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Neurochem Int. 1996 Dec;29(6):573-81.

Mechanisms of transcriptional regulation and neural gene expression.

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Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chiba University, Japan.


Gene transcription is governed by a set of basal transcription machineries and gene-specific factors. Eukaryotic RNA polymerases alone can not direct specific transcription, but need associated factors, namely general transcription factors (GTFs). The basal transcription machineries composed of RNA polymerase and GTFs bind to a promoter and govern efficient and correct transcription for constitutive gene expression. Protein-coding genes are transcribed by RNA polymerase (Pol) II whereas Pol I and Pol III synthesize ribosomal RNA and various small RNAs, respectively. Enhancer is another class of cis-element for Pol II to which transcription regulatory factors bind. Those factors are involved in inducible, repressive, and tissue-specific gene expressions via binding to their target sequences. Regulatory factors have multiple structural motifs and interact with basal machineries directly or indirectly (using mediators) in addition to DNA. Many transcription factors are known to regulate nervous system-specific gene expression, which include bHTH, bHLH, basic leucine zipper, and zinc finger factors and prorine-rich activators. These factors, some of which belong to a neural silencer factor, play roles in neural development, establishment of memory and learning, and expression of nervous system-specific proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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