What is it about?

Transcription factors play very important role in cell fate determination. There are many cell specific transcription factors which when expressed ectopically may lead to cell fate conversion or transdifferentiation. Many of these transcription factors function differently based on their levels and stoichiometry. Many different types of differentiated cells have been generated from other differentiated cell types by expressing different levels and stoichiometry of reprogramming factors. Present article deals with various methods developed to control the stoichiometry of transcription factors in cells and study its effects.

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Why is it important?

Many methodologies have been developed for efficient cell fate conversion by regulating the levels and stoichiometry of transcription factors in a particular cocktail that have therapeutic values. An approach called phenotypic activation which involves overexpression of putative transcription factors has been developed as a tool to discover new transcription factors and their targets. Transcription factor overexpression may also have toxic effects where non-specific electrostatic interactions and ‘squelching’ may lead to inhibition of many genes. Altered levels of transcription factors may have disastrous consequences like cancer. Recent developments like designing of artificial transcription factors, nanotechnology-based transcriptional tools and CRISPR-based transcription modules with capabilities of precise regulation of gene expression patterns hold huge potentials in the field of transcriptional therapeutics.


This publication provides a comprehensive account of various methods developed to study the effects of different levels of transcription factors on cell fate, effects of transcription factor overexpression on living cells and discovery of new transcription factors by disturbing stoichiometry of other transcription factors. It will help stem cell, cancer and developmental biologists to understand the biology of the stoichiometry of transcription factors.

Rahul Kumar

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Transcription factor stoichiometry in cell fate determination, Journal of Genetics, April 2021, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1007/s12041-021-01278-2.
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