HOX4 genes encode transcription factors with potential auto- and cross-regulatory capacities

Vincenzo Zappavigna*, Armand Renucci, Juan Carlos Izpisúa-Belmonte, Gilbert Urier, Cesare Peschle, Denis Duboule

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


We have looked for the binding of several HOX4 complex homeoproteins in the genomic region containing the HOX4C promoter, between the human HOX4C and HOX4D genes. The HOX4C, HOX4D and Hox-4.3 homeoproteins bind to a phytogenetically highly conserved DNA fragment, which is located in the proximal part of this intergenic region and contains multiple binding sites for these HOX4 proteins. Using cotransfection experiments, we show that this endogenous DNA sequence can mediate transactivation by the HOX4D and HOX4C proteins and that this effect requires the presence of TAAT-related binding sites. The Hox-4.3 protein, in contrast, is unable to activate and can repress the activation observed with the two other proteins. These results show that the HOX4D and HOX4C genes are genuine sequence-specific transcription factors and suggest that, as in Drosophila, cross-regulatory interactions between these genes might be essential for their proper expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4177-4187
Number of pages11
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Collinearity
  • Homeobox
  • Homeodomuin
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


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