Scientists Identify Dual Function for “Eyes absent”

November 19, 2003

Tags: Evolution + DevelopmentProtein Function

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.  — Scientists know that proteins called transcription factors that regulate gene expression play a key role in cellular function. But what if that’s only part of the story? What if these regulators lead a double life no one knew before?

In a study published in this week’s journal Nature, scientists at Whitehead Institute have discovered that a transcription factor known as “Eyes absent,” which helps to regulate eye development, also functions as a enzyme that has the ability to modify itself and other proteins. This is the first time scientists have identified this dual function for a transcription factor, a finding that could reveal new information about cellular regulation.

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