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

The beta-globin stage selector element factor is erythroid-specific promoter/enhancer binding protein NF-E4.

The analysis of transcriptional regulatory proteins is often hampered because such factors are present in cells in only sparing abundance. Although direct biochemical purification has been successfully applied to the analysis of many of these factors, such methods are labor intensive and expensive. We have developed an alternative strategy to identify and characterize such trans-acting factors and have used it to analyze the proteins that interact with the chicken adult beta-globin gene enhancer and promoter. The methodology involves (1) a sensitive 'reverse' radioimmunoassay used for the identification of antibodies to sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins, and (2) a monoclonal antibody-based DNase I footprint selection technique, which unambiguously identifies proteins responsible for particular footprints. Because this methodology relies on the isolation of antibodies to sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins, it should be of general utility in studying any trans-acting regulatory factor for which a specific DNA-binding sequence can be identified. In the present analysis, we report the identification of a 65-kD protein that is present only in mature definitive (adult) chicken erythroid cells. We show that this protein (termed NF-E4) binds to closely related sequences present in both the beta-globin promoter and enhancer. Biochemical analysis of extracts prepared from both nonerythroid and a variety of erythroid cell types suggests that NF-E4 is the trans-acting factor that confers definitive erythrocyte stage-specific transcriptional activation to the adult beta-globin gene.[1]


  1. The beta-globin stage selector element factor is erythroid-specific promoter/enhancer binding protein NF-E4. Gallarda, J.L., Foley, K.P., Yang, Z.Y., Engel, J.D. Genes Dev. (1989) [Pubmed]
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