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When we say trans we mean that a diffusible factor, or agent is involved. So a molecule synthesized at one location, that can have a regulatory role in another location in the cell is said to be a "trans-acting" factor. When we say cis we mean physically linked to, in such a way that the biological regulation only affects other molecules that are attached ...


General transcriptional factor complexes bind to DNA at promoters of genes via DNA binding proteins such as TATA-binding protein. It is quite clear that it is trans-acting.

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