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J Biol Chem. 2005 Mar 4;280(9):7452-9. Epub 2004 Dec 21.

T to C substitution at -175 or -173 of the gamma-globin promoter affects GATA-1 and Oct-1 binding in vitro differently but can independently reproduce the hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin phenotype in transgenic mice.

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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, China.


The T to C substitution at position -175 of the gamma-globin gene has been identified in some individuals with non-deletion hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin (HPFH). In this study, the HPFH phenotype was reestablished in transgenic mice carrying the mu'LCRAgamma(-175)psibetadeltabeta construct, which contained a 3.1-kb mu'LCR cassette linked to a 29-kb fragment from the Agamma-to beta-globin gene with the natural chromosome arrangement but with the -175 mutation, which provided evidence for this single mutation as the cause of this form of HPFH. The HPFH phenotype was also reproduced in transgenic mice carrying the mu'LCRAgamma(-173)psibetadeltabeta construct, in which the -175 T to C Agamma gene was substituted with the -173 T to C Agamma gene. In vitro experiments proved that the -175 mutation significantly reduced binding of Oct-1 but not GATA-1, whereas the -173 mutation dramatically decreased binding of GATA-1 but not Oct-1. These results suggest that abrogation of either GATA-1 or Oct-1 binding to this promoter region may result in the HPFH phenotype. An in vivo footprinting assay revealed that either the -175 mutation or the -173 mutation significantly decreased overall protein binding to this promoter region in adult erythrocytes of transgenic mice. We hypothesize that a multiprotein complex containing GATA-1, Oct-1, and other protein factors may contribute to the formation of a repressive chromatin structure that silences gamma-globin gene expression in normal adult erythrocytes. Both the -173 and -175 T to C substitutions may disrupt the complex assembly and result in the reactivation of the gamma-globin gene in adult erythrocytes.

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