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EMBO J. 1995 Feb 15;14(4):801-9.

GATA1 and YY1 are developmental repressors of the human epsilon-globin gene.

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INSERM U91, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Créteil, France.


The human epsilon-globin gene is transcribed in erythroid cells only during the embryonic stages of development. Expression of epsilon-globin gene, however, can be maintained in adult transgenic mice following removal of DNA positioned between -467 and -182 bp upstream of the epsilon-globin cap site. We have identified three protein binding regions within this silencer; a CCACC motif around -379, two overlapping motifs for YY1 and GATA around -269 and a GATA motif around -208 and we have analyzed their function during development by studying several mutants in transgenic mice. Mutation of the -208 GATA motif allows high epsilon-globin transgene expression in the adult suggesting that, in addition to its positive effects on transcription, GATA-1 also plays a negative role in the regulation of globin gene expression during development. Repression of epsilon gene expression in the adult also requires a functional YY1 binding site at position -269. Finally, mutation of the -379 CCACC site results in a small but detectable level of epsilon expression in adult erythroid cells. Thus, multiple proteins, including GATA-1, participate in the formation of the epsilon gene repressor complex that may disrupt the interaction between the proximal epsilon-promoter and the locus control region (LCR) in definitive erythroid cells.

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