PROSITE documentation PDOC00032
'Homeobox' antennapedia-type protein signature


The homeotic Hox proteins are sequence-specific transcription factors. They are part of a developmental regulatory system that provides cells with specific positional identities on the anterior-posterior (A-P) axis [1]. The hox proteins contain a 'homeobox' domain. In Drosophila and other insects, there are eight different Hox genes that are encoded in two gene complexes, ANT-C and BX-C. In vertebrates there are 38 genes organized in four complexes.

In six of the eight Drosophila Hox genes the homeobox domain is highly similar and a conserved hexapeptide is found five to sixteen amino acids upstream of the homeobox domain. The six Drosophila proteins that belong to this group are antennapedia (Antp), abdominal-A (abd-A), deformed (Dfd), proboscipedia (pb), sex combs reduced (scr) and ultrabithorax (ubx) and are collectively known as the 'antennapedia' subfamily.

In vertebrates the corresponding Hox genes are known [2] as Hox-A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, Hox-B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, B8, Hox-C4, C5, C6, C8, Hox-D1, D3, D4 and D8.

Caenorhabditis elegans lin-39 and mab-5 are also members of the 'antennapedia' subfamily.

As a signature pattern for this subfamily of homeobox proteins, we have used the conserved hexapeptide.


Arg and Lys are most frequently found in the last position of the hexapeptide; other amino acids are found in only a few cases.

Last update:

June 1994 / Text revised.


Technical section

PROSITE method (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

ANTENNAPEDIA, PS00032; 'Homeobox' antennapedia-type protein signature  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsMcGinnis W. Krumlauf R.
TitleHomeobox genes and axial patterning.
SourceCell 68:283-302(1992).
PubMed ID1346368

2AuthorsScott M.P.
TitleVertebrate homeobox gene nomenclature.
SourceCell 71:551-553(1992).
PubMed ID1358459

PROSITE is copyrighted by the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License, see prosite_license.html.


View entry in original PROSITE document format
View entry in raw text format (no links)