Related topics: genes · cells · gene expression · stem cells · dna sequences

Activating a new understanding of gene regulation

Regulation of gene expression—turning genes on or off, increasing or decreasing their expression—is critical for defining cell identity during development and coordinating cellular activity throughout the cell's lifetime. ...

Making nanowires from protein and DNA

The ability to custom design biological materials such as protein and DNA opens up technological possibilities that were unimaginable just a few decades ago. For example, synthetic structures made of DNA could one day be ...

Reprogramming the oocyte

(—Among other things, the egg is optimized to process the sperm genome. The cytoplasmic factors that make this possible also give the egg the ability to reprogram the nuclei from other kinds of cells if these nuclei ...

Functional nerve cells from skin cells

A new method of generating mature nerve cells from skin cells could greatly enhance understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, and could accelerate the development of new drugs and stem cell-based regenerative medicine.

Criticality in morphogenesis

( —In many regards, a brief time-lapse video can teach more about embryonic development than any amount of reading. It is hard not to be impressed how a repeatable form reliably emerges despite considerable variation ...

Which came first the head or the brain?

( —A fundamental question in the evolution of animal body plans, is where did the head come from? In animals with a clear axis of right-left symmetry, the bilaterians, the head is where the brain is, at the anterior ...

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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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