Mammalian β-globin loci contain multiple genes that are activated at different developmental stages. Studies have suggested that the transcription of one gene in a locus can influence the expression of the other locus genes. The prevalent model to explain this transcriptional interference is that all potentially active genes compete for locus control region (LCR) activity. To investigate the influence of transcription by the murine embryonic genes on transcription of the other β-like genes, we generated mice with deletions of the promoter regions of Ey and βh1 and measured transcription of the remaining genes. Deletion of the Ey and βh1 promoters increased transcription of βmajor and βminor 2-fold to 3-fold during primitive erythropoiesis. Deletion of Ey did not affect βh1 nor did deletion of βh1 affect Ey, but Ey deletion uniquely activated transcription from βh0, a β-like globin gene immediately downstream of Ey. Protein analysis showed that βh0 encodes a translatable β-like globin protein that can pair with alpha globin. The lack of transcriptional interference between Ey and βh1 and the gene-specific repression of βh0 did not support LCR competition among the embryonic genes and suggested that direct transcriptional interference from Ey suppressed βh0.
ASJC Scopus subject areas