Mutations in the adult β-globin gene can lead to a variety of hemoglobinopathies, including sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia. An increase in fetal hemoglobin expression throughout adulthood, a condition named Hereditary Persistence of Fetal Hemoglobin (HPFH), has been found to ameliorate hemoglobinopathies. Deletional HPFH occurs through the excision of a significant portion of the 3' end of the β-globin locus, including a CTCF binding site termed 3'HS1. Here, we show that the deletion of this CTCF site alone induces fetal hemoglobin expression in both adult CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells and HUDEP-2 erythroid progenitor cells. This induction is driven by the ectopic access of a previously postulated distal enhancer located in the OR52A1 gene downstream of the locus, which can also be insulated by the inversion of the 3'HS1 CTCF site. This suggests that genetic editing of this binding site can have therapeutic implications to treat hemoglobinopathies.
Sequencing data have been deposited in GEO under accession codes GSE160425.
- Jie Liu
- Xiaotian Zhang
- Xiaotian Zhang
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Michael D Bulger, University of Rochester, United States
© 2021, Himadewi et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
In a departure from previous findings, new results suggest that free-floating pieces of DNA which carry additional copies of cancer-driving genes do not tend to cluster or have increased transcription.
Extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) are frequently observed in human cancers and are responsible for high levels of oncogene expression. In glioblastoma (GBM), ecDNA copy number correlates with poor prognosis. It is hypothesized that their copy number, size, and chromatin accessibility facilitate clustering of ecDNA and colocalization with transcriptional hubs, and that this underpins their elevated transcriptional activity. Here, we use super-resolution imaging and quantitative image analysis to evaluate GBM stem cells harbouring distinct ecDNA species (EGFR, CDK4, PDGFRA). We find no evidence that ecDNA routinely cluster with one another or closely interact with transcriptional hubs. Cells with EGFR-containing ecDNA have increased EGFR transcriptional output, but transcription per gene copy is similar in ecDNA compared to the endogenous chromosomal locus. These data suggest that it is the increased copy number of oncogene-harbouring ecDNA that primarily drives high levels of oncogene transcription, rather than specific interactions of ecDNA with each other or with high concentrations of the transcriptional machinery.