When is a transcription factor a NAP?

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

Proteins that regulate transcription often also play an architectural role in the genome. Thus, it has been difficult to define with precision the distinctions between transcription factors and nucleoid-associated proteins (NAPs). Anachronistic descriptions of NAPs as 'histone-like' implied an organizational function in a bacterial chromatin-like complex. Definitions based on protein abundance, regulatory mechanisms, target gene number, or the features of their DNA-binding sites are insufficient as marks of distinction, and trying to distinguish transcription factors and NAPs based on their ranking within regulatory hierarchies or positions in gene-control networks is also unsatisfactory. The terms 'transcription factor' and 'NAP' are ad hoc operational definitions with each protein lying along a spectrum of structural and functional features extending from highly specific actors with few gene targets to those with a pervasive influence on the transcriptome. The Streptomyces BldC protein is used to illustrate these issues.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dorman, CJ; Schumacher, MA; Bush, MJ; Brennan, RG; Buttner, MJ

Published Date

  • June 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 55 /

Start / End Page

  • 26 - 33

PubMed ID

  • 32120333

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8048100

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-0364

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.mib.2020.01.019


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England