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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Changes in chromatin organization at the neutrophil elastase locus associated with myeloid cell differentiation.

Neutrophil elastase, proteinase-3, and azurocidin are primary components of neutrophil azurophilic granules and are encoded by closely linked genes (gene symbols ELA2, PRTN3, and AZU1, respectively) in a region of approximately 50 kb. These genes are coordinately expressed in a granulocyte-specific fashion, but the mechanisms defining this pattern of expression are unknown. To understand the role of chromatin organization in governing the expression of ELA2, PRTN3, and AZU1, we mapped this region of chromosome 19 and identified the adipsin (complement factor D) gene in proximity to the 3' end of ELA2. We then examined the changes in chromatin structure at the locus which accompany myeloid cell differentiation and identified 17 DNase I hypersensitive sites ( DHS 1 to 17) in U-937 cells, an early myelomonocytic cell line expressing high levels of neutrophil elastase. Chemically induced differentiation and concomitant downregulation of AZU1, PRTN3, and ELA2 transcription in U-937 cells is not accompanied by changes in the DHS-pattern. Mature neutrophils, however, do not carry any of these hypersensitive sites, indicating a large degree of chromatin remodeling at this locus accompanying terminal granulocytic differentiation. Sixteen of the 17 DHS identified in U-937 cells are also present in the HL-60 myelomonocytic cell line. Hematopoietic cell lines representing the early erythroid and lymphocyte lineages, and a nonhematopoietic cell line display a subset of the hypersensitive sites. The altered chromatin structure specific to cells that actively transcribe the AZU1-PRTN3-ELA2 genes suggests that chromatin reorganization is an important mechanism regulating the myeloid-specific transcription of this gene cluster.[1]


  1. Changes in chromatin organization at the neutrophil elastase locus associated with myeloid cell differentiation. Wong, E.T., Jenne, D.E., Zimmer, M., Porter, S.D., Gilks, C.B. Blood (1999) [Pubmed]
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