Question: Best Database Of Transcription Factor Binding Sites
gravatar for Dataminer
9.2 years ago by
Dataminer2.7k wrote:

(a) Which is the best database for transcription factor binding site, TRANSFAC or JASPAR? Why?

(b) Is it still valid to assume, "transcription factor binding sites are only present in 5'UTR and in promoter region"?

Note: kindly put references in your answer.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 3.6 years ago by jin80 • written 9.2 years ago by Dataminer2.7k

I think it is pretty optimistic to think that there is a reference to document that one specific database of TF binding sites is better than another. How would you even define "best" in this case?

ADD REPLYlink written 9.2 years ago by Lars Juhl Jensen11k

Changed title to be more descriptive

ADD REPLYlink written 9.2 years ago by Lars Juhl Jensen11k

True, I agree, but what should be the preference while selecting one database and not the other.

ADD REPLYlink written 9.2 years ago by Dataminer2.7k
gravatar for Farhat
9.2 years ago by
Pune, India
Farhat2.9k wrote:
  1. defining 'best' is a tricky task, both JASPAR and TRANSFAC are good, though one advantage of JASPAR is that it is open vs. TRANSFAC which is not. The free version of TRANSFAC is quite behind the times.
  2. No. TFBSs can occur far away from the TSS as on enhancers or even in introns (see,
ADD COMMENTlink modified 8 months ago by RamRS27k • written 9.2 years ago by Farhat2.9k
gravatar for Obi Griffith
8.3 years ago by
Obi Griffith18k
Washington University, St Louis, USA
Obi Griffith18k wrote:

This very much depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

TRANSFAC and JASPAR are databases of transcription factor binding models. Using experimental techniques like SELEX and now increasingly ChIP-Seq we can identify the kinds of sequences that a particular transcription factor (TF) has affinity for. This affinity is typically represented with something like a position weight matrix (PWM) or position-specific scoring matrix (PSSM). Those models can be used to scan a genome for "putative TF binding sites" that have a high similarity to the model. Whether those sites are actually bound by a TF and play a functional role in transcription and under what conditions must still be determined experimentally be traditional molecular techniques like promoter bashing, reporter gene assays, ChIP experiments, etc.

Databases like ORegAnno and PAZAR have attempted to collect and curate individual experimentally proven TFBSs from the literature and sets from ChIP-Seq and other genome-wide experiments. Technologies like ChIP-Seq can give us a genome-wide profile of all the binding sites for a particular transcription factor under a specific condition. Many of these TF binding sites (TFBSs) are being deposited into species-specific databases (FlyBase, SGD, etc) and as tracks in the UCSC browser. In particular, see efforts by ENCODE. A good starting point would be to look through the tracks under 'Regulation' in the UCSC Genome Browser for your species of interest.

ADD COMMENTlink written 8.3 years ago by Obi Griffith18k
gravatar for Chris Evelo
9.2 years ago by
Chris Evelo10.0k
Maastricht, The Netherlands
Chris Evelo10.0k wrote:

I just happened to ask how JASPAR compares to Transfac to members of the JASPAR team present at a meeting in Montpellier, I think about 2 years ago. The answer I got was "Transfac (the Pro version) covers more, but our quality is better".

If you mention Transfac Pro I think you should also mention Genomatix. They stem from the same basic Transfac development in Germany. There were two commercial lines started from this project and they both developed upon the original open Transfac. They were in fact early endeavors to see whether government funded investments in databases could be made sustainable through offering commercial services.

Academic users can use most of parts of the Genomatix toolset and database with a free account. Access to (part of?) the commercial content of the Transfac Pro is possible through websites that use it behind the scenes.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 9.2 years ago • written 9.2 years ago by Chris Evelo10.0k
gravatar for Qdjm
8.3 years ago by
Qdjm1.9k wrote:

You might also want to consider the UniPROBE database which contains PSSM models based on protein-binding microarrays (PBMs).

If you are doing your analysis in yeast, you should consider the YeTFaSCo database which is a curated collection of PSSM models for most of the yeast TFs.

Hundreds of transcription factor (TF) binding preferences have already been queried using PBMs, soon thousands will be. JASPAR and TRANSFAC are a bit slow in keeping up with these new data, it may be worth it to keep an eye on the work of Tim Hughes and Martha Bulyk who are the ones actively generating TF binding preference data using PBMs.

ADD COMMENTlink written 8.3 years ago by Qdjm1.9k
gravatar for Maximilian Haeussler
5.8 years ago by
Maximilian Haeussler1.3k wrote:

Just to show that the free version 3.2 of transfac is *really* old: Version 3.2 is from 1997.


ADD COMMENTlink written 5.8 years ago by Maximilian Haeussler1.3k
gravatar for ivan.kulakovskiy
4.1 years ago by
ivan.kulakovskiy10 wrote:

For PSSMs/PWMs of human/mouse TFs you may also try HOCOMOCO (

ADD COMMENTlink written 4.1 years ago by ivan.kulakovskiy10
gravatar for jin
3.6 years ago by
jin80 wrote:

You can access the TF binding sites in Plants at PlantRegMap, which are derived from ChIP-seq and DNase I genomic footprinting.

ADD COMMENTlink written 3.6 years ago by jin80
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