The T locus encodes a product with DNA binding activity that is likely to play a role in the development of all vertebrate organisms. We have identified and characterized a novel family of mouse genes that share a protein motif, the T–box, with the prototypical T locus. The T–box domain of the T locus co–localizes with its DNA binding activity. Each T–box gene is expressed in a unique temporal and spatial pattern during embryogenesis. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that at least three T–box genes were present in the common ancestor to vertebrates and invertebrates. Thus, members of the T–box family could have played a role in the evolution of all metazoan organisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas