Biological role of the CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein family of transcription factors

J Biol Chem. 1998 Oct 30;273(44):28545-8. doi: 10.1074/jbc.273.44.28545.


CCAAT/enhancer-binding proteins (C/EBPs) comprise a family of transcription factors that are critical for normal cellular differentiation and function in a variety of tissues. The prototypic C/EBP is a modular protein, consisting of an activation domain, a dimerization bZIP region, and a DNA-binding domain. All family members share the highly conserved dimerization domain, required for DNA binding, by which they form homo- and heterodimers with other family members. C/EBPs are least conserved in their activation domains and vary from strong activators to dominant negative repressors. The pleiotropic effects of C/EBPs are in part because of tissue- and stage-specific expression. Dimerization of different C/EBP proteins precisely modulates transcriptional activity of target genes. Recent work with mice deficient in specific C/EBPs underscores the effects of these factors in tissue development, function, and response to injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors