Sp1 and Sp3 are transcription factors expressed in all mammalian cells. These factors are involved in regulating the transcriptional activity of genes implicated in most cellular processes. Dysregulation of Sp1 and Sp3 is observed in many cancers and diseases. Due to the amino acid sequence similarity of the DNA binding domains, Sp1 and Sp3 recognize and associate with the same DNA element with similar affinity. However, others and our laboratory demonstrated that these two factors possess different properties and exert different functional roles. Both Sp1 and Sp3 can interact with and recruit a large number of proteins including the transcription initiation complex, histone modifying enzymes and chromatin remodeling complexes, which strongly suggest that Sp1 and Sp3 are important transcription factors in the remodeling chromatin and the regulation of gene expression. In this review, the role of Sp1 and Sp3 in normal and cancer cell biology and the multiple mechanisms deciding the functional roles of Sp1 and Sp3 will be presented.
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