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Genes Dev. 2006 Jun 1;20(11):1447-57. Epub 2006 May 16.

The locus control region is required for association of the murine beta-globin locus with engaged transcription factories during erythroid maturation.

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Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, Washington 98109, USA.


We have examined the relationship between nuclear localization and transcriptional activity of the endogenous murine beta-globin locus during erythroid differentiation. Murine fetal liver cells were separated into distinct erythroid maturation stages by fluorescence-activated cell sorting, and the nuclear position of the locus was determined at each stage. We find that the beta-globin locus progressively moves away from the nuclear periphery with increasing maturation. Contrary to the prevailing notion that the nuclear periphery is a repressive compartment in mammalian cells, beta(major)-globin expression begins at the nuclear periphery prior to relocalization. However, relocation of the locus to the nuclear interior with maturation is accompanied by an increase in beta(major)-globin transcription. The distribution of nuclear polymerase II (Pol II) foci also changes with erythroid differentiation: Transcription factories decrease in number and contract toward the nuclear interior. Moreover, both efficient relocalization of the beta-globin locus from the periphery and its association with hyperphosphorylated Pol II transcription factories require the locus control region (LCR). These results suggest that the LCR-dependent association of the beta-globin locus with transcriptionally engaged Pol II foci provides the driving force for relocalization of the locus toward the nuclear interior during erythroid maturation.

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