Bacterial transcription factors: regulation by pick 'n' mix

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Transcription in most bacteria is tightly regulated in order to facilitate bacterial adaptation to different environments, and transcription factors play a key role in this. Here we give a brief overview of the essential features of bacterial transcription factors and how they affect transcript initiation at target promoters. We focus on complex promoters that are regulated by combinations of activators and repressors, combinations of repressors only, or combinations of activators. At some promoters, transcript initiation is regulated by nucleoid-associated proteins, which often work together with transcription factors. We argue that the distinction between nucleoid-associated proteins and transcription factors is blurred and that they likely share common origins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4067-4077
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number20
Early online date16 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


  • RNA polymerase
  • bacterial transcription
  • promoters
  • transcription activators
  • transcription repressors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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