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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Dec 8;95(25):14886-90.

Transgenic knockout mice exclusively expressing human hemoglobin S after transfer of a 240-kb betas-globin yeast artificial chromosome: A mouse model of sickle cell anemia.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0793, USA.


Sickle cell anemia (SCA) and thalassemia are among the most common genetic diseases worldwide. Current approaches to the development of murine models of SCA involve the elimination of functional murine alpha- and beta-globin genes and substitution with human alpha and betas transgenes. Recently, two groups have produced mice that exclusively express human HbS. The transgenic lines used in these studies were produced by coinjection of human alpha-, gamma-, and beta-globin constructs. Thus, all of the transgenes are integrated at a single chromosomal site. Studies in transgenic mice have demonstrated that the normal gene order and spatial organization of the members of the human beta-globin gene family are required for appropriate developmental and stage-restricted expression of the genes. As the cis-acting sequences that participate in activation and silencing of the gamma- and beta-globin genes are not fully defined, murine models that preserve the normal structure of the locus are likely to have significant advantages for validating future therapies for SCA. To produce a model of SCA that recapitulates not only the phenotype, but also the genotype of patients with SCA, we have generated mice that exclusively express HbS after transfer of a 240-kb betas yeast artificial chromosome. These mice have hemolytic anemia, 10% irreversibly sickled cells in their peripheral blood, reticulocytosis, and other phenotypic features of SCA.

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