Binding of the Krüppel-like Factor 1 (KLF1) to the β-globin gene promoter is required for developmental stage-specific chromatin remodeling and transcriptional initiation. Interaction with a long-range enhancer, the Locus Control Region (LCR) is also required for maximal gene expression. KLF1 binds the LCR, and has been described recently as a facilitator of the proximal clustering of the LCR with the β-globin gene promoter region. To elucidate the role(s) of KLF1 at the LCR and their relationship to β-globin gene activation, we evaluated KLF1-directed events across the β-globin locus using a 4-OH-Tamoxifen KLF-1 inducible erythroid cell line. KLF1 binding was maximal 1 hour post-induction at the LCR, whereas 2 hours elapsed prior to maximal occupancy at the β-globin promoter. The site-specific differential in factor occupancy is consistent with the notion that the LCR serves as a nucleating docking element for sequence-specific transcription factors as well as the RNA Pol-II complex. LCR occupancy by Pol-II, p45 NF-E2, GATA-1 and the SCL/LMO2/Ldb1 complex was KLF1-independent. In contrast, the occupancy of the β-globin promoter by Pol-II and erythroid-restricted factors was dependent on maximal KLF-1 binding. Interestingly, the SCL/LMO2/Ldb1 complex was recruited first, consistent with the idea that this complex is required for LCR/promoter interaction. Interestingly, we have identified a direct protein-protein interaction between the carboxy terminal (aa221–396) domain of KLF1 (Δ221KLF1) and Ldb1, the factor implicated as critical for distal regulatory loci interactions at the β-globin locus. To dissect these events in vivo, we took advantage of a novel KLF1 knock-in strain (Δ221KLF1). In these animals, the endogenous KLF1 gene is replaced with a carboxy-terminal domain (aa221–396) expression cassette, resulting in DNA binding of the mutant factor, with β-globin chromatin remodeling. However, Δ221KLF1 fetal liver erythroblasts fail to activate the KLF1-dependent gene network, and have the identical differentiation defect characteristic of KLF1-null erythroblasts. Chromatin remodeling at the β-globin failed to result in recruitment of GATA-1, NF-E2, or the SCL/LMO2/Ldb1 complex. In contrast, ChIP analyses of the LCR in Δ221KLF1 erythroblasts revealed rescue of RNA Pol-II, GATA-1 and the SCL/LMO2/Ldb1 complex occupancy to wild type levels. Structural studies, utilizing the chromosome conformation capture (3C) assay, revealed that an incomplete re-configuration of the locus in Δ221 KLF1 mice. In conclusion, the chromatin remodeling domain of KLF1 is sufficient to reconfigure the LCR. However, KLF1-dependent Ldb1 recruitment at the LCR is insufficient to promote adequate communication between the two regulatory elements of the β-globin gene. Preliminary data suggest that an adjacent domain (aa163–221) is sufficient to rescue β-globin transcription in vivo. Together, these domains (aa163–396) are sufficient to promote the appropriate loading of transcription factors at the β-globin promoter in conjunction with locus structural re-configuration.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.