DNA binding sites are a type of binding site found in DNA where other molecules may bind. DNA binding sites are distinct from other binding sites in that (1) they are part of a DNA sequence (e.g. a genome) and (2) they are bound by DNA-binding proteins. DNA binding sites are often associated with specialized proteins known as transcription factors, and are thus linked to transcriptional regulation. The sum of DNA binding sites of a specific transcription factor is referred to as its cistrome. DNA binding sites also encompasses the targets of other proteins, like restriction enzymes, site-specific recombinases (see site-specific recombination) and methyltransferases.
DNA binding sites can be thus defined as short DNA sequences (typically 4 to 30 base pairs long, but up to 200 bp for recombination sites) that are specifically bound by one or more DNA-binding proteins or protein complexes.