DNA binding specificity and transcriptional regulation of Six4: a myotonic dystrophy associated transcription factor
Attaining an understanding of the mechanisms underpinning development has been amongst the cardinal scientific challenges of our age. The transition from a single cell organism to the level of complexity evidenced in higher eukaryotes has been facilitated by the advent of intricate developmental networks involving a plethora of factors that synergise to allow for precise spatio-temporal expression of the proteins present in higher organisms. Development is often portrayed as a domino like cascade of events stemming from relatively uncomplicated origins that go on to branch out and form associations and interactions amongst multitudinous actors that will inexorably lead towards a higher state of order. Transcription factors occupy a central position within this tapestry of interactions. They regulate expression of the various required proteins and they provide the cues for the developmental events that will eventually shape an organism. These factors frequently remain unknown until some occurrence causes developmental processes to fail and inadvertently focus attention on the factors that facilitate development. Myotonic dystrophy is a useful paradigm of such a developmental dysfunction that has led to the discovery of a transcription factor integral to both muscle development and gonadogenesis in both Drosophila and higher eukaryotes.