Can You Hear Me Now? Regulating Transcriptional Activators by Phosphorylation

Science's STKE  13 Sep 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 301, pp. pe44
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3012005pe44

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Extracellular signals often modulate the expression of specific genetic programs by triggering the phosphorylation of relevant transcription factors (TFs). Phosphorylation in turn regulates such TFs by altering their cellular localization, DNA binding affinity, or transcriptional activity. Structural approaches have revealed how phosphorylation turns some TFs on or off; but less is known about how phosphorylation regulates other transcription factors in a graded manner that depends on signal intensity. A recent paper by Graves and colleagues reveals how a group of phosphorylation sites in Ets-1 regulates its DNA binding activity. Their studies provide new insight into the importance of multisite phosphorylation for the graded regulation of transcription and highlight the involvement of allosteric mechanisms in this process.

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