Multiple transcription start sites for FOXP2 with varying cellular specificities

Gene. 2008 Apr 30;413(1-2):42-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2008.01.015. Epub 2008 Jan 29.


FOXP2 is a forkhead transcription factor implicated in developmental verbal dyspraxia, a human speech and language disorder. FOXP2 is expressed in complex patterns during brain, lung, heart, and gut development and on into adulthood. Both the protein sequence and brain expression patterns are highly conserved through much of vertebrate evolution. FOXP2 also contains six ultraconserved regions in its introns, consistent with the idea that FOXP2 is tightly regulated. Previous evidence suggested the presence of three transcription start sites for FOXP2, and we sought to characterize them and determine their cell and tissue specificity. We used 5' RNA ligase-mediated rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RLM-RACE) and RT-PCR to identify four transcription start sites for human FOXP2, the fourth being in a novel exon. Two of the transcription start sites, including the one in the novel exon, appear to be more cell line specific and lie in an area of remarkably high conservation. We propose that these two transcription start sites may be of great interest in future studies of FOXP2 regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Exons
  • Female
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transcription Initiation Site*


  • FOXP2 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • DNA