pleiotropic gene

Cis-regulatory element

A cis-regulatory element or cis-element is a region of DNA or RNA that regulates the expression of genes located on that same strand. This term is constructed from the Latin word cis, which means "on the same side as". These cis-regulatory elements are often binding sites of one or more trans-acting factors. A cis-element may be located in the promoter region 5' to the gene it controls, in an intron, or in the 3' untranslated region.

In contrast, trans-regulatory elements are species which may modify the expression of genes distant from the gene that was originally transcribed to create them. To demonstrate the concept (this is not a specific example), a transcription factor which regulates a gene on chromosome 6 might itself have been transcribed from a gene on chromosome 11. This term is constructed from the Latin root -trans, which means "across from".

To summarize, cis- elements are present on the same strand as the gene they regulate whereas trans- elements can regulate genes distant from the gene from which they were transcribed.

External references

  • Wray, G. A. 2007. The evolutionary significance of cis-regulatory mutations. Nature Reviews Genetics 8, 206-216
  • Gompel et al. 2005. Chance caught on the wing: cis regulation evolution and the origin of pigmentation patterns in Drosophila. Nature 433: 481-487.
  • Prud'homme et al. 2006. Repeated morphological evolution through cis regulatory changes in a pleiotropic gene. Nature 440: 1050-1053.
  • Stern, D.L. 2000. Perspective: Evolutionary developmental biology and the problem of variation. Evolution 54: 1079-1091.
  • Carroll, S.B., Grenier, J.K. and Weatherbee, S.D. 2005. "From DNA to diversity: Molecular genetics and the evolution of animal design" Blackwell publishing

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