CpG hypomethylation in a large domain encompassing the embryonic beta-like globin genes in primitive erythrocytes.
ABSTRACT: There is little evidence addressing the role of CpG methylation in transcriptional control of genes that do not contain CpG islands. This is reflected in the ongoing debate about whether CpG methylation merely suppresses retroelements or if it also plays a role in developmental and tissue-specific gene regulation. The genes of the beta-globin locus are an important model of mammalian developmental gene regulation and do not contain CpG islands. We have analyzed the methylation status of regions in the murine beta-like globin locus in uncultured primitive and definitive erythroblasts and other cultured primary and transformed cell types. A large ( approximately 20-kb) domain is hypomethylated only in primitive erythroid cells; it extends from the region just past the locus control region to before beta-major and encompasses the embryonic genes Ey, beta h1, and beta h0. Even retrotransposons in this region are hypomethylated in primitive erythroid cells. The existence of this large developmentally regulated domain of hypomethylation supports a mechanistic role for DNA methylation in developmental regulation of globin genes.
Project description:DNA methylation has long been implicated in developmental beta-globin gene regulation. However, the mechanism underlying this regulation is unclear, especially because these genes do not contain CpG islands. This has led us to propose and test the hypothesis that, just as for histone modifications, developmentally specific changes in human beta-like globin gene expression are associated with long-range changes in DNA methylation.Bisulfite sequencing was used to determine the methylation state of individual CpG dinucleotides across the beta-globin locus in uncultured primary human erythroblasts from fetal liver and bone marrow, and in primitive-like erythroid cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.beta-globin locus CpGs are generally highly methylated, but domains of DNA hypomethylation spanning thousands of base pairs are established around the most highly expressed genes during each developmental stage. These large domains of DNA hypomethylation are found within domains of histone modifications associated with gene expression. We also find hypomethylation of a small proportion of gamma-globin promoters in adult erythroid cells, suggesting a mechanism by which adult erythroid cells produce fetal hemoglobin.This is one of the first reports to show that changes in DNA methylation patterns across large domains around non-CpG island genes correspond with changes in developmentally regulated histone modifications and gene expression. These data support a new model in which extended domains of DNA hypomethylation and active histone marks are coordinately established to achieve developmentally specific gene expression of non-CpG island genes.
Project description:In primitive erythroid cells of human beta-globin locus transgenic mice (TgM), the locus control region (LCR)-proximal epsilon- and gamma-globin genes are transcribed, whereas the distal delta- and beta-globin genes are silent. It is generally accepted that the beta-globin gene is competitively suppressed by gamma-globin gene expression at this developmental stage. Previously, however, we observed that epsilon-globin gene expression was severely attenuated when its distance from the LCR was extended, implying that beta-globin gene might also be silenced because of its great distance from the LCR. Here, to clarify the beta-globin gene silencing mechanism, we established TgM lines carrying either gamma- or epsilon- plus gamma-globin promoter deletions, without significantly altering the distance between the beta-globin gene and the LCR. Precocious expression of delta- and beta-globin genes was observed in primitive erythroid cells of mutant, but not wild-type TgM, which was most evident when both the epsilon and gamma promoters were deleted. Thus, we clearly demonstrated that the repression of the delta- and beta-globin genes in primitive erythroid cells is dominated by competitive silencing by the epsilon- and gamma-globin gene promoters, and that epsilon- and the other beta-like globin genes might be activated by two distinct mechanisms by the LCR.
Project description:We linked a 3.3-kilobase fragment containing the entire A gamma-globin gene together with 1.3 kilobases of 5' flanking and 0.37 kilobase of 3' flanking DNA to a 2.5-kilobase fragment containing four of the developmentally stable hypersensitive sites normally located in the 5' region of the human beta-globin locus. This construct was injected into fertilized mouse eggs, and its expression was analyzed in the primitive and definitive erythroid cells, as well as the brain of 14-day embryos. All six transgenic individuals that contained intact copies of the construct expressed the transgene in an erythroid-specific fashion. Expression was observed in both primitive and definitive erythroid cells. This is in marked contrast to previous transgenic mice experiments using the same A gamma-globin gene fragment in isolation, where expression was restricted to primitive erythroid cells. Our results show that the region containing the developmentally stable globin locus hypersensitive sites changes the developmental stage specificity of a human fetal globin gene in transgenic mice. These observations imply that sequences additional to those used here are involved in the developmental control of fetal globin gene expression in vivo. The ability to express fetal globin in adult erythroid cells allows one to consider using fetal globin genes for gene therapy of sickle cell disease.
