Finding the regulatory mechanisms responsible for gene expression remains one of the most important challenges for biomedical research. A major focus in cellular biology is to find functional transcription factor binding sites (TFBS) responsible for the regulation of a downstream gene. As wet-lab methods are time consuming and expensive, it is not realistic to identify TFBS for all uncharacterized genes in the genome by purely experimental means. Computational methods aimed at predicting potential regulatory regions can increase the efficiency of wet-lab experiments significantly. Here, methods for building quantitative models describing the binding preferences of transcription factors based on literature-derived data are presented, as well as a general protocol for scanning promoters using cross-species comparison as a filter (phylogenetic footprinting).
Methods in Molecular Biology, 2008, Vol 453, p. 233-44