CTCF: the protein, the binding partners, the binding sites and their chromatin loops

S.J. Holwerda, W. de Laat

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


CTCF has it all. The transcription factor binds to tens of thousands of genomic sites, some tissue-specific, others ultra-conserved. It can act as a transcriptional activator, repressor and insulator, and it can pause transcription. CTCF binds at chromatin domain boundaries, at enhancers and gene promoters, and inside gene bodies. It can attract many other transcription factors to chromatin, including tissue-specific transcriptional activators, repressors, cohesin and RNA polymerase II, and it forms chromatin loops. Yet, or perhaps therefore, CTCF's exact function at a given genomic site is unpredictable. It appears to be determined by the associated transcription factors, by the location of the binding site relative to the transcriptional start site of a gene, and by the site's engagement in chromatin loops with other CTCF-binding sites, enhancers or gene promoters. Here, we will discuss genome-wide features of CTCF binding events, as well as locus-specific functions of this remarkable transcription factor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20120369
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1620
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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