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

Dynamic posttranscriptional regulation of {epsilon}-globin gene expression in vivo.

Functional studies of embryonic epsilon-globin indicate that individuals with beta thalassemia or sickle cell disease are likely to benefit from therapeutic, transcriptional derepression of its encoding gene. The success of epsilon-globin gene-reactivation strategies, however, will be tempered by the stability that epsilon-globin mRNA exhibits in developmental stage-discordant definitive erythroid progenitors. Using cell culture and transgenic mouse model systems, we demonstrate that epsilon-globin mRNA is modestly unstable in immature, transcriptionally active erythroid cells, but that this characteristic has relatively little impact on the accumulation of epsilon-globin mRNA at subsequent stages of terminal differentiation. Importantly, the constitutive stability of epsilon-globin mRNA increases in transgenic mouse models of beta thalassemia, suggesting that epsilon- and beta-globin mRNAs are coregulated through a shared posttranscriptional mechanism. As anticipated, relevant cis-acting determinants of epsilon-globin mRNA stability map to its 3' UTR, consistent with the positioning of functionally related elements in other globin mRNAs. These studies demonstrate that posttranscriptional processes do not pose a significant practical barrier to epsilon-globin gene reactivation and, moreover, indicate that related therapeutic strategies may be particularly effective in individuals carrying beta-thalassemic gene defects.[1]


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