Regulatory principles governing tissue specificity of developmental enhancers

Emma K. Farley, Katrina M. Olson, Michael S. Levine

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

17 Scopus citations


Transcriptional enhancers are short segments of genomic DNA (50 bp to 1 kb in length) that can work over long distances (≥1 Mb) to regulate gene expression in specific cells and tissues. Genomic assays have identified on the order of 400,000 to one million putative enhancers in the human genome (e.g., ENCODE Consortium). This suggests that a typical gene is regulated by tens of enhancers, ensuring stringent regulation of gene expression in response to a variety of intrinsic and external signals. Despite the discovery of the first transcriptional enhancer more than 30 years ago, we know surprisingly little about how enhancers regulate gene expression. In particular, the relationship between primary DNA sequence and enhancer specificity remains obscure. Here we summarize recent high-throughput studies in whole embryos aimed at the systematic identification of the sequence and organizational constraints underlying enhancer function and specificity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication21st Century Genetics Genes at Work, 2015
EditorsTerri Grodzicker, Bruce Stillman, David Stewart
PublisherCold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781621821472
StatePublished - 2016
Event21st Century Genetics Genes at Work, 2015 - Huntington, United States
Duration: May 26 2015May 31 2015

Publication series

NameCold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
ISSN (Print)0091-7451
ISSN (Electronic)1943-4456


Other21st Century Genetics Genes at Work, 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry


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