FOXO3 belongs to the O subclass of the forkhead family of transcription factorswhich are characterized by a distinct fork head DNA-binding domain. There are three other FoxO family members in humans, FOXO1, FOXO4 and FOXO6. These transcription factors share the ability to be inhibited and translocated out of the nucleus on phosphorylation by proteins such as Akt/PKB in the PI3Ksignaling pathway (aside from FOXO6, which may be constitutively nuclear).Other post-translational modifications including acetylation and methylation are seen and can result in increased or altered FOXO3a activity.
Gopinath et al.(2014) demonstrate a functional requirement for FOXO3 as a regulator of Notch signaling pathway (an essential regulator of quiescence in adult stem cells) in the self-renewal of stem cells during muscle regeneration.
It is thought that FOXO3a is also involved in protection from oxidative stress by upregulating antioxidants such as catalase and MnSOD. Ron DePinho‘s group generated Foxo3 knockout mice, and showed that female exhibit a dramatic age-dependent infertility, due to premature ovarian failure.