Abstract

Hereditary Persistence of Fetal Hemoglobin is a rare, heterogeneous and benign group of hereditary disorders with an abnormal switch from fetal to adult hemoglobin, resulting in high levels of Hb F in the adult stage. A total of six deletions related to HPFH have been described, associated with increased levels of both gamma chains. Three main hypotheses have been proposed to explain the relationship between these deletions and the non-suppression of gamma genes: the removal of competitive regions that interact with the LCR; the juxtaposition of enhancer elements; and the removal of silencers. Despite evidence to support these hypotheses, however, they are not conclusive. Recently, Xiang and cols (Abstract #1215, 2004 ASH Meeting; Blood, Volume 104, issue 11, November 16, 2004) developed a YAC construct with the whole beta-globin locus containing a deletion of approximately 83.5 Kb responsible for the HPFH-2. Unexpectedly, the gamma gene was completely silenced in the adult transgenic mice. These data suggest that other mechanisms could be involved in the increased levels of HbF in these conditions. The authors speculate that other regions upstream from the cluster may harbor this activity. We, herein, investigate the possible involvement of transcription factors, using the subtractive hybridization method to identify differentially expressed transcripts in reticulocytes from a normal subject and a HPFH-2 subject. We have identified 56 and 106 unique genes in the normal and HPFH-2 cDNA libraries, respectively. Some of these are transcription (zinc fingers and homeobox proteins) and chromatin remodeling (NAP and SWI like proteins) factors that could participate in globin gene regulation. These genes are located in cis or in trans to the deletion and their altered gene expression has been confirmed by Quantitative Real-time PCR in other two HPFH subjects. The data may present new clues about globin gene regulation, the increased expression of gamma gene in deletional HPFH and the dynamic organization of genes and chromosomes in cells.

Author notes

Corresponding author