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Proteins that can control whether a gene is transcribed or not.

Use in clinical context

Genes are not transcribed all the time, and part of the system controlling whether a gene is transcribed or not is the presence or absence of transcription factors. These molecules bind to regulatory parts of the genome – usually close to the gene that is being turned on. Once bound, transcription of the gene can begin.

Transcription factors are coded for in the genome, and variants in the genes that code for them can lead to them not binding as they should and the alteration of many downstream cellular processes. Many cancers display disruption of transcription factors and, as such, dysregulation of genes.

Related terms

Gene | Genome | Protein | Transcription

Last updated on 14th December, 2021