CCAAT-box binding transcription factors in plants: Y so many?

Trends Plant Sci. 2013 Mar;18(3):157-66. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2012.07.004. Epub 2012 Aug 30.


Transcription factors belonging to the CCAAT-box binding factor family (also known as the Nuclear Factor Y) are present in all higher eukaryotes. Studies in plants have revealed that each subunit of this heterotrimeric transcription factor is encoded by a gene belonging to a multigene family allowing a considerable modularity. In this review, we focus on recent findings concerning the expression patterns and potential functions of different members of these NF-Y protein families using a phylogenetic approach. During the course of evolution plant CCAAT-box binding factors seem to have diversified into at least two main groups. The first group has more general expression patterns and/or functions whereas the second group has acquired more specific expression patterns and/or functions and could play key roles in specific pathways.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • CCAAT-Binding Factor / genetics*
  • CCAAT-Binding Factor / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genome, Plant / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family*
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Protein Subunits
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • CCAAT-Binding Factor
  • Plant Proteins
  • Protein Subunits
  • Transcription Factors
  • nuclear factor Y