TRF2: TRansForming the view of general transcription factors

Transcription. 2015;6(1):1-6. doi: 10.1080/21541264.2015.1004980. Epub 2015 Jan 14.


Transcriptional regulation is pivotal for development and differentiation of organisms. Transcription of eukaryotic protein-coding genes by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) initiates at the core promoter. Core promoters, which encompass the transcription start site, may contain functional core promoter elements, such as the TATA box, initiator, TCT and downstream core promoter element. TRF2 (TATA-box-binding protein-related factor 2) does not bind TATA box-containing promoters. Rather, it is recruited to core promoters via sequences other than the TATA box. We review the recent findings implicating TRF2 as a basal transcription factor in the regulation of diverse biological processes and specialized transcriptional programs.

Keywords: BREd, downstream TFIIB recognition element; BREu, upstream TFIIB recognition element; ChIP, Chromatin immunoprecipitation; DPE; DPE, downstream core promoter element; Inr, initiator; MTE, motif ten element; PIC, preinitiation complex; Pol II, RNA polymerase II; RNA Pol II transcription; TAF, TBP-associated factor; TBP, TATA-box binding protein; TBP-related factors; TCT; TFIIA (transcription factor, RNA polymerase II A); TFIIB (transcription factor, RNA polymerase II B); TFIID (transcription factor, RNA polymerase II D); TRF, TATA-box-binding protein-related factor; TRF2; TSS, transcription start site; core promoter elements/motifs; embryonic development; histone gene cluster; ribosomal protein genes; spermiogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Embryonic Development
  • Humans
  • Morphogenesis
  • TATA-Box Binding Protein / metabolism
  • Telomeric Repeat Binding Protein 2 / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors, General / metabolism*


  • TATA-Box Binding Protein
  • TERF2 protein, human
  • Telomeric Repeat Binding Protein 2
  • Transcription Factors, General