Upstream, downstream: the intricate affairs of busy transcription factors
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Almost every week, it seems, another character appears, expending the cast of DNA-binding proteins. Some of these proteins are destined for major roles, binding to DNA sequences a few hundred basepairs upstream of key genes and controlling the work of cells by regulating transcription of DNA to messenger RNA. Other dramatis personae in the cellular theater take their places in enhancer regions thousands of basepairs upstream or downstream from the transcribed gene on center stage. Clearly, untwisting the labyrinthine affairs of the protein families of the protein families that regulate gene expression wil not be easy, but Danny Reinberg and coleagues at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey think a plot resolution may soon be in sight.