The ETS-domain transcription factor family

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 1997 Dec;29(12):1371-87. doi: 10.1016/s1357-2725(97)00086-1.


During recent years, several significant discoveries have been made concerning the function of ETS-domain transcription factors. This family of transcription factors was originally defined on the basis of the conserved primary sequence of their DNA-binding domains. The ETS DNA-binding domain is also conserved at the structural level and is a divergent member of the winged helix-turn-helix superfamily of DNA binding proteins. This sequence conservation is reflected by their overlapping DNA-binding specificities based on the central GGAA/T motif. In addition to DNA-protein interactions, protein-protein interactions with partner proteins often play major roles in targeting ETS-domain proteins to specific promoters. Several such partner proteins have been identified. ETS-domain proteins function as either transcriptional activators or repressors and their activities are often regulated by signal transduction pathways, including the MAP kinase pathways. Specific links between such pathways and ETS-domain proteins have been established in several different experimental systems. ETS-domain transcription factors regulate a diverse array of biological functions including mammalian haematopoiesis and Drosophila eye development. In vertebrates, many ETS-domain proteins regulate embryonic and adult haematopoiesis. Deregulation of ETS-domain protein activity often leads to tumorigenesis. Future work will uncover further details of how these transcription factors work at the molecular level to regulate specific biological processes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Consensus Sequence
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / chemistry
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Transcription Factors