Erythroid-specific nuclease-hypersensitive sites flanking the human β-globin domain

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Recent evidence suggests that DNA sequences from the region lying 5' of the human ε-globin gene are important for erythroid-specific expression of human β-like globin genes. This region, as well as a region 20 kilobases (kb) downstream from the β-globin gene, contains a set of developmentally stable, DNase I-superhypersensitive sites that are thought to reflect a chromatin structure supporting active globin gene expression. We have analyzed the chromatin structure in these two regions in a wide variety of nonerythroid and erythroid cells. The study included analysis of chromatin structure changes occurring during globin gene activation in mouse erythroleukemia-human nonerythroid cell hybrids. The results identified a hypersensitive site (III) 14.8 kb upstream of the ε-globin gene that was strictly correlated with active globin gene transcription. Interestingly, a multipotent human embryonal carcinoma cell line exhibited a hypersensitive site (IV) 18.4 kb upstream of ε-globin that was absent in all other nonerythroid cells examined, suggesting that chromatin structure changes at specific hypersensitive sites during embryonic development may also be important in globin gene repression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4324-4333
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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