A highly conserved novel family of mammalian developmental transcription factors related to Drosophila grainyhead

Tomasz Wilanowski, Annabel Tuckfield, Loretta Cerruti, Sinead O'Connell, Robert Saint, Vishwas Parekh, Jianning Tao, John M. Cunningham, Stephen M. Jane

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118 Citations (Scopus)


The Drosophila transcription factor Grainyhead regulates several key developmental processes. Three mammalian genes, CP2, LBP-1a and LBP-9 have been previously identified as homologues of grainyhead. We now report the cloning of two new mammalian genes (Mammalian grainyhead (MGR) and Brother-of-MGR (BOM)) and one new Drosophila gene (dCP2) that rewrite the phylogeny of this family. We demonstrate that MGR and BOM are more closely related to grh, whereas CP2, LBP-1a and LBP-9 are descendants of the dCP2 gene. MGR shares the greatest sequence homology with grh, is expressed in tissue-restricted patterns more comparable to grh and binds to and transactivates the promoter of the human Engrailed-1 gene, the mammalian homologue of the key grainyhead target gene, engrailed. This sequence and functional conservation indicates that the new mammalian members of this family play important developmental roles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-50
Number of pages14
JournalMechanisms of Development
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Development
  • Evolution
  • Grainyhead
  • Homologue
  • Transcription

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