Developmental regulation of globin gene expression may be controlled by developmental stage-specific nuclear proteins that influence interactions between the locus control region and local regulatory sequences near individual globin genes. We previously isolated an 87-kD nuclear protein from K562 cells that bound to DNA sequences in the beta- globin locus control region, gamma-globin promoter, and A gamma-globin enhancer. The presence of this protein in fetal globin-expressing cells and its absence in adult globin-expressing cells suggested that it may be a developmental stage-specific factor. A lambda gt11 K562 cDNA clone encoding a portion of the HOXB2 (formerly HOX2H) homeobox gene was isolated on the basis of the ability of its beta-galactosidase fusion protein to bind to the same DNA sequences as the 87-kD K562 protein. Because no other relationship had been established between the 87-kD K562 protein and the HOXB2 protein other than their ability to bind ot the same DNA sequences, we have investigated whether the two proteins are related antigenically. Our data show that antisera produced against the HOXB2-beta-gal fusion protein and a synthetic HOXB2 decapeptide react specifically with an 87-kD protein from K562 nuclear extract, showing that the 87-kD K562 nuclear protein is a product of the HOXB2 locus, and is the first demonstration of cellular HOXB2 protein.

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