The COE--Collier/Olf1/EBF--transcription factors: structural conservation and diversity of developmental functions

Mech Dev. 2001 Oct;108(1-2):3-12. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4773(01)00486-5.


One major conclusion of studies in Developmental Biology during the last two decades is that, despite profound anatomical differences, the building of vertebrate and arthropod bodies relies on the same fundamental molecular networks, including conserved cell signalling and transcription-regulatory cascades. Rodent Early B-Cell Factor/Olfactory-1 and Drosophila Collier belong to a recently defined, novel family of transcription factors, the Collier/Olf1/EBF (COE) proteins which have a unique DNA-binding domain. Early investigations revealed that, despite their high degree of sequence identity, the different vertebrate and invertebrate COE proteins play a variety of developmental roles. We review here the current evidence for this diversity of COE functions, including in the specification and differentiation of various neuronal populations. We also discuss the existence of an evolutionarily conserved pathway linking Notch signalling and COE regulatory functions in various developmental decisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Developmental Biology
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / growth & development
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nervous System / growth & development
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Signal Transduction
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*
  • Trans-Activators / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Xenopus / genetics
  • Xenopus / growth & development
  • Xenopus Proteins*


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • N protein, Drosophila
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • ebf2 protein, Xenopus
  • kn protein, Drosophila