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Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 May;39(9):3505-19. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq1271. Epub 2011 Jan 17.

Ikaros interacts with P-TEFb and cooperates with GATA-1 to enhance transcription elongation.

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Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Center, Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital and Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, 5415 boulevard l'Assomption, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H1T 2M4.


Ikaros is associated with both gene transcriptional activation and repression in lymphocytes. Ikaros acts also as repressor of human γ-globin (huγ-) gene transcription in fetal and adult erythroid cells. Whether and eventually, how Ikaros can function as a transcriptional activator in erythroid cells remains poorly understood. Results presented herein demonstrate that Ikaros is a developmental-specific activator of huγ-gene expression in yolk sac erythroid cells. Molecular analysis in primary cells revealed that Ikaros interacts with Gata-1 and favors Brg1 recruitment to the human β-globin Locus Control Region and the huγ-promoters, supporting long-range chromatin interactions between these regions. Additionally, we demonstrate that Ikaros contributes to transcription initiation and elongation of the huγ-genes, since it is not only required for TBP and RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) assembly at the huγ-promoters but also for conversion of Pol II into the elongation-competent phosphorylated form. In agreement with the latter, we show that Ikaros interacts with Cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (Cdk9), which contributes to efficient transcription elongation by phosphorylating the C-terminal domain of the large subunit of Pol II on Serine 2, and favours Cdk9 recruitment to huγ-promoters. Our results show that Ikaros exerts dual functionality during gene activation, by promoting efficient transcription initiation and elongation.

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