Pax6; a pleiotropic player in development

Bioessays. 2002 Nov;24(11):1041-51. doi: 10.1002/bies.10174.


Pax6 is a transcription factor essential for the development of tissues including the eyes, central nervous system and endocrine glands of vertebrates and invertebrates. It regulates the expression of a broad range of molecules, including transcription factors, cell adhesion and short-range cell-cell signalling molecules, hormones and structural proteins. It has been implicated in a number of key biological processes including cell proliferation, migration, adhesion and signalling both in normal development and in oncogenesis. The mechanisms by which Pax6 regulates its downstream targets likely involve the use of different splice variants and interactions with multiple proteins, allowing it to generate different effects in different cells. Extrapolation to developmental transcription factors in general suggests that variation in the nature of individual factors is likely to contribute to the emergence of differences between tissues.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Central Nervous System / embryology
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development
  • Crystallins / genetics
  • Crystallins / metabolism
  • Eye / embryology
  • Eye / growth & development
  • Eye Proteins
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Homeobox
  • Homeodomain Proteins / chemistry
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Keratins / genetics
  • Keratins / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • PAX6 Transcription Factor
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Crystallins
  • Eye Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • PAX6 Transcription Factor
  • PAX6 protein, human
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Keratins