GATA transcription factors bind the consensus sequence WGATAR, present in the flanking regions of most erythroid specific genes. GATA-1 and GATA-2, coexpressed in erythroid cells, are important for expression of erythroid genes. To elucidate the role of specific GATA transcription factors on globin gene expression, we examined the human α- and β-globin gene clusters for all GATA sites. Conserved GATA sites were found in each of the hypersensitive sites in both β-and α clusters and in proximal regulatory regions of the ζ-, ε- and γ-globin but not the α, δ or β-globin genes. We then tested the effect of increasing levels of GATA-1 and GATA-2 on the expression of endogenous globin genes in human erythroid cells. Increasing GATA-1 levels in K562 cells decreased the levels of ε-globin mRNA but had no effect on the levels of expression of γ, ζ or α-globin genes. Increasing GATA-2 levels increased ε-globin and γ-globin transcripts. Increasing levels of GATA-1 also caused a decrease in the expression of endogenous GATA-2, while increased levels of GATA-2 had no effect on GATA-1 mRNA. Our results indicate a differential role of GATA-1 and -2 transcription factors on globin transcripts and suggest a correlation between the conservation of GATA sites in the regulatory regions and the ability of endogenous globin genes to respond to GATA transcription factors. They also suggest that quantitative changes in the levels of GATA-1 or GATA-2 can result in alterations of globin target gene expression and may participate in the ontogenic control of the globin genes.
- GATA-binding sites
- Globin expression
- Hematopoietic erythroid cells
- Transcriptional factors