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Cell Adh Migr. 2012 Nov-Dec;6(6):457-70. doi: 10.4161/cam.22164. Epub 2012 Oct 17.

The dual roles of homeobox genes in vascularization and wound healing.

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Surgical Research Laboratory, Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA USA.


Homeobox genes represent a family of highly conserved transcription factors originally discovered to regulate organ patterning during development. More recently, several homeobox genes were shown to affect processes in adult tissue, including angiogenesis and wound healing. Whereas a subset of members of the Hox-family of homeobox genes activate growth and migration to promote angiogenesis or wound healing, other Hox genes function to restore or maintain quiescent, differentiated tissue function. Pathological tissue remodeling is linked to differential expression of activating or stabilizing Hox genes and dysregulation of Hox expression can contribute to disease progression. Studies aimed at understanding the role and regulation of Hox genes have provided insight into how these potent morphoregulatory genes can be applied to enhance tissue engineering or limit cancer progression.

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