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Pax proteins, characterized by the presence of a paired domain, play key regulatory roles during development. The paired domain is a bipartite DNA-binding domain that contains two helix-turn-helix domains joined by a linker region. Each of the subdomains, the PAI and RED domains, has been shown to be a distinct DNA-binding domain. The PAI domain is the most critical, but in specific circumstances, the RED domain is involved in DNA recognition. We describe a Pax protein, originally called Lune, that is the product of the Drosophila eye gone gene (eyg). It is unique among Pax proteins, because it contains only the RED domain. eyg seems to play a role both in the organogenesis of the salivary gland during embryogenesis and in the development of the eye. A high-affinity binding site for the Eyg RED domain was identified by using systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment techniques. This binding site is related to a binding site previously identified for the RED domain of the Pax-6 5a isoform. Eyg also contains another DNA-binding domain, a Prd-class homeodomain (HD), whose palindromic binding site is similar to other Prd-class HDs. The ability of Pax proteins to use the PAI, RED, and HD, or combinations thereof, may be one mechanism that allows them to be used at different stages of development to regulate various developmental processes through the activation of specific target genes.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





13720 - 13725


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Binding Sites, DNA, DNA-Binding Proteins, Drosophila, Embryo, Nonmammalian, Eye Proteins, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Genes, Insect, Homeodomain Proteins, Molecular Sequence Data, Nuclear Proteins, PAX5 Transcription Factor, PAX6 Transcription Factor, Paired Box Transcription Factors, Protein Binding, Repressor Proteins, Sequence Alignment, Transcription Factors