The analysis of a number of cases of beta-globin thalassemia and hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin (HPFH) due to large deletions in the beta-globin locus has led to the identification of several DNA elements that have been implicated in the switch from human fetal gamma- to adult beta-globin gene expression. We have tested this hypothesis for an element that covers the minimal distance between the thalassemia and HPFH deletions and is thought to be responsible for the difference between a deletion HPFH and deltabeta-thalassemia, located 5' of the delta-globin gene. This element has been deleted from a yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) containing the complete human beta-globin locus. Analysis of this modified YAC in transgenic mice shows that early embryonic expression is unaffected, but in the fetal liver it is subject to position effects. In addition, the efficiency of transcription of the beta-globin gene is decreased, but the developmental silencing of the gamma-globin genes is unaffected by the deletion. These results show that the deleted element is involved in the activation of the beta-globin gene perhaps through the loss of a structural function required for gene activation by long-range interactions.

*Gene Deletion, Animals, Chromosomes, Artificial, Yeast/genetics, Deoxyribonuclease I/metabolism, Embryonic and Fetal Development, Fetal Hemoglobin/*genetics, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental/genetics, Globins/*genetics, Humans, In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence, Liver/embryology, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Microscopy, Fluorescence, RNA, Messenger/metabolism, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Thalassemia/*genetics
dx.doi.org/10.1093/emboj/18.4.949, hdl.handle.net/1765/12807
EMBO Journal
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Calzolari, R, McMorrow, T, Yannoutsos, N, Langeveld, A, & Grosveld, F.G. (1999). Deletion of a region that is a candidate for the difference between the deletion forms of hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin and deltabeta-thalassemia affects beta- but not gamma-globin gene expression. EMBO Journal, 18(4), 949–958. doi:10.1093/emboj/18.4.949