Regulation through clustering

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Science  06 Oct 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6359, pp. 77-78
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6359.77-b

Transcription factors convey information from the environment to influence gene regulation. These proteins bind promoter sequences for gene repression or activation, but the mechanism by which they find their target sequence is unclear. Wollman et al. examined gene regulation by the Mig1 repressor and the Msn2 activator. The Mig1 repressor is a zinc-finger DNA-binding protein that localizes to the nucleus when the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is exposed to glucose. Using single-molecule fluorescent microscopy to track localization, the authors found that six to nine transcription factor molecules form clusters that move from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. The clusters may be stabilized in live cells by the properties of the cytoplasmic colloid. Clustered transcription factors seem to reduce promoter search time and permit more efficient gene regulation.

eLife 10.7554/eLife.27451.001 (2017).

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