TATA box

A TATA box (sometimes Goldberg-Hogness box) is a conserved sequence found in the promoter region of some genes in eukaryotes and archaea. It is responsible for the binding of transcription factors or histones (the two are antagonistic) and is usually located approximately 25 base pairs upstream of the coding region. The TATA box is an example of a cis-regulatory element. It has the core sequence

5' TATAAA 3'

often followed by a run of adenine residues.

The TATA region is normally bound to a TATA-binding protein, a transcription factor that interacts with other transcription factors to form a preinitation complex for the binding of RNA polymerase (and subsequent transcription of the gene). DNA-helix unwinding also occurs from this point. The run of AT-residues allows easy unwinding of the DNA helix for transcriptional access because AT base pairs have weaker base stacking interactions than CG pairs.

The TATA box is found in approximately 24% of human genes. The remaining genes that lack a TATA box instead have an initiator element that is different in sequence but homologous in function. The TATA-binding protein is still involved, as it binds to these regions without sequence specificity.