Enhancers: the abundance and function of regulatory sequences beyond promoters.

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Developmental biology, Volume 339, Issue 2, p.250-7 (2010)

Keywords:

2010, Animals, Basic Sciences Division, Cell Nucleus, Center-Authored Paper, chromatin, DNA, DROSOPHILA, Enhancer Elements, Genetic, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Humans, Models, Biological, Nuclear Proteins, Promoter Regions, Genetic

Abstract:

Transcriptional control in mammals and Drosophila is often mediated by regulatory sequences located far from gene promoters. Different classes of such elements - particularly enhancers, but also locus control regions and insulators - have been defined by specific functional assays, although it is not always clear how these assays relate to the function of these elements within their native loci. Recent advances in genomics suggest, however, that such elements are highly abundant within the genome and may represent the primary mechanism by which cell- and developmental-specific gene expression is accomplished. In this review, we discuss the functional parameters of enhancers as defined by specific assays, along with the frequency with which they occur in the genome. In addition, we examine the available evidence for the mechanism by which such elements communicate or interact with the promoters they regulate.