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Blood. 1988 Aug;72(2):636-41.

Molecular characterization of a beta zero-thalassemia resulting from a 1.4 kilobase deletion.

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Department of Biochemistry, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.


We report the characterization of a beta zero-thalassemia in an American Black with unusually high HbA2 and HbF levels. Genomic southern analysis indicated that the individual was heterozygous for a deletion that began within the second intervening sequence of the beta-globin gene and extended approximately 1.4 kb in the 5' direction. A clone spanning the breakpoint on the abnormal chromosome was isolated and further mapped, and the deletion joint was sequenced. Comparison of the normal beta-globin gene and its 5' flanking region with the deletion joint sequence indicated that the 5' breakpoint for this deletion was 484 base pairs (bp) 5' to the transcriptional start site for the beta-globin gene and the 3' breakpoint was 908 bp into the beta-globin gene; the deletion removed a total of 1,393 bp. Comparison of the normal 5' and 3' breakpoint sequences indicated that this deletion was the result of a "clean" nonhomologous breakage and reunion event; ie, no spurious bases were added during the recombinational event. Analysis of the breakpoints of this deletion together with the breakpoints of two other small deletions involving the beta-globin gene suggests that the breakpoints may occur at DNA polymerase alpha pause sites.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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