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Mech Dev. 2001 Oct;108(1-2):3-12.

The COE--Collier/Olf1/EBF--transcription factors: structural conservation and diversity of developmental functions.

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Centre de Biologie du Développement, UMR 5547, CNRS/Université Paul Sabatier, 118 route de Narbonne 31062 Toulouse cedex 04, France.


One major conclusion of studies in Developmental Biology during the last two decades is that, despite profound anatomical differences, the building of vertebrate and arthropod bodies relies on the same fundamental molecular networks, including conserved cell signalling and transcription-regulatory cascades. Rodent Early B-Cell Factor/Olfactory-1 and Drosophila Collier belong to a recently defined, novel family of transcription factors, the Collier/Olf1/EBF (COE) proteins which have a unique DNA-binding domain. Early investigations revealed that, despite their high degree of sequence identity, the different vertebrate and invertebrate COE proteins play a variety of developmental roles. We review here the current evidence for this diversity of COE functions, including in the specification and differentiation of various neuronal populations. We also discuss the existence of an evolutionarily conserved pathway linking Notch signalling and COE regulatory functions in various developmental decisions.

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