Role of the multifunctional CDP/Cut/Cux homeodomain transcription factor in regulating differentiation, cell growth and development

Gene. 2001 May 30;270(1-2):1-15. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1119(01)00485-1.


CDP/Cux/Cut proteins are an evolutionarily conserved family of proteins containing several DNA binding domains: one Cut homeodomain and one, two or three Cut repeats. In Drosophila melanogaster, genetic studies indicated that Cut functions as a determinant of cell-type specification in several tissues, notably in the peripheral nervous system, the wing margin and the Malpighian tubule. Moreover, Cut was found to be a target and an effector of the Notch signaling pathway. In vertebrates, the same functions appear to be fulfilled by two cut-related genes with distinct patterns of expression. Cloning of the cDNA for the CCAAT-displacement protein (CDP) revealed that it was the human homologue of Drosophila Cut. CDP was later found be the DNA binding protein of the previously characterized histone nuclear factor D (HiNF-D). CDP and its mouse counterpart, Cux, were also reported to interact with regulatory elements from a large number of genes, including matrix attachment regions (MARs). CDP/Cut proteins were found generally to function as transcriptional repressors, although a participation in transcriptional activation is suggested by some data. Repression by CDP/Cut involves competition for binding site occupancy and active repression via the recruitment of a histone deacetylase activity. Various combinations of Cut repeats and the Cut homeodomains can generate distinct DNA binding activities. These activities are elevated in proliferating cells and decrease during terminal differentiation. One activity, involving the Cut homeodomain, is upregulated in S phase. CDP/Cut function is regulated by several post-translational modification events including phosphorylation, dephosphorylation, and acetylation. The CUTL1 gene in human was mapped to 7q22, a chromosomal region that is frequently rearranged in various cancers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Humans
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors


  • CUX1 protein, human
  • Cux1 protein, mouse
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • ct protein, Drosophila