Obstetrics & gynaecology

Folliculin mutations disrupt embryo implantation

New information is unfolding on the genetic controls of an early turning point in pregnancy. As the tiny, dividing cell mass, the blastocyst, travels from the oviduct and lodges in the wall of the uterus, the cells must exit ...

Genetics

Kick-starting the genome in early development

After the fertilisation of an egg cell, two become one; two sets of genetic information combine to form a genome. We can think of the egg and sperm as information capsules with stored instructions for starting a new life, ...

Medical research

Enzyme that breaks down amino acids may promote aging

Permanently arrested cell growth is known as "cellular senescence", and the accumulation of senescent cells may be one cause of aging in our bodies. Japanese researchers have discovered that a certain enzyme in our bodies ...

Medical research

Gene-edited disease monkeys cloned in China

The first cohort of five gene-edited monkey clones made from fibroblasts of a monkey with disease phenotypes were born recently at the Institute of Neuroscience (ION) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Shanghai. ...

Cancer

Targeted treatment shrinks deadly pediatric brain tumors

Chemotherapy and radiation are effective cancer treatments because they kill rapidly dividing cells, including tumor cells. But for children—whose tiny bodies are still growing—these treatments can cause lifelong damage. ...

Immunology

Protein police keep the immune system in check

Our immune systems defend our bodies against dangerous invaders and help clean up when damage is done. But if our bold protectors are left unsupervised, they sometimes do their jobs too well and end up harming healthy tissues. ...

Genetics

How glial cells develop in the brain from neural precursor cells

Two types of cells are active in the brain: nerve cells and glial cells. Glial cells have long been regarded primarily as supportive cells, but researchers increasingly recognize that they play an active role in the communication ...

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Transcription factor

In the field of molecular biology, a transcription factor (sometimes called a sequence-specific DNA binding factor) is a protein that binds to specific DNA sequences and thereby controls the transfer (or transcription) of genetic information from DNA to mRNA. Transcription factors perform this function alone or with other proteins in a complex, by promoting (as an activator), or blocking (as a repressor) the recruitment of RNA polymerase (the enzyme which performs the transcription of genetic information from DNA to RNA) to specific genes.

A defining feature of transcription factors is that they contain one or more DNA binding domains (DBDs) which attach to specific sequences of DNA adjacent to the genes that they regulate. Additional proteins such as coactivators, chromatin remodelers, histone acetylases, deacetylases, kinases, and methylases, while also playing crucial roles in gene regulation, lack DNA binding domains, and therefore are not classified as transcription factors.

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