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

Self-restrained genes enable evolutionary novelty

Changes in the genes that control development can potentially make large contributions to evolution by generating new morphologies in plants and animals. However, because developmental genes frequently influence many different ...

How gene expression noise shapes cell fate

Essential genes are often expressed with high variability during the development of cells. Scientists call this phenomenon "biological noise" and suspect that it is also decisive for the fate of cells, i.e. the developmental ...

How cells protect themselves from mitochondrial defects

Cells need powerhouses known as mitochondria to utilize the energy stored in our food. Most of the proteins required for this powerhouse function are encoded in the nucleus and transported into the mitochondria after they ...

How human brain development diverged from great apes

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel, and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have presented new insights into the development ...

How time affects the fate of stem cells

How do temporal variations in protein concentrations affect biology? It's a question that biologists have only recently begun to address, and the findings are increasingly showing that random temporal changes in the amount ...

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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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