Silencing and activation of embryonic globin gene expression

Gordon D. Ginder, Rakesh Singal, Jane A. Little, Nancy Dempsey, Richard Ferris, Shou Zhen Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


An understanding of the mechanisms that control developmental stage-specific transcription of globin genes offers the promise of successful therapeutic activation of fetal or embryonic β-type genes in β-thalassemia syndromes. A large body of evidence supports the notion of conservation of such mechanisms across vertebrate species and validates the use of pre-clinical studies of silencing and activation of fetal or embryonic globin genes in animals. Using globin gene transfections into primary avian erythroid cells and cultured murine erythroleukemia cells, we have studied mechanisms involved in stage-specific embryonic β-type globin gene silencing and activation. These studies show that 1) methylation of the exact CpG nucleotides that are methylated in normal adult erythroid cells in vivo is capable of blocking transcription of a transfected embryonic globin gene promoter via binding of a methyl DNA binding protein in primary erythroid cells. 2) Activation of embryonic β-type globin gene transcription in adult erythroid cells by short chain fatty acids is mediated through specific DNA sequences both in the promoter and downstream of the promoter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-79
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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