Transcription factors are proteins that control genes in the genome by binding to DNA sequences, allowing genetic information to flow from DNA to RNA. They work alone or in groups, working to either assist or block the transmission of genetic material to specific genes to make them more or less active.
Transcription factors are necessary for the regulation of genes. For example, different genes are activated for heart cells than skin cells. This allows all of the cells in the body, which have the same exact genome, to function differently.
Transcription factors play an important role in development, cellular signaling, and cell division and duplication. Mutations in transcription factors include diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.