Project description:Although much is known about globin gene activation in erythroid cells, relatively little is known about how these genes are silenced in nonerythroid tissues. Here we show that the human alpha- and beta-globin genes are silenced by fundamentally different mechanisms. The alpha-genes, which are surrounded by widely expressed genes in a gene dense region of the genome, are silenced very early in development via recruitment of the Polycomb (PcG) complex. By contrast, the beta-globin genes, which lie in a relatively gene-poor chromosomal region, are not bound by this complex in nonerythroid cells. The PcG complex seems to be recruited to the alpha-cluster by sequences within the CpG islands associated with their promoters; the beta-globin promoters do not lie within such islands. Chromatin associated with the alpha-globin cluster is modified by histone methylation (H3K27me3), and silencing in vivo is mediated by the localized activity of histone deacetylases (HDACs). The repressive (PcG/HDAC) machinery is removed as hematopoietic progenitors differentiate to form erythroid cells. The alpha- and beta-globin genes thus illustrate important, contrasting mechanisms by which cell-specific hematopoietic genes (and tissue-specific genes in general) may be silenced.
Project description:Expression of the five beta-like globin genes (epsilon, Ggamma, Agamma, delta, beta) in the human beta-globin locus depends on enhancement by the locus control region, which consists of five DNase I hypersensitive sites (5'HS1 through 5'HS5). We report here a novel enhancer activity in 5'HS1 that appears to be potent in transfected K562 cells. Deletion analyses identified a core activating element that bound to GATA-1, and a two-nucleotide mutation that disrupted GATA-1 binding in vitro abrogated 5'HS1 enhancer activity in transfection experiments. To determine the in vivo role of this GATA site, we generated multiple lines of human beta-globin YAC transgenic mice bearing the same two-nucleotide mutation. In the mutant mice, epsilon-, but not gamma-globin, gene expression in primitive erythroid cells was severely attenuated, while adult beta-globin gene expression in definitive erythroid cells was unaffected. Interestingly, DNaseI hypersensitivity near the 5'HS1 mutant sequence was eliminated in definitive erythroid cells, whereas it was only mildly affected in primitive erythroid cells. We therefore conclude that, although the GATA site in 5'HS1 is critical for efficient epsilon-globin gene expression, hypersensitive site formation per se is independent of 5'HS1 function, if any, in definitive erythroid cells.
Project description:The mammalian beta-globin loci each contain a family of developmentally expressed genes, and a far upstream regulatory element, the locus control region (LCR). In adult murine erythroid cells, the LCR and the transcribed beta-globin genes exist within domains of histone acetylation and RNA polymerase II (pol II) is associated with them. In contrast, the silent embryonic genes lie between these domains within hypoacetylated chromatin, and pol II is not found there. We used chromatin immunoprecipitation and real-time PCR to analyze histone modification and pol II recruitment to the globin locus in human erythroid K562 cells that express the embryonic epsilon-globin gene but not the adult beta-globin gene. H3 and H4 acetylation and H3 K4 methylation were continuous over a 17-kb region including the LCR and the active epsilon-globin gene. The level of modification varied directly with the transcription of the epsilon-globin gene. In contrast, this region in nonerythroid HeLa cells lacked these modifications and displayed instead widespread H3 K9 methylation. pol II was also detected continuously from the LCR to the epsilon-globin gene. These studies reveal several aspects of chromatin structure and pol II distribution that distinguish the globin locus at embryonic and adult stages and suggest that both enhancer looping and tracking mechanisms may contribute to LCR-promoter communication at different developmental stages.
Project description:Expression patterns in the globin gene cluster are subject to developmental regulation in vivo. While the gamma(A) and gamma(G) genes are expressed in fetal liver, both are silenced in adult erythrocytes. In order to decipher the role of DNA methylation in this process, we generated a YAC transgenic mouse system that allowed us to control gamma(A) methylation during development. DNA methylation causes a 20-fold repression of gamma(A) both in non-erythroid and adult erythroid cells. In erythroid cells this modification works as a dominant mechanism to repress gamma gene expression, probably through changes in histone acetylation that prevent the binding of erythroid transcription factors to the promoter. These studies demonstrate that DNA methylation serves as an elegant in vivo fine-tuning device for selecting appropriate genes in the globin locus. In addition, our findings provide a mechanism for understanding the high levels of gamma-globin transcription seen in patients with Hereditary Persistence of Fetal Hemoglobin, and help explain why 5azaC and butyrate compounds stimulate gamma-globin expression in patients with beta-hemoglobinopathies.
