Molecules and Cells

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 1-5

First online:

Chromatin loop formation in the β-globin locus and its role in globin gene transcription

  • AeRi KimAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular Biology, College of Natural Sciences, Pusan National University
  • , Ann DeanAffiliated withLaboratory of Cellular and Developmental Biology, NIDDK, NIH Email author 

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Although linearly distant along mouse chromosome 7 and human chromosome 11, the mammalian β-globin gene is located in close proximity to the upstream locus control region enhancer when it is actively transcribed in the nuclear chromatin environment of erythroid cells. This organization is thought to generate a chromatin loop between the LCR, a powerful enhancer, and active globin genes by extruding intervening regions containing inactive genes. Loop formation in the β-globin locus requires erythroid specific transcriptional activators, co-factors and insulator-related factors. Chromatin structural features such as histone modifications and DNase I hypersensitive site formation as well as nuclear localization are all involved in loop formation in the locus through diverse mechanisms. Current models envision the formation of the loop as a necessary step in globin gene transcription activation, but this has not been definitively established and many questions remain about what is necessary to achieve globin gene transcription activation.


β-globin locus chromatin loops LCR transcription