In Drosophila notum, the expression of achaete-scute proneural genes and bristle formation have been shown to be regulated by putative prepattern genes expressed longitudinally. Here, we show that two homeobox genes at the Bar locus (BarH1 and BarH2) may belong to a different class of prepattern genes expressed latitudinally, and suggest that the developing notum consists of checker-square-like subdomains, each governed by a different combination of prepattern genes. BarH1 and BarH2 are coexpressed in the anterior-most notal region and regulate the formation of microchaetae within the region of BarH1/BarH2 expression through activating achaete-scute. Presutural macrochaetae formation also requires Bar homeobox gene activity. Bar homeobox gene expression is restricted dorsally and posteriorly by Decapentaplegic signaling, while the ventral limit of the expression domain of Bar homeobox genes is determined by wingless whose expression is under the control of Decapentaplegic signaling.

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