Molecular biology of the Ets family of transcription factors

Gene. 2003 Jan 16;303:11-34. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1119(02)01156-3.


The Ets family of transcription factors characterized by an evolutionarily-conserved DNA-binding domain regulates expression of a variety of viral and cellular genes by binding to a purine-rich GGAA/T core sequence in cooperation with other transcriptional factors and co-factors. Most Ets family proteins are nuclear targets for activation of Ras-MAP kinase signaling pathway and some of them affect proliferation of cells by regulating the immediate early response genes and other growth-related genes. Some of them also regulate apoptosis-related genes. Several Ets family proteins are preferentially expressed in specific cell lineages and are involved in their development and differentiation by increasing the enhancer or promoter activities of the genes encoding growth factor receptors and integrin families specific for the cell lineages. Many Ets family proteins also modulate gene expression through protein-protein interactions with other cellular partners. Deregulated expression or formation of chimeric fusion proteins of Ets family due to proviral insertion or chromosome translocation is associated with leukemias and specific types of solid tumors. Several Ets family proteins also participate in malignancy of tumor cells including invasion and metastasis by activating the transcription of several protease genes and angiogenesis-related genes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Binding Sites / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Multigene Family / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Protein Binding
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ets
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ets
  • Transcription Factors