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Bioessays. 2011 Jul;33(7):499-507. doi: 10.1002/bies.201100019. Epub 2011 May 5.

On the border of the homeotic function: re-evaluating the controversial role of cofactor-recruiting motifs: the role of cofactor-recruiting motifs in conferring Hox evolutionary flexibility may critically depend on the protein environment.

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Institut de Biologie du Développement de Marseille Luminy, IBDML, UMR 6216, CNRS, Université de la Méditerranée, Parc Scientifique de Luminy, Case 907, Marseille, France.


In this review we present concepts that challenge a recently emerging paradigm explaining how similar Hox proteins perform different developmental functions across evolution, despite relatively limited sequence variability. This paradigm relates to the transcription factor, Fushi tarazu (Ftz), whose evolutionary plasticity has been shown to rely on the shuffling between two short protein recognition motifs. We discuss the Ftz paradigm and consider alternative interpretations to the evolutionary flexibility of this Hox protein. In particular, we propose that the protein environment might have played a critical role in the functional shuffling of Ftz during arthropod evolution.

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