A twist of insight - The role of Twist-family bHLH factors in development

Ralston M. Barnes, Anthony B. Firulli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

90 Scopus citations


Members of the Twist-family of bHLH proteins play a pivotal role in a number of essential developmental programs. Twist-family bHLH proteins function by dimerizing with other bHLH members and binding to cis- regulatory elements, called E-boxes. While Twist-family members may simply exhibit a preference in terms of high-affinity binding partners, a complex, multilevel cascade of regulation creates a dynamic role for these bHLH proteins. We summarize in this review information on each Twist-family member concerning expression pattern, function, regulation, downstream targets, and interactions with other bHLH proteins. Additionally, we focus on the phospho-regulatory mechanisms that tightly control posttranslational modification of Twist-family member bHLH proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-924
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2009


  • Dimerization
  • Hand1
  • Hand2
  • Heart
  • Limb
  • Paraxis
  • Phosphoregulation
  • Scleraxis
  • Trophoblast
  • Twist1
  • Twist2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Embryology
  • Medicine(all)

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