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J Biol Chem. 2000 Sep 15;275(37):28549-54.

A minimal ankyrin promoter linked to a human gamma-globin gene demonstrates erythroid specific copy number dependent expression with minimal position or enhancer dependence in transgenic mice.

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Hematopoiesis Section, Genetics and Molecular Biology Branch, NHGRI, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


In red blood cells ankyrin (ANK-1) provides the primary linkage between the erythrocyte membrane skeleton and the plasma membrane. We have previously demonstrated that a 271-bp 5'-flanking region of the ANK-1 gene has promoter activity in erythroid, but not non-erythroid, cell lines. To determine whether the ankyrin promoter could direct erythroid-specific expression in vivo, we analyzed transgenic mice containing the ankyrin promoter fused to the human (A)gamma-globin gene. Sixteen of 17 lines expressed the transgene in erythroid cells indicating nearly position-independent expression. We also observed a significant correlation between the level of Ank/(A)gamma-globin mRNA and transgene copy number. The level of Ank/(A)gamma mRNA averaged 11% of mouse alpha-globin mRNA per gene copy at all developmental stages. The addition of the HS2 enhancer from the beta-globin locus control region to the Ank/(A)gamma-globin transgene resulted in Ank/(A)gamma-globin mRNA expression in embryonic and fetal erythroid cells in six of eight lines but resulted in absent or dramatically reduced levels of Ank/(A)gamma-globin mRNA in adult erythroid cells in eight of eight transgenic lines. These data indicate that the minimal ankyrin promoter contains all sequences necessary and sufficient for erythroid-specific, copy number-dependent, position-independent expression of the human (A)gamma-globin gene.

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