The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the homeodomain family of DNA binding proteins. It regulates gene expression, morphogenesis, and differentiation and it also plays a role in cell cycle progression, particularly at S-phase. Several alternatively spliced transcript variants of this gene have been described, but the full-length nature of some of these variants has not been determined, and the p200 isoform of Cux1 is processed proteolytically to smaller active isoforms, such as p110. Cux1 DNA binding is stimulated by activation of the PAR2/F2RL1 cell-surface G-protein-coupled receptor in fibroblasts and breast-cancer epithelial cells to regulate Matrix metalloproteinase 10, Interleukin1-alpha, and Cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX2) genes.
Genetic data from over 7,600 cancer patients shows that over 1% has the deactivated CUX1 which links to progression of tumor growth. Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute reported that the mutation of CUX1 reduces the inhibitory effects of a biological inhibitor, PIK3IP1 (phosphoinositide-3-kinase interacting protein 1), resulted in higher activity of the growth promoting enzyme, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) which leads to tumor progression. Although CUX1 is mutated at a lower rate compared to other known gene mutations that cause cancer, this deactivated gene is found across many cancer types in this study to be the underlying cause of the disease.
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