Despite their descent from a common ancestral gene and the requirement for coordinated, tissue-specific regulation, the α- and β-globin genes in many mammals are regulated in distinctly different ways. Unlike the β-globin gene, the rabbit α-globin gene is transiently expressed at a high level without an added enhancer in transfected erythroid and non-erythroid cells. By examining a series of α/β fusion genes, we show that internal sequences of the rabbit α-globin gene (within the first two exons and introns) are required along with the 5' flank for this enhancer-independent expression. Furthermore, deletion of the introns of the α-globin gene, or replacement by introns of the β-globin gene, results in severely decreased expression of the transfecting genes. Hybrid constructs between segments of the α-globin gene and a luciferase gene confirm that internal α-globin sequences are needed for high level production of RNA in transfected cells. The flanking and internal sequences implicated in regulation of the rabbit α-globin gene coincide with a prominent CpG-rich island and may comprise an extended promoter (including both flanking and intragenic sequences) that is active in transfected cells without an enhancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology