Hox complex genes are key developmental regulators highly conserved throughout evolution. They encode transcription factors that initiate genetic programs of diversified morphogenesis along the anteroposterior embryonic axis. We report the characterization of the novel Drosophila Hox target gene dlarp, isolated from a further screen of a previously described library of genomic DNA fragments associated in vivo with Ultrabithorax proteins. The dlarp spatio-temporal pattern of transcription in wild-type and homeotic mutant embryos is consistent with a positive regulation by Sex combs reduced and Ultrabithorax in the parasegment 2 ectoderm and the abdominal mesoderm, respectively. The teashirt gene product, thought to act in concert with Hox proteins, is also required for the transcriptional control of this target. Search in databases revealed that dlarp has been highly conserved during evolution. The embryonic expression pattern of the mouse orthologue does not support a function downstream of Hox proteins. It is mainly transcribed in neural structures and in developing organs characterized by epithelial-mesenchymal interactions.