The role of Pax genes in the development of tissues and organs: Pax3 and Pax7 regulate muscle progenitor cell functions

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2007;23:645-73. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.23.090506.123438.


Pax genes play key roles in the formation of tissues and organs during embryogenesis. Pax3 and Pax7 mark myogenic progenitor cells and regulate their behavior and their entry into the program of skeletal muscle differentiation. Recent results have underlined the importance of the Pax3/7 population of cells for skeletal muscle development and regeneration. We present our current understanding of different aspects of Pax3/7 function in myogenesis, focusing on the mouse model. This is compared with that of other Pax proteins in the emergence of tissue specific lineages and their differentiation as well as in cell survival, proliferation, and migration. Finally, we consider the molecular mechanisms that underlie the function of Pax transcription factors, including the cofactors and regulatory networks with which they interact.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival / genetics
  • Embryonic Development / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Muscle Development / genetics*
  • Myoblasts, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • PAX7 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • PAX7 Transcription Factor / physiology*
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • PAX7 Transcription Factor
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors