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

The thyroid transcription factor-1 gene is a candidate target for regulation by Hox proteins.

Vertebrate Hox homeobox genes are transcription factors which regulate antero-posterior axial identity in embryogenesis, presumably through activation and/or repression of downstream target genes. Some of these targets were reported to code for molecules involved in cell-cell interactions, whereas no relationship has yet been demonstrated between Hox genes and other transcription factors involved in determining and/or maintaining tissue specificity. The thyroid transcription factor-1 ( TTF-1) is a homeodomain-containing protein required for expression of thyroid-specific genes. A 862 bp 5' genomic fragment of the rat TTF-1 gene, conferring thyroid-specific expression to a reporter gene, was sufficient to mediate transactivation by the human HOXB3 gene in co-transfection assay in both NIH3T3 or HeLa cells. HOXB3 is expressed in early mammalian embryogenesis in the anterior neuroectoderm, branchial arches and their derivatives, including the area of the thyroid primordia and thyroid gland. Transcription of the TTF-1 promoter is induced only by HOXB3, while its paralogous gene HOXD3 or other Hox genes expressed more posteriorly (HOXA4, HOXD4, HOXC5, HOXC6, HOXC8 and Hoxd-8) have no effect. Transactivation by HOXB3 is mediated by two binding sites containing an ATTA core located at -100 and +30 from the transcription start site. DNase I footprinting experiments show that the two sites bind HOXB3 protein synthesized in both Escherichia coli and eukaryotic cells, as well as nuclear factor(s) present in protein extracts obtained from mouse embryonic tissues which express group 3 Hox genes and TTF-1. Some of the DNA-protein complexes formed by the embryonic extracts are indistinguishable from those generated by HOXB3.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)[1]


  1. The thyroid transcription factor-1 gene is a candidate target for regulation by Hox proteins. Guazzi, S., Lonigro, R., Pintonello, L., Boncinelli, E., Di Lauro, R., Mavilio, F. EMBO J. (1994) [Pubmed]
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