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Dlx3 is a crucial regulator of hair follicle differentiation and cycling. Dlx3 transcription is mediated through Wnt, and colocalization of Dlx3 with phospho-SMAD1/5/8 is involved in the regulation of transcription by BMP signaling. Dlx3 transcription is also induced by BMP-2 through transactivation with SMAD1 and SMAD4.
Many vertebrate homeo box-containing genes have been identified on the basis of their sequence similarity with Drosophila developmental genes. Members of the Dlx gene family contain a homeobox that is related to that of Distal-less (Dll), a gene expressed in the head and limbs of the developing fruit fly. The Distal-less (Dlx) family of genes comprises at least 6 different members, DLX1-DLX6. This gene is located in a tail-to-tail configuration with another member of the gene family on the long arm of chromosome 17.
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