Conserved Site

Transcription factor, T-box, conserved site (IPR018186)

Short name: TF_T-box_CS


Transcription factors of the T-box family are required both for early cell-fate decisions, such as those necessary for formation of the basic vertebrate body plan, and for differentiation and organogenesis [PMID: 12093383]. The T-box is defined as the minimal region within the T-box protein that is both necessary and sufficient for sequence-specific DNA binding, all members of the family so far examined bind to the DNA consensus sequence TCACACCT. The T-box is a relatively large DNA-binding domain, generally comprising about a third of the entire protein (17-26 kDa) [PMID: 9349824].

These genes were uncovered on the basis of similarity to the DNA binding domain [PMID: 9504043] of Mus musculus (Mouse) Brachyury (T) gene product, which similarity is the defining feature of the family. The Brachyury gene is named for its phenotype, which was identified 70 years ago as a mutant mouse strain with a short blunted tail. The gene, and its paralogues, have become a well-studied model for the family, and hence much of what is known about the T-box family is derived from the murine Brachyury gene.

Consistent with its nuclear location, Brachyury protein has a sequence-specific DNA-binding activity and can act as a transcriptional regulator [PMID: 9503012]. Homozygous mutants for the gene undergo extensive developmental anomalies, thus rendering the mutation lethal [PMID: 9395282]. The postulated role of Brachyury is as a transcription factor, regulating the specification and differentiation of posterior mesoderm during gastrulation in a dose-dependent manner [PMID: 9504043].

T-box proteins tend to be expressed in specific organs or cell types, especially during development, and they are generally required for the development of those tissues, for example, Brachyury is expressed in posterior mesoderm and in the developing notochord, and it is required for the formation of these cells in mice [PMID: 9196325].

The T-box family is an ancient group that appears to play a critical role in development in all animal species [PMID: 7920656].

GO terms

Biological Process

GO:0006355 regulation of transcription, DNA-templated

Molecular Function

GO:0003700 DNA-binding transcription factor activity

Cellular Component

GO:0005634 nucleus

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.
PROSITE patterns
PROSITE patterns