Cooperative Transcription Factor Complexes in Control

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Science  16 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6109, pp. 891-892
DOI: 10.1126/science.1231310

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The cornerstone of transcriptional regulation is the binding of transcription factors to regulatory elements in DNA. The fine-tuning of this process is almost universally achieved through the formation of “enhanceosomes,” assemblies of DNA-binding proteins that are stabilized by an intricate network of protein-protein and DNA-protein contacts. The power of such cooperative interactions is now highlighted by four recent studies (14), including the report by Glasmacher et al. on page 975 in this issue. Together, these studies demonstrate that a cooperative complex formed by a monomer of the interferon regulatory factor (IRF) family of transcription factors and a heterodimer of the activator protein–1 (AP-1) Jun and B cell activating transcription factor (BATF) has a major role in lineage specification and function in cells of the immune system.