Evolution of regulatory motifs of bacterial transcription factors

In Silico Biol. 2010;10(3):163-83. doi: 10.3233/ISB-2010-0425.


Unlike evolution of genes and proteins, evolution of regulatory systems is a relatively new area of research. In particular, little systematic study has been done on evolution of DNA binding motifs in transcription factor families. We suggest an algorithm that reconstructs the most parsimonious scenario for changes in DNA binding motifs along an evolutionary tree of transcription factor binding sites. The algorithm was validated on several artificial datasets and then applied to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the NrdR, MntR, LacI, FNR, Irr, Fur and Rrf2 transcription factor families. The algorithm seems to be sufficiently robust to be applicable in realistic situations. In most transcription factor families the changes in binding motifs are limited to several branches. Changes in consensus nucleotides proceed via an intermediate stage when the respective position is not conserved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Consensus Sequence
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Phylogeny
  • Regulatory Elements, Transcriptional
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Transcription Factors