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J Mol Biol. 2007 Feb 23;366(3):737-44. Epub 2006 Dec 6.

Expression of GATA-1 in a non-hematopoietic cell line induces beta-globin locus control region chromatin structure remodeling and an erythroid pattern of gene expression.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH 03756, USA.


GATA-1 is a hematopoietic transcription factor expressed in erythroid, megakaryocytic, mast cell and eosinophil lineages. It is required for normal erythroid differentiation, the expression of erythroid-specific genes and for the establishment of an active chromatin structure throughout the beta-globin gene locus. GATA-1 is also necessary for the formation and function of the locus control region DNase I hypersensitive site (HS) core elements. To determine whether GATA-1 was sufficient to direct formation of the locus control region (LCR) and an erythroid pattern of gene expression, we expressed GATA-1 in the non-hematopoietic HeLa cell line that does not express other hematopoietic transcription factors but does express GATA-2, GATA-3, and GATA-6. We found that production of the GATA-1 protein resulted in the formation of LCR DNase I HSs 1-4 in their normal locations, and that histones became hyperacetylated within these regulatory elements. Transcription of several erythroid-specific genes was activated in HeLa cells expressing GATA-1, including those coding for alpha-globin, beta-globin, the erythropoietin receptor, the erythroid krüpple-like factor and p45 NF-E2. Despite increased expression of these genes at the mRNA level, their protein products were not detected. These results imply that GATA-1 is sufficient to direct chromatin structure reorganization within the beta-globin LCR and an erythroid pattern of gene expression in the absence of other hematopoietic transcription factors.

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