Homeotic genes (Hox genes) are homeodomain-transcription factors involved in conferring segmental identity along the anterior-posterior body axis. Molecular characterization of HOX protein function raises some interesting questions regarding the source of the binding specificity of the HOX proteins. How do HOX proteins regulate common and unique target specificity across space and time? This review attempts to summarize and interpret findings in this area, largely focused on results from in vitro and in vivo studies in Drosophila and mouse systems. Recent studies related to HOX protein binding specificity compel us to reconsider some of our current models for transcription factor-DNA interactions. It is crucial to study transcription factor binding by incorporating components of more complex, multi-protein interactions in concert with small changes in binding motifs that can significantly impact DNA binding specificity and subsequent alterations in gene expression. To incorporate the multiple elements that can determine HOX protein binding specificity, we propose a more integrative Cooperative Binding model.
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Bony De Kumar and Diane C. Darland"The Hox protein conundrum: The “specifics” of DNA binding for Hox proteins and their partners" (2021). Biology Faculty Publications. 36.