Regulator gene

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A regulator gene, regulator, or regulatory gene is a gene involved in controlling the expression of one or more other genes. A regulator gene may encode a protein, or it may work at the level of RNA, as in the case of genes encoding microRNAs.

In prokaryotes, regulator genes often code for repressor proteins. Repressor proteins bind to operators or promoters, preventing RNA polymerase from transcribing RNA. They are usually constantly expressed so the cell always has a supply of repressor molecules on hand.[1] Inducers cause repressor proteins to change shape or otherwise become unable to bind DNA, allowing RNA polymerase to continue transcription. Regulator genes can be located within an operon, adjacent to it, or far away from it.[2]

Other regulatory genes code for activator proteins. An activator binds to a site on the DNA molecule and causes an increase in transcription of a nearby gene. In prokaryotes, a well-known example of an activator protein is the catabolite activator protein or CAP, which is involved in positive control of the lac operon.

In the regulation of gene expression, both activators and repressors are known to play important roles.[3]

See Also[edit]


  1. ^ Campbell Biology—Concepts and Connections 7th Edition. Pearson Education. 2009. pp. 210–211. 
  2. ^ Mayer, Gene. "BACTERIOLOGY - CHAPTER NINE GENETIC REGULATORY MECHANISMS". Microbiology and Immunology Online. University of South Carolina School of Medicine. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Suzuki, David (2005). Introduction to Genetic Analysis. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman. ISBN 978-0-7167-4939-4. 

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