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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Determination of the minimal domains of Mix.3/Mixer required for endoderm development.

The Mix/Bix family of Pax-like homeodomain transcription factors is expressed early in vertebrate development and play important roles in endoderm and mesoderm formation. Like other Pax-related homeodomain proteins, the Mix/Bix family binds DNA as monomers or dimers and dimerization is mediated by the homeodomain. While the Mix/Bix family shares extensive sequence homology within the DNA-binding homeodomain, ectopic expression of these proteins has profoundly different outcomes. Expression of Xenopus Mix.3/Mixer in explanted ectoderm results in endoderm differentiation, whereas Mix.1 expression does not. In this study we sought to define the domains of Mix.3/Mixer that are responsible for this endoderm inducing activity. We generated domain swap mutants between Mix.3/Mixer and Mix.1 and tested their ability to induce endoderm in explanted ectoderm. We demonstrate that the homeodomain and sixty-two amino acids in the carboxyl terminus are required to induce endoderm and that these domains must be on the same polypeptide and can not act in trans as a heterodimer. A Smad2 interaction motif in Mix.3/Mixer is involved in endoderm differentiation but is not essential. Thus, we have defined the regions of Mix.3/Mixer that confer endoderm-inducing activity. These studies reveal a novel co-operation between the homeodomain and a small domain in the carboxyl terminal region that is essential for Mix.3/Mixer function.[1]


  1. Determination of the minimal domains of Mix.3/Mixer required for endoderm development. Doherty, J.R., Zhu, H., Kuliyev, E., Mead, P.E. Mech. Dev. (2006) [Pubmed]
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