Myocyte enhancer factor (MEF)-2 plays a critical role in proliferation, differentiation, and development of various cell types in a tissue specific manner. Four isoforms of MEF-2 (A-D) differentially participate in controlling the cell fate during the developmental phases of cardiac, muscle, vascular, immune and skeletal systems. Through their associations with various cellular factors MEF-2 isoforms can trigger alterations in complex protein networks and modulate various stages of cellular differentiation, proliferation, survival and apoptosis. The role of the MEF-2 family of transcription factors in the development has been investigated in various cell types, and the evolving alterations in this family of transcription factors have resulted in a diverse and wide spectrum of disease phenotypes, ranging from cancer to infection. This review provides a comprehensive account on MEF-2 isoforms (A-D) from their respective localization, signaling, role in development and tumorigenesis as well as their association with histone deacetylases (HDACs), which can be exploited for therapeutic intervention.
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