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Blood. 2006 Nov 15;108(10):3590-9. Epub 2006 Aug 8.

Mechanism for fetal hemoglobin induction by histone deacetylase inhibitors involves gamma-globin activation by CREB1 and ATF-2.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.


The histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDA-CIs) butyrate and trichostatin A activate gamma-globin expression via a p38 mitogen-activating protein kinase (MAPK)-dependent mechanism. We hypothesized that down-stream effectors of p38 MAPK, namely activating transcription factor-2 (ATF-2) and cyclic AMP response element (CRE) binding protein (CREB), are intimately involved in fetal hemoglobin induction by these agents. In this study, we observed increased ATF-2 and CREB1 phosphorylation mediated by the HDACIs in K562 cells, in conjunction with histone H4 hyperacetylation. Moreover, enhanced DNA-protein interactions occurred in the CRE in the (G)gamma-globin promoter (G-CRE) in vitro after drug treatments; subsequent chromatin immunoprecipitation assay confirmed ATF-2 and CREB1 binding to the G-CRE in vivo. Enforced expression of ATF-2 and CREB produced (G)gamma-promoter trans-activation which was abolished by a 2-base pair mutation in the putative G-CRE. The data presented herein demonstrate that gamma-gene induction by butyrate and trichostatin A involves ATF-2 and CREB1 activation via p38 MAPK signaling.

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