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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2010 Mar;42(3):391-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2009.09.003. Epub 2009 Sep 9.

SOX-partner code for cell specification: Regulatory target selection and underlying molecular mechanisms.

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


Transcriptional regulatory functions of SOX proteins generally require the cooperation of partner factors that bind DNA in the vicinity of the SOX site. Each SOX-partner pair selects a specific group of regulatory target genes, with resultant gene expression patterns characterizing a particular cell differentiation state. Specific examples include the SOX2-OCT3/4 pairing in ES cells and the SOX2-PAX6 pairing in visual system primordia. When a component of a SOX-partner pair is exchanged with another factor, an overt transition of gene expression occurs in a cell, leading to the progression of developmental processes. When a SOX-partner protein pair activates its own genes, the global cell/tissue state is stabilized. Two major molecular mechanisms underlie SOX-partner factor interactions: (1) cooperative DNA binding; and (2) protein interactions dependent upon DNA binding which elicit a large transactivation potential. In vivo evidence for and molecular mechanisms of the cell specification code attributed to the SOX-partner factor complexes are reviewed.

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