Enhancers, the elements that regulate spatial and temporal gene expression in eukaryotic cells, act as templates for the assembly of multiprotein complexes. Studies on the enhancers associated with immediate-early genes of herpes simplex virus reveal an unanticipated recurrence of specific protein-protein interactions, comparable to a three-dimensional 'jigsaw' puzzle. The arrangement of cis regulatory motifs - the DNA sequence of an enhancer-forms the puzzle template. Specific regulatory proteins, by forming contours of appropriate fit for both DNA template and neighboring proteins, constitute the puzzle pieces.
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