Transcription Factor & Regulator Proteins

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Transcription Factor & Regulator Proteins

Transcription Factor & Regulator Proteins Background

What is transcription factor (TF)?

Eukaryotes and prokaryotes have developed a complex way to control expression of their genes, especially the gene transcription. The expression of genes is controlled by a group of proteins named as transcription factors (TFs). These proteins can turn on or off the gene expression by binding to DNA and other proteins such as enzymes that control the reading or transcription. DNA-binding domains (DBDs) are the structurally feature of transcription factors and DBDs recognize and attach to specific sequences of DNA in the genes. Many transcription factors in the same family often function together to regulate transcription of a single gene. Because of actions of transcription factors, cells in our body with the same genome can function differently. Transcription factors signals can induce gene expression in a gradational way. In other words, transcription factors play an important role in increasing the level of genetic complexity.

Transcription factors exist in almost all living organisms. In human genome, about 8% of genes can encode transcription factors. These proteins function in important processes of life such as development, intracellular signaling and cell cycle. In addition, some human diseases are related to mutations of transcription factors, for example, autoimmune diseases, cancer and diabetes.

Though transcription factors can control the gene transcription, the activity of itself is modulated through post-translational modifications (PTMs) in response to cellular stimuli. PTMs are performed by specific modification enzymes. TFs and PTMs function together as "molecular switchboards" which can change upstream signaling into the downstream transcriptional events.


Transcription Factor and Regulator related references

1. Phillips T, Hoopes L. Transcription factors and transcriptional control in eukaryotic cells[J]. Nature Education, 2008, 1(1): 119.

2. Everett L, Hansen M, Hannenhalli S. Regulating the regulators: modulators of transcription factor activity[M]//Computational Biology of Transcription Factor Binding. Humana Press, 2010: 297-312.

3. Mitchell P J, Tjian R. Transcriptional regulation in mammalian cells by sequence-specific DNA binding proteins[J]. Science, 1989, 245(4916): 371-378.

4. Perissi V, Aggarwal A, Glass C K, et al. A corepressor/coactivator exchange complex required for transcriptional activation by nuclear receptors and other regulated transcription factors[J]. Cell, 2004, 116(4): 511-526.

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