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Gene. 2000 Apr 18;247(1-2):17-31.

Roles for Msx and Dlx homeoproteins in vertebrate development.

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Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA.


This review provides a comparative analysis of the expression patterns, functions, and biochemical properties of Msx and Dlx homeobox genes. These comprise multi-gene families that are closely related with respect to sequence features as well as expression patterns during vertebrate development. Thus, members of the Msx and Dlx families are expressed in overlapping, but distinct, patterns and display complementary or antagonistic functions, depending upon the context. A common theme shared among Msx and Dlx genes is that they are required during early, middle, and late phases of development where their differential expression mediates patterning, morphogenesis, and histogenesis of tissues in which they are expressed. With respect to their biochemical properties, Msx proteins function as transcriptional repressors, while Dlx proteins are transcriptional activators. Moreover, their ability to oppose each other's transcriptional actions implies a mechanism underlying their complementary or antagonistic functions during development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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