General transcription factor

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General transcription factors (GTFs), also known as basal transcriptional factors, are a class of protein transcription factors that bind to specific sites on DNA to activate transcription. GTFs, RNA polymerase, and the mediator multiple protein complex constitute the basic transcriptional apparatus.[1] GTFs are also intimately involved in the process of gene regulation, and most are required for life.[2]


In bacteria, transcription initiation requires an RNA polymerase and a single GTF: sigma factor.

In archaea and eukaryotes, transcription initiation requires an RNA polymerase and a set of multiple GTFs. The Transcription initiation by eukaryotic RNA polymerase II involves the following GTFs:[3][4]


  1. ^ Pierce, Benjamin A. (2012). Genetics a conceptual approac (4th ed.). New York: W.H. Freeman. pp. 364–367. ISBN 1-4292-3250-1. 
  2. ^ Dillon N (2006). "Gene regulation and large-scale chromatin organization in the nucleus". Chromosome Res. 14 (1): 117–26. doi:10.1007/s10577-006-1027-8. PMID 16506101. 
  3. ^ Lee TI, Young RA (2000). "Transcription of eukaryotic protein-coding genes". Annu. Rev. Genet. 34 (1): 77–137. doi:10.1146/annurev.genet.34.1.77. PMID 11092823. 
  4. ^ Orphanides G, Lagrange T, Reinberg D (1996). "The general transcription factors of RNA polymerase II". Genes Dev. 10 (21): 2657–83. doi:10.1101/gad.10.21.2657. PMID 8946909. 

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