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Mechanisms of enhancer action: the known and the unknown

Authors
  • Panigrahi, Anil1
  • O’Malley, Bert W.1
  • 1 Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX, 77030, USA , Houston (United States)
Type
Published Article
Publication Date
Apr 15, 2021
Volume
22
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s13059-021-02322-1
Source
Springer Nature
License
Green

Abstract

Differential gene expression mechanisms ensure cellular differentiation and plasticity to shape ontogenetic and phylogenetic diversity of cell types. A key regulator of differential gene expression programs are the enhancers, the gene-distal cis-regulatory sequences that govern spatiotemporal and quantitative expression dynamics of target genes. Enhancers are widely believed to physically contact the target promoters to effect transcriptional activation. However, our understanding of the full complement of regulatory proteins and the definitive mechanics of enhancer action is incomplete. Here, we review recent findings to present some emerging concepts on enhancer action and also outline a set of outstanding questions.

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