Eukaryotic transcriptional control

Trends Cell Biol. 1999 Dec;9(12):M46-9.


Some 30 years ago, following the elucidation of transcriptional control in prokaryotes, attention turned to the corresponding problem in eukaryotes: how are so many genes transcribed in a cell-type-specific, developmentally regulated manner? The answer has been found in two modes of regulation, one involving chromatin and the other the chief transcribing enzyme, RNA polymerase II. Although basic features of the prokaryotic mechanism have been preserved, the demands of eukaryotic transcription control are met by a huge increase in complexity and by the addition of new layers to the transcription apparatus. Discovering the components of this apparatus has been a major theme of research over the past three decades; unravelling the mechanisms is a challenge for the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eukaryotic Cells
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Nucleosomes
  • Prokaryotic Cells
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Nucleosomes