Exploring the role of homeobox and zinc finger proteins in pancreatic cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis

Raul Urrutia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

9 Scopus citations


Transcription factors are DNA binding proteins that regulate gene expression in response to a large variety of extracellular stimuli, and thereby act as key molecular switches for controlling cell differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis. During the last decade, a myriad of these proteins have been identified and classified into different structural families, including homeobox, zinc finger, leucine zipper, and helix-loop- helix transcription factors. Members of the homeobox and zinc finger superfamilies are among the best-characterized transcription factors known to act as potent regulators of normal development in organisms ranging from insects to humans. In addition, mutations or aberrant expression in genes encoding these proteins can result in neoplastic transformation in several different cell types, further supporting their role as 'guardians' of normal cell growth and differentiation. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to review this field of research with a particular emphasis on the role of homeobox- and zinc finger-containing transcription factors in pancreatic cell growth, cell differentiation, and apoptosis. The potential participation of these proteins in neoplastic transformation is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Pancreatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997



  • Apoptosis
  • Cell differentiation
  • Cell proliferation
  • Exocrine pancreas
  • Homeobox
  • Transcription factors
  • Zinc finger

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology

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