The core promoter: an unexplored regulatory level of transcription during vertebrate development


  • Prof Boris Lenhard

    Imperial College London

  • Prof Ferenc Mueller

    University of Birmingham

Project summary

Critical transitions in animal development are determined by a succession of transcriptional regulatory events mediated by a large number of cis-regulatory modules, which are integrated into transcription initiation at RNA polymerase II core promoters – the DNA sequences at which transcription to RNA is initiated. The type of the core promoter is the regulatory point that critically determines the activity profiles of genes. However, different types of promoters are defined tentatively, and the role of the differences is often overlooked. The principal reason for this is our current lack of understanding of promoter regulatory codes and their functional diversity, which can provide key insights into their underlying biology. Professors Lenhard and Mueller are planning to address this issue by investigating the systematic use of distinct promoter types for specific regulatory purposes, to discover unknown classes and subclasses genome-wide, define their fundamental properties, and uncover their functions in regulating transcription in the developing embryo.