• transcription factors;
  • molecular therapy;
  • gene therapy;
  • gene expression

Transcription factor proteins regulate gene expression via binding to specific DNA sequences found in the promoter/enhancer regions of the genes they control. Although most transcription factor binding has been associated with an increase in gene expression, gene suppression has also been described. Transcription factor decoys are molecules that mimic the binding sites for transcription factor proteins, and compete with promoter regions to absorb this binding activity in the cell nucleus. By blocking transcription factor-chromosomal DNA interaction, these molecules provide a powerful means to manipulate the regulation of gene expression, particularly as transcription factors are increasingly understood to alter gene activation during the course of normal and pathologic processes in cell biology. As methods for cellular and nuclear delivery of these agents improve, the increasing use of transcription factor decoys, both as investigative and therapeutic tools, promises to have a significant impact on our understanding of and ability to treat human disease.