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The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a simple metazoan animal that is widely used as a model to understand the genetic control of development. The completely sequenced C. elegans genome contains 22 T-box genes, and they encode factors that show remarkable diversity in sequence, DNA-binding specificity, and function. Only three of the C. elegans T-box factors can be grouped into the conserved subfamilies found in other organisms, while the remaining factors are significantly diverged and unlike those in most other animals. While some of the C. elegans factors can bind canonical T-box binding elements, others bind and regulate target gene expression through distinct sequences. The nine genetically characterized T-box factors have varied functions in development and morphogenesis of muscle, hypodermal tissues, and neurons, as well as in early blastomere fate specification, cell migration, apoptosis, and sex determination, but the functions of most of the C. elegans T-box factors have not yet been extensively characterized. Like T-box factors in other animals, interaction with a Groucho-family corepressor and posttranslational SUMOylation have been shown to affect C. elegans T-box factor activity, and it is likely that additional mechanisms affecting T-box factor activity will be discovered using the effective genetic approaches in this organism. © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


P G Okkema. The Remarkably Diverse Family of T-Box Factors in Caenorhabditis elegans. Current topics in developmental biology. 2017;122:27-54

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PMID: 28057267

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