The expression pattern of regulated genes changes dynamically depending on the developmental stage and the differentiation state of the cell. Transcription factors regulate cellular events at the gene expression level by communicating signals to the general transcription machinery that forms a preinitiation complex (PIC) at class II core promoters. Recent data strongly suggest that PICs are composed of different sets of factors at distinct promoters, reflecting the spatiotemporal profile of gene expression in multicellular organisms. Thus, today it is important to ask the question: how universal are the promoter recognition factors? This review will focus on findings that support the new idea that core promoter recognition by distinct factors is an additional level of transcriptional regulation and that this step is developmentally regulated.