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Bioessays. 2015 Jul;37(7):748-54. doi: 10.1002/bies.201400186. Epub 2015 May 21.

"Hit-and-run": Transcription factors get caught in the act.

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The Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Integrative Computational BioScience (ICBS) Center, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.


A key challenge for understanding transcriptional regulation is being able to measure transcription factor (TF)-DNA binding events with sufficient spatial and temporal resolution; that is, when and where TFs occupy their cognate sites. A recent study by Para et al. has highlighted the dynamics underlying the activation of gene expression by a master regulator TF. This study provides concrete evidence for a long-standing hypothesis in biology, the "hit-and-run" mechanism, which was first proposed decades ago. That is, gene expression is dynamically controlled by a TF that transiently binds and activates a target gene, which might stay in a transcriptionally active state after the initial binding event has ended. Importantly, the experimental procedure introduced, TARGET, provides a useful way for identifying multiple target genes transiently bound by their regulators, which can be used in conjunction with other well-established methods to improve our understanding of transcriptional regulatory dynamics.


Arabidopsis; ChIP-seq; bZIP1; nitrogen; transcription; transcriptome

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