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Exp Cell Res. 2002 Aug 1;278(1):1-11.

Chromatin structure and transcriptional regulation of the beta-globin locus.

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National Laboratory of Medical Molecular Biology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, 100005, P.R. China.


Chromatin structure plays a critical role in eukaryotic gene transcriptional regulation. The beta-globin locus provides an ideal system within which to study the interplay between chromatin structure and transcriptional regulation. The process of beta-globin locus activation is remarkably intricate and involves at least two distinct events: chromatin opening and gene activation. Great progress has been made in recent years in understanding how locus control regions confer high-level expression to linked genes. Current interest focuses on some special events, including formation of locus control region hypersensitivity sites, ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling, localized H3 hyperacetylation, and intergenic transcription, which link chromatin and beta-globin locus regulation. These events, and their possible molecular bases, are summarized together with speculations concerning their connections.

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