad expression domain in the Drosophila visceral mesoderm [23].
  • In the abdomen, Grh terminates neural proliferation by regulating the competence of neuroblasts to undergo apoptosis in response to Abdominal-A expression [24].

Other interactions of abd-A

  • The abdA homeo box is almost identical to the homeo box of Ubx but is quite different from the AbdB homeo box [25].
  • Characterization of two RNAs transcribed from the cis-regulatory region of the abd-A domain within the Drosophila bithorax complex [26].
  • Mutations in the hth gene seem to alter the identity of the abdominal chordotonal neurons, which depend on Abd-A for their normal development [27].
  • In combination with the axial information furnished by abd-A, the segmental hh-dependent information leads to the differentiation of the six pairs of svp-expressing cells into functional ostiae [20].
  • Moreover, we provide genetic evidence that, in abdominal segments, Ubx and Abd-A, two homeotic proteins not previously thought to participate in the segmentation cascade, are also involved in the repression of target genes by En [28].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of abd-A


  1. Developmental consequences of unrestricted expression of the abd-A gene of Drosophila. Sánchez-Herrero, E., Guerrero, I., Sampedro, J., González-Reyes, A. Mech. Dev. (1994) [Pubmed]
  2. Direct regulation of decapentaplegic by Ultrabithorax and its role in Drosophila midgut morphogenesis. Capovilla, M., Brandt, M., Botas, J. Cell (1994) [Pubmed]
  3. The developmental effect of overexpressing a Ubx product in Drosophila embryos is dependent on its interactions with other homeotic products. González-Reyes, A., Morata, G. Cell (1990) [Pubmed]
  4. Homeotic genes autonomously specify one aspect of pattern in the Drosophila mesoderm. Greig, S., Akam, M. Nature (1993) [Pubmed]
  5. A deficiency of the homeotic complex of the beetle Tribolium. Stuart, J.J., Brown, S.J., Beeman, R.W., Denell, R.E. Nature (1991) [Pubmed]
  6. A pulse of the Drosophila Hox protein Abdominal-A schedules the end of neural proliferation via neuroblast apoptosis. Bello, B.C., Hirth, F., Gould, A.P. Neuron (2003) [Pubmed]
  7. Distinct roles of the homeotic genes Ubx and abd-A in beetle embryonic abdominal appendage development. Lewis, D.L., DeCamillis, M., Bennett, R.L. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2000) [Pubmed]
  8. Chromosomal continuity in the abdominal region of the bithorax complex of Drosophila is not essential for its contribution to metameric identity. Tiong, S.Y., Whittle, J.R., Gribbin, M.C. Development (1987) [Pubmed]
  9. A conserved cluster of homeodomain binding sites in the mouse Hoxa-4 intron functions in Drosophila embryos as an enhancer that is directly regulated by Ultrabithorax. Haerry, T.E., Gehring, W.J. Dev. Biol. (1997) [Pubmed]
  10. Transcription defines the embryonic domains of cis-regulatory activity at the Drosophila bithorax complex. Drewell, R.A., Bae, E., Burr, J., Lewis, E.B. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2002) [Pubmed]
  11. Muscle pattern diversification in Drosophila is determined by the autonomous function of homeotic genes in the embryonic mesoderm. Michelson, A.M. Development (1994) [Pubmed]
  12. The role of homeotic genes in the specification of the Drosophila gonad. Greig, S., Akam, M. Curr. Biol. (1995) [Pubmed]
  13. Homeotic genes regulate the spatial expression of putative growth factors in the visceral mesoderm of Drosophila embryos. Reuter, R., Panganiban, G.E., Hoffmann, F.M., Scott, M.P. Development (1990) [Pubmed]
  14. Hox protein mutation and macroevolution of the insect body plan. Ronshaugen, M., McGinnis, N., McGinnis, W. Nature (2002) [Pubmed]
