A GO catalogue of human DNA-binding transcription factors

Biochim Biophys Acta Gene Regul Mech. 2021 Nov-Dec;1864(11-12):194765. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2021.194765. Epub 2021 Oct 18.


To control gene transcription, DNA-binding transcription factors recognise specific sequence motifs in gene regulatory regions. A complete and reliable GO annotation of all DNA-binding transcription factors is key to investigating the delicate balance of gene regulation in response to environmental and developmental stimuli. The need for such information is demonstrated by the many lists of transcription factors that have been produced over the past decade. The COST Action Gene Regulation Ensemble Effort for the Knowledge Commons (GREEKC) Consortium brought together experts in the field of transcription with the aim of providing high quality and interoperable gene regulatory data. The Gene Ontology (GO) Consortium provides strict definitions for gene product function, including factors that regulate transcription. The collaboration between the GREEKC and GO Consortia has enabled the application of those definitions to produce a new curated catalogue of over 1400 human DNA-binding transcription factors, that can be accessed at https://www.ebi.ac.uk/QuickGO/targetset/dbTF. This catalogue has facilitated an improvement in the GO annotation of human DNA-binding transcription factors and led to the GO annotation of almost sixty thousand DNA-binding transcription factors in over a hundred species. Thus, this work will aid researchers investigating the regulation of transcription in both biomedical and basic science.

Keywords: Biocuration; DNA-binding transcription factor; Gene ontology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • DNA / metabolism*
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Gene Ontology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation*
  • Transcription Factors / classification*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Transcription Factors
  • DNA