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Autoregulation of eukaryotic transcription factors.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Markey Center for Molecular Genetics, University of Vermont, Burlington 05405, USA.


The structures of several promoters regulating the expression of eukaryotic transcription factors have in recent years been examined. In many cases there is good evidence for autoregulation, in which a given factor binds to its own promoter and either activates or represses transcription. Autoregulation occurs in all eukaryotes and is an important component in controlling expression of basal, cell cycle specific, inducible response and cell type-specific factors. The basal factors are autoregulatory, being strictly necessary for their own expression, and as such must be epigenetically inherited. Autoregulation of stimulus response factors typically serves to amplify cellular signals transiently and also to attenuate the response whether or not a given inducer remains. Cell cycle-specific transcription factors are positively and negatively autoregulatory, but this frequently depends on interlocking circuits among family members. Autoregulation of cell type-specific factors results in a form of cellular memory that can contribute, or define, a determined state. Autoregulation of transcription factors provides a simple circuitry, useful in many cellular circumstances, that does not require the involvement of additional factors, which, in turn, would need to be subject to another hierarchy of regulation. Autoregulation additionally can provide a direct means to sense and control the cellular conce]ntration of a given factor. However, autoregulatory loops are often dependent on cellular pathways that create the circumstances under which autoregulation occurs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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