Gene Expression in Hematopoietic Cells: The β-Globin Gene

  • Beverly M. Emerson
Part of the Progress in Gene Expression book series (PRGE)


Study of the regulation of gene expression in hematopoietic cells has primarily focused on the globin gene families. These genes are very well characterized in terms of their physical arrangement within the genomes of many different species and in their involvement in hemoglobinopathies (see reviews by Bunn and Forget, 1986; Collins and Weissman, 1984; Nienhuis and Maniatis, 1987; Stamatoyannopoulos and Nienhuis, 1987; Weatherall et al, 1989). The β-globin genes are quite interesting from a transcriptional point of view because their expression is highly erythroid specific and individual members of the multigene family are expressed at defined developmental stages. Transcriptional control is regulated primarily by chromatin structure and the availability of multiple, tissue-specific, trans-acting proteins (see review by Evans et al., 1990). Chromatin structural studies have shown that the entire β-globin gene locus is maintained in an “active” nucleosomal conformation throughout erythroid development although the locus is packaged in an “inactive” conformation in nonexpressing cells. Once the chromosomal locus is activated, individual globin genes are differentially regulated by trans-acting factors operating on specific promoters and enhancers that are associated with each gene.


Globin Gene Erythroid Cell Locus Control Region Gata Site Erythroid Development 


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© Birkhäuser Boston 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beverly M. Emerson

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