The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 62: 837 - 846 (2018)

Vol 62, Issue 11-12

Special Issue: Homeobox genes

Hox and Tale transcription factors in heart development and disease

Published: 14 December 2018

Fabienne Lescroart* and Stephane Zaffran*

Aix Marseille Univ, INSERM, MMG U1251, Marseille, France


Hox genes are highly conserved transcription factors with critical functions during development, in particular for patterning the antero-posterior axis of the embryo. Their action is very often associated with cofactors including the TALE family transcription factors. From Drosophila to vertebrates, Hox genes have been shown to have a major role in heart development. In this review, we focus on the increasing evidence implicating the anterior Hox genes and the Tale family members during heart development both in the cardiac mesoderm and in neural crest cells. Congenital heart defects are the leading cause of death in the first year of life and a better understanding of the role of Hox and Tale factors is highly relevant to human pathologies and will provide novel mechanistic insights into the underlying defects.


Hox, heart development, congenital heart disease, cardiovascular system

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