A catalogue of eukaryotic transcription factor types, their evolutionary origin, and species distribution

Subcell Biochem. 2011;52:25-73. doi: 10.1007/978-90-481-9069-0_3.


Transcription factors (TFs) play key roles in the regulation of gene expression by binding in a sequence-specific manner to genomic DNA. In eukaryotes, DNA binding is achieved by a wide range of structural forms and motifs. TFs are typically classified by their DNA-binding domain (DBD) type. In this chapter, we catalogue and survey 91 different TF DBD types in metazoa, plants, fungi, and protists. We briefly discuss well-characterized TF families representing the major DBD superclasses. We also examine the species distributions and inferred evolutionary histories of the various families, and the potential roles played by TF family expansion and dimerization.

MeSH terms

  • Eukaryota* / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Transcription Factors* / genetics


  • Transcription Factors