PROSITE documentation PDOC00033
'Homeobox' engrailed-type protein signature


Most proteins which contain a 'homeobox' domain can be classified [1,2], on the basis of their sequence characteristics, in three subfamilies: engrailed, antennapedia and paired. Proteins currently known to belong to the engrailed subfamily are:

  • Drosophila segmentation polarity protein engrailed (en) which specifies the body segmentation pattern and is required for the development of the central nervous system.
  • Drosophila invected protein (inv).
  • Silk moth proteins engrailed and invected, which may be involved in the compartmentalization of the silk gland.
  • Honeybee E30 and E60.
  • Grasshopper (Schistocerca americana) G-En.
  • Mammalian and birds En-1 and En-2.
  • Zebrafish Eng-1, -2 and -3.
  • Sea urchin (Tripneusteas gratilla) SU-HB-en.
  • Leech (Helobdella triserialis) Ht-En.
  • Caenorhabditis elegans ceh-16.

Engrailed homeobox proteins are characterized by the presence of a conserved region of some 20 amino-acid residues located at the C-terminal of the 'homeobox' domain. As a signature pattern for this subfamily of proteins, we have used a stretch of eight perfectly conserved residues in this region.

Last update:

July 1999 / Pattern and text revised.


Technical section

PROSITE method (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

ENGRAILED, PS00033; 'Homeobox' engrailed-type protein signature  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsScott M.P. Tamkun J.W. Hartzell G.W. III
TitleThe structure and function of the homeodomain.
SourceBiochim. Biophys. Acta 989:25-48(1989).
PubMed ID2568852

2AuthorsGehring W.J.
TitleHomeo boxes in the study of development.
SourceScience 236:1245-1252(1987).
PubMed ID2884726

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