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Paired box gene 8, also known as PAX8, is a protein which in humans is encoded by the PAX8 gene. This gene is a member of the paired box (PAX) family of transcription factors. Members of this gene family typically encode proteins which contain a paired box domain, an octapeptide, and a paired-type homeodomain. The PAX gene family has an important role in the formation of tissues and organs during embryonic development and maintaining the normal function of some cells after birth. The PAX genes give instructions for making proteins that attach themselves to certain areas of DNA. This nuclear protein is involved in thyroid follicular cell development and expression of thyroid-specific genes. PAX8 releases the hormones important for regulating growth, brain development, and metabolism. Also functions in very early stages of kidney organogenesis, the müllerian system, and the thymus. Additionally, PAX8 is expressed in the renal excretory system, epithelial cells of the endocervix, endometrium, ovary, Fallopian tube, seminal vesicle, epididymis, pancreatic islet cells and lymphoid cells. PAX8 and other transcription factors play a role in binding to DNA and regulating the genes that drive thyroid hormone synthesis (Tg, TPO, Slc5a5 and Tshr). PAX8 (and PAX2) is one of the important regulators of urogenital system morphogenesis. They play a role in the specification of the first renal cells of the embryo and remain essential players throughout development.

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