Project description:Hypersensitive site 5 (5'HS5) of the beta-globin Locus Control Region functions as a developmental stage-specific border in erythroid cells. Here, we have analyzed the role of 5'HS5 in the three dimensional organization of the beta-gene locus using the Chromatin Conformation Capture (3C) technique. The results show that when 5'HS5 is deleted from the locus, both remote and internal regulatory elements are still able to interact with each other in a three-dimensional configuration termed the Active Chromatin Hub. Thus, the absence of 5'HS5 does not have an appreciable effect on the three dimensional organization of the beta-globin locus. This rules out models in which 5'HS5 nucleates interactions with remote and/or internal regulatory elements. We also determined the binding of CTCF, the only defined insulator protein in mammalian cells, to 5'HS5 by using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays. We detect low levels of CTCF binding to 5'HS5 in primitive erythroid cells, in which it functions as a border element. Surprisingly, we also observe binding levels of CTCF to 5'HS5 in definitive erythroid cells. Thus, binding of CTCF to 5'HS5 per se does not render it a functional border element. This is consistent with the previous data suggesting that CTCF has dual functionality.
Project description:Previous studies have generated controversial findings regarding the correlation between DNA methylation in the human genome and gene expression. Some reports have indicated that promoter methylation is negatively correlated with gene expression levels; however, in some cases, a poor or positive correlation was reported. Most previous findings were based on general trends observed with whole-genome data analysis. Here, we present a novel chromosome-specific statistical analysis design of empirical Bayes differential tests for five phases of erythroid development. To better understand the common methylation patterns of differentially methylated regions (DMRs) during specific stages, we defined differential phases for each CpG locus, based on a maximum log2 fold change. Analyzing hypermethylated and hypomethylated CpG loci separately showed variations in methylation patterns during erythropoiesis in the gene body, promoter and enhancer regions. Hypomethylated DMRs showed stronger associations with erythroid-specific enhancers at the differentiation start phase and with exons in the intermediate phase. To investigate the hypomethylated DMRs further, transcription factor binding site-enrichment analysis was conducted. This analysis highlighted novel transcription factors during each differentiation stage that were not detected by previous differential methylation data analysis. In contrast, hypermethylated DMRs showed a consistent methylation pattern over the different genomic regions. Thus, a closer examination of DNA methylation patterns in a single chromosome during each developmental stage can contribute to verify the association nature between gene expression and DNA methylation.
Project description:The reactivation of γ-globin chain synthesis to combine with excess free α-globin chains and form fetal hemoglobin (HbF) is an important alternative treatment for β-thalassemia. We had reported HbF induction property of natural curcuminoids, curcumin (Cur), demethoxycurcumin (DMC) and bis-demethoxycurcumin (BDMC), in erythroid progenitors. Herein, the HbF induction property of trienone analogs of the three curcuminoids in erythroleukemic K562 cell lines and primary human erythroid progenitor cells from β-thalassemia/HbE patients was examined. All three trienone analogs could induce HbF synthesis. The most potent HbF inducer in K562 cells was trienone analog of BDMC (T-BDMC) with 2.4 ± 0.2 fold increase. In addition, DNA methylation at CpG - 53, - 50 and + 6 of <sup>G</sup>γ-globin gene promoter in K562 cells treated with the compounds including T-BDMC (9.3 ± 1.7%, 7.3 ± 1.7% and 5.3 ± 0.5%, respectively) was significantly lower than those obtained from the control cells (30.7 ± 3.8%, 25.0 ± 2.9% and 7.7 ± 0.9%, respectively P < 0.05). The trienone compounds also significantly induced HbF synthesis in β-thalassemia/HbE erythroid progenitor cells with significantly reduction in DNA methylation at CpG + 6 of <sup>G</sup>γ-globin gene promoter. These results suggested that the curcuminoids and their three trienone analogs induced HbF synthesis by decreased DNA methylation at <sup>G</sup>γ-globin promoter region, without effect on <sup>A</sup>γ-globin promoter region.