Transcriptional enhancers: Intelligent enhanceosomes or flexible billboards?

J Cell Biochem. 2005 Apr 1;94(5):890-8. doi: 10.1002/jcb.20352.


In higher eukaryotes, transcriptional enhancers play critical roles in the integration of cellular signaling information, but apart from a few well-studied model enhancers, we lack a general picture of transcriptional information processing by most enhancers. Here we discuss recent studies that have provided fresh insights on information processing that occurs on enhancers, and propose that in addition to the highly cooperative and coordinate action of "enhanceosomes", a less integrative, but more flexible form of information processing is mediated by information display or "billboard" enhancers. Application of these models has important ramifications not only for the biochemical analysis of transcription, but also for the wider fields of bioinformatics and evolutionary biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology
  • Phylogeny
  • Transcription, Genetic*