Difference between Enhancer and Promoter

Enhancers and promoters are gene-regulatory elements. They are stretches of DNA that help in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic transcription. The promoters are known to initiate transcription, and the enhancers increase the level of transcription. Find more such differences between enhancers and promoters in the table below:

Enhancer vs Promoter




Enhancers are short nucleotide sequences that enhance the transcription rate in the genome.

Promoters are fairly large nucleotide sequences that initiate the process of transcription.

Length of the Sequence

50-1500 base pairs long.

100-1000 base pairs long.

Bound by

The enhancers are bound by activator proteins to enhance the level of transcription.

The promoters bind to RNA polymerase and transcription factors to start transcription.


Enhancers can be located anywhere upstream or downstream from the start site.

Promoters are located near the start codon on the transcription site, upstream to the DNA sequence to be transcribed.


It works independently of its orientation.

It works in a specific orientation.


It boosts the rate of transcription.

It determines the direction of transcription.

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Frequently Asked Questions


Are enhancers in the promoter?

No, the enhancers do not act in the promoter region, but they help in the recruitment of transcription factors which enhances the rate of transcription.


Is the TATA box a promoter?

The TATA box is a conserved sequence of 25-35 base pairs in the promoter region that specifies other molecules about the beginning of transcription.


Does every gene have an enhancer and a promoter?

Every gene has a promoter region; it is the site of binding of all the transcription machinery. Enhancers are present at a distance to the promoter regions and are found in all the genes.


How are promoters and enhancers similar?

Following are the points of similarities between promoters and enhancers:

  • Both are gene-regulatory elements.
  • They occur in both promoters and enhancers.
  • They both bind to transcription factors.
  • Both are nucleotide sequences.


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