Eukaryotic transcription gets started with the binding of the TATA-binding protein (TBP) to the promoter. This basic machinery is not invariant, however; 1993 saw the discovery of the TBP-related TRF1, which directs an ill-defined set of tissue- and gene-specific transcription events. In the May 5 Science Holmes and Tjian find that tandem promoters in tudor, a fly gene, allow for regulation by both TBP and TRF1 proteins (Science 2000, 288:867-870). The proteins direct transcription from distinct start sites, with TRF1 requiring a TC-rich box. Preliminary gene array analysis suggests that about 5% of fly genes may respond to TRF1 induction.
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