Role of upstream DNase I hypersensitive sites in the regulation of human alpha globin gene expression.
Sharpe JA., Summerhill RJ., Vyas P., Gourdon G., Higgs DR., Wood WG.
Erythroid-specific DNase 1 hypersensitive sites have been identified at the promoters of the human alpha-like genes and within the region from 4 to 40 kb upstream of the gene cluster. One of these sites, HS-40, has been shown previously to be the major regulator of tissue-specific alpha-globin gene expression. We have now examined the function of other hypersensitive sites by studying the expression in mouse erythroleukemia (MEL) cells of various fragments containing these sites attached to HS-40 and an alpha-globin gene. High level expression of the alpha gene was observed in all cases. When clones of MEL cells bearing a single copy of the alpha-globin gene fragments were examined, expression levels were similar to those of the endogenous mouse alpha genes and similar to MEL cells bearing beta gene constructs under the control of the beta-globin locus control region. However, there was no evidence that the additional hypersensitive sites increased the level of expression or conferred copy number dependence on the expression of a linked alpha gene in MEL cells.