  15. Requirement of Abdominal-A and Abdominal-B in the developing genitalia of Drosophila breaks the posterior downregulation rule. Foronda, D., Estrada, B., de Navas, L., Sánchez-Herrero, E. Development (2006) [Pubmed]
  16. Modeling the regulation of the bithorax complex in Drosophila melanogaster: the phenotypic effects of Ubx, abd-A and Abd-B heterozygotic larvae, and a homozygous Ubx- abd A hybrid gene. Carratalá, M., Vernós, I., Ransom, R., Marco, R. Int. J. Dev. Biol. (1989) [Pubmed]
  17. Phylogeny of ants (Formicidae) based on morphology and DNA sequence data. Astruc, C., Julien, J.F., Errard, C., Lenoir, A. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. (2004) [Pubmed]
  18. Steroid-dependent modification of Hox function drives myocyte reprogramming in the Drosophila heart. Monier, B., Astier, M., Sémériva, M., Perrin, L. Development (2005) [Pubmed]
  19. Homeo box genes of the Antennapedia and bithorax complexes of Drosophila. Regulski, M., Harding, K., Kostriken, R., Karch, F., Levine, M., McGinnis, W. Cell (1985) [Pubmed]
  20. Heart tube patterning in Drosophila requires integration of axial and segmental information provided by the Bithorax Complex genes and hedgehog signaling. Ponzielli, R., Astier, M., Chartier, A., Gallet, A., Thérond, P., Sémériva, M. Development (2002) [Pubmed]
  21. Ten different Polycomb group genes are required for spatial control of the abdA and AbdB homeotic products. Simon, J., Chiang, A., Bender, W. Development (1992) [Pubmed]
  22. Cross-regulation of Hox genes in the Drosophila melanogaster embryo. Miller, D.F., Rogers, B.T., Kalkbrenner, A., Hamilton, B., Holtzman, S.L., Kaufman, T. Mech. Dev. (2001) [Pubmed]
  23. Tgfbeta signaling acts on a Hox response element to confer specificity and diversity to Hox protein function. Grienenberger, A., Merabet, S., Manak, J., Iltis, I., Fabre, A., Bérenger, H., Scott, M.P., Pradel, J., Graba, Y. Development (2003) [Pubmed]
  24. Drosophila Grainyhead specifies late programmes of neural proliferation by regulating the mitotic activity and Hox-dependent apoptosis of neuroblasts. Cenci, C., Gould, A.P. Development (2005) [Pubmed]
  25. abdA expression in Drosophila embryos. Karch, F., Bender, W., Weiffenbach, B. Genes Dev. (1990) [Pubmed]
  26. Characterization of two RNAs transcribed from the cis-regulatory region of the abd-A domain within the Drosophila bithorax complex. Cumberledge, S., Zaratzian, A., Sakonju, S. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1990) [Pubmed]
  27. Dorsotonals/homothorax, the Drosophila homologue of meis1, interacts with extradenticle in patterning of the embryonic PNS. Kurant, E., Pai, C.Y., Sharf, R., Halachmi, N., Sun, Y.H., Salzberg, A. Development (1998) [Pubmed]
  28. Requirements for transcriptional repression and activation by Engrailed in Drosophila embryos. Alexandre, C., Vincent, J.P. Development (2003) [Pubmed]
  29. Characterization of the intergenic RNA profile at abdominal-A and Abdominal-B in the Drosophila bithorax complex. Bae, E., Calhoun, V.C., Levine, M., Lewis, E.B., Drewell, R.A. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2002) [Pubmed]
  30. Isolation and embryonic expression of an abdominal-A-like gene from the lepidopteran, Manduca sexta. Nagy, L.M., Booker, R., Riddiford, L.M. Development (1991) [Pubmed]
  31. Early tagma-specific commitment of Drosophila CNS progenitor NB1-1. Prokop, A., Technau, G.M. Development (1994) [Pubmed]
  32. Evidence for a dispersed Hox gene cluster in the platyhelminth parasite Schistosoma mansoni. Pierce, R.J., Wu, W., Hirai, H., Ivens, A., Murphy, L.D., Noël, C., Johnston, D.A., Artiguenave, F., Adams, M., Cornette, J., Viscogliosi, E., Capron, M., Balavoine, G. Mol. Biol. Evol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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