Genes that encode related, DNA-binding proteins. The family is large, and it includes many genes expressed in the central nervous system. The DNA-binding domains consist of an upstream homeobox (q.v.) and a downstream POU-specific domain about 80 amino acids long. The name POU comes from the initials of the first genes included in the family (Pit-1, Oct-1, and Unc-86.) The Pit-1 gene is expressed in the pituitary gland of mouse embryos and Oct-1 is expressed in many tissues of both developing and adult mice. The unc-86 gene activates the differentiation of specific embryonic cells into neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans. SeeChronology, 1988, Herr et al.; selector genes.
Subjects: Genetics and Genomics.