The Drosophila homeotic gene proboscipedia (pb: HoxA2/B2 homolog) is required for adult mouthparts development. Ectopic PB protein expression from a transgenic Hsp70-pb minigene (HSPB) results in transformation of adult antennae to maxillary palps. In contrast, most tissues appear refractory to PB-induced effects. To study the basis of homeotic tissue specificity we are isolating and studying mutations that modify dominant HSPB-induced phenotypes. One HSPB point mutation (Arg5 of the homeodomain to His) removes homeotic activity in the mouthparts and antennae, but provokes a dose-sensitive eye loss. We show that eye loss can be induced by PB proteins that no longer effectively bind to DNA. The dose-sensitive eye loss thus appears to be mediated by specific, context-dependent protein-protein interactions.