High levels of human gamma-globin gene expression in adult mice carrying a transgene of deletion-type hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin.
Persistent expression of the gamma-globin genes in adults with deletion types of hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin (HPFH) is thought to be mediated by enhancer-like effects of DNA sequences at the 3' breakpoints of the deletions. A transgenic mouse model of deletion-type HPFH was generated by using a DNA fragment containing both human gamma-globin genes and HPFH-2 breakpoint DNA sequences linked to the core sequences of the locus control region (LCR) of the human beta-globin gene cluster. Analysis of gamma-globin expression in six HPFH transgenic lines demonstrated persistence of gamma-globin mRNA and peptides in erythrocytes of adult HPFH transgenic mice. Analysis of the hemoglobin phenotype of adult HPFH transgenic animals by isoelectric focusing showed the presence of hybrid mouse alpha2-human gamma2 tetramers as well as human gamma4 homotetramers (hemoglobin Bart's). In contrast, correct developmental regulation of the gamma-globin genes with essentially absent gamma-globin gene expression in adult erythroid cells was observed in two control non-HPFH transgenic lines, consistent with autonomous silencing of normal human gamma-globin expression in adult transgenic mice. Interestingly, marked preferential overexpression of the LCR-distal (A)gamma-globin gene but not of the LCR-proximal (G)gamma-globin gene was observed at all developmental stages in erythroid cells of HPFH-2 transgenic mice. These findings were also associated with the formation of a DNase I-hypersensitive site in the HPFH-2 breakpoint DNA of transgenic murine erythroid cells, as occurs in normal human erythroid cells in vivo. These results indicate that breakpoint DNA sequences in deletion-type HPFH-2 can modify the developmentally regulated expression of the gamma-globin genes.
Arcasoy, MO; Romana, M; Fabry, ME; Skarpidi, E; Nagel, RL; Forget, BG
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