Oncology & Cancer

Gene network for leukemia factor

Transcription factors—proteins that regulate gene expression—play critical roles in cell fate decisions and are frequent targets of mutation in a variety of human cancers. Understanding how transcription factors contribute ...

Genetics

Missed signals? A new way we vary from each other biologically

Genetics has made huge strides over the past 20 years, from the sequencing of the human genome to a growing understanding of factors that turn genes on and off, namely transcription factors and the DNA "enhancer" sequences ...

Medical research

Researchers provide novel insights into human skin aging

In human, the skin is one of the organs that exhibit early-onset aging-associated dysfunction. As a critical physical barrier, the skin is composed of a variety of cell types including fibroblasts and keratinocytes. Due to ...

Immunology

The making of memory B cells and long-term immune responses

The current COVID-19 climate has made vaccines, antibodies and immune responses topics of everyday conversation. Now, it isn't just immunologists who want to know how our bodies respond to re-infections months, years, or ...

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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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