UMMS Affiliation

Program in Gene Function and Expression; Program in Molecular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors; Binding Sites; Caenorhabditis elegans; Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins; DNA-Binding Proteins; Pharynx; Promoter Regions, Genetic; Regulatory Elements, Transcriptional; Transcription Factors; *Transcriptional Activation


Genetics and Genomics


Snail-type transcription factors (TFs) are found in numerous metazoan organisms and function in a plethora of cellular and developmental processes including mesoderm and neuronal development, apoptosis and cancer. So far, Snail-type TFs are exclusively known as transcriptional repressors. They repress gene expression by recruiting transcriptional co-repressors and/or by preventing DNA binding of activators from the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) family of TFs to CAGGTG E-box sequences. Here we report that the Caenorhabditis elegans Snail-type TF CES-1 can activate transcription in vivo. Moreover, we provide results that suggest that CES-1 can share its binding site with bHLH TFs, in different tissues, rather than only occluding bHLH DNA binding. Together, our data indicate that there are at least two types of CES-1 target genes and, therefore, that the molecular function of Snail-type TFs is more plastic than previously appreciated.

DOI of Published Version



Nucleic Acids Res. 2009 Jun;37(11):3689-98. Epub 2009 Apr 16. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Nucleic acids research


Co-author Patricia Pope is a student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) at UMass Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID