Downstream of Otx2, or how to get a head

Trends Genet. 2001 Nov;17(11):633-6. doi: 10.1016/s0168-9525(01)02418-0.


Otx2 is a member of a highly conserved family of homeodomain-containing transcription factors that function in early brain development. Recent studies have identified a significant number of target genes downstream of Otx2, allowing us to address the question of how it fulfils its diverse developmental roles. Interestingly, many of these target genes are not transcription factors or signaling molecules, and they probably have no direct affect on gene expression. Furthermore, there is evidence that Otx2 coordinates the activity of unrelated genes that have overlapping functions, and that it does so directly without intermediate transcriptional or signaling activity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Homeodomain Proteins*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology
  • Otx Transcription Factors
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*
  • Trans-Activators / physiology


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • OTX2 protein, human
  • Otx Transcription Factors
  • Trans-Activators