Atragene Bioinformatics, 10, allée des Champs-Elysées, Courcouronnes, 91042 Evry Cedex
Gene regulation networks control differentiation and function of hundreds of cell types. Dysfunctions of transcription factors, which are key elements in the regulation pathways, are involved in numerous pathologies. The recent development of genomics technologies allows the study of gene regulation mechanisms and help us understand their impact on the cells. Bioinformatic tools are needed to fully exploit data obtained by genomics approaches. Thus, bioinformatics play an essential role in the characterisation of the transcription factors binding sites and their target genes. In this review we will introduce the main breakthroughs in bioinformatics area for the comprehension of regulation mechanisms. We will insist on i) the approaches « with a priori » for the genome annotation based on known transcription factors binding sites, ii) the approaches « without a priori » for the discovery of new binding sites and iii) the functional annotation of the target genes of those transcription factors. Finally, we will present recent examples of the fruitful use of in silico studies for the comprehension of regulation mechanisms and of the consequences of their dysfunction.