Changing Faces of Transcriptional Regulation Reflected by Zic3
The advent of genomics in the study of developmental mechanisms has brought a trove of information on gene datasets and regulation during development, where the Zic family of zinc-finger proteins plays an important role. Genomic analysis of the modes of action of Zic3 in pluripotent cells demonstrated its requirement for maintenance of stem cells pluripotency upon binding to the proximal regulatory regions (promoters) of genes associated with cell pluripotency (Nanog, Sox2, Oct4, etc.) as well as cell cycle, proliferation, oncogenesis and early embryogenesis. In contrast, during gastrulation and neurulation Zic3 acts by binding the distal regulatory regions (enhancers, etc) associated with control of gene transcription in the Nodal and Wnt signaling pathways, including genes that act to break body symmetry. This illustrates a general role of Zic3 as a transcriptional regulator that acts not only alone, but in many instances in conjunction with other transcription factors. The latter is done by binding to adjacent sites in the context of multi-transcription factor complexes associated with regulatory elements.
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