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SOX genes

SOX genes encode a family of transcription factors that bind to the minor groove in DNA, and belong to a super-family of genes characterized by a homologous sequence called the HMG (high mobility group) box. This HMG box is a DNA binding domain that is highly conserved throughout eukaryotic species. Homologues have been identified in insects, nematodes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and a range of mammals. However, HMG boxes can be very diverse in nature, with only a few amino acids being conserved between species.

Sox genes are defined as containing the HMG box of a gene involved in sex determination called SRY, which resides on the Y-chromosome (Sox stands for Sry-related HMG box). Around 30 SOX genes have been identified. Almost all Sox genes show at least 50% amino acid similarity with the HMG box in Sry. The family is divided into subgroups according to homology within the HMG domain and other structural motifs.

The developmentally important Sox family has no singular function, and many members possess the ability to regulate several different aspects of development. While many Sox genes are involved in sex determination, some are also important in processes such as neuronal development. For example, Sox2 and Sox3 are involved in the transition between epithelial granule cells in the cerebellum to their migratory state. Granule cells then differentiate to granule neurons, with Sox11 being involved in this process. It is thought that some Sox genes may be useful in the early diagnosis of childhood brain tumours due to this sequential expression in the cerebellum, making them a target for significant research.

Sox4 is a transcription factor in lymphocytes (B and T) and is required for B lymphocyte development.[1]


  • SOX1, SOX2, SOX3, SOX4, SOX5, SOX6, SOX7, SOX8, SOX9, SOX10, SOX11, SOX12, SOX13, SOX14, SOX15, SOX17, SOX18, SOX21, SOX30

See also


  1. ^ Smith E, Sigvardsson M (2004). "The roles of transcription factors in B lymphocyte commitment, development, and transformation". J. Leukoc. Biol. 75 (6): 973-81. doi:10.1189/jlb.1103554. PMID 14982952.
  • Rex, M (Mar 1998). "Granule cell development in the cerebellum is punctuated by changes in Sox gene expression". Brain research. Molecular Brain Research. 55 (1): 28-34. PMID 9645957.
  • Wegner, M (Mar 1999). "From head to toes: the multiple facets of Sox proteins". Nucleic Acids Res. 27 (6): 1409-1420. PMID 10037800.
  • Wright, EM; Snopek B; Koopman P. (Feb 1993). "Seven new members of the Sox gene family expressed during mouse development.". Nucleic Acids Res. 21 (3). PMID 8441686.
  • Bowles, J; Schepers G; Koopman P. (Nov 2000). "Phylogeny of the SOX family of developmental transcription factors based on sequence and structural indicators.". Dev Biol. 227 (2). PMID 11071752.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "SOX_genes". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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