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Development. 2013 Oct;140(20):4129-44. doi: 10.1242/dev.091793.

Sox proteins: regulators of cell fate specification and differentiation.

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  • 1Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, 1-3 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Sox transcription factors play widespread roles during development; however, their versatile funtions have a relatively simple basis: the binding of a Sox protein alone to DNA does not elicit transcriptional activation or repression, but requires binding of a partner transcription factor to an adjacent site on the DNA. Thus, the activity of a Sox protein is dependent upon the identity of its partner factor and the context of the DNA sequence to which it binds. In this Primer, we provide an mechanistic overview of how Sox family proteins function, as a paradigm for transcriptional regulation of development involving multi-transcription factor complexes, and we discuss how Sox factors can thus regulate diverse processes during development.


Cell lineage specification; HMG domain; Partner factors; Stem cells; Transcriptional regulation

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