Session: 112. Thalassemia and Globin Gene Regulation: Poster I
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
sickle cell disease, Anemias, Diseases, thalassemia, Biological Processes, Hemoglobinopathies, epigenetics, erythropoiesis
Given that fetal erythroblasts differ from adult erythroblasts in the chromatin architecture of the β-globin locus (e.g. Huang et al, Genes and Development 2017), we compared the higher order chromatin organization of the β-globin locus between F- and A-cells by Capture-C, a next-generation sequencing-adapted form of chromatin conformation capture. We found that in F-cells, contacts between the distal enhancer and the promoters of the fetal globin genes HBG1 and HBG2 were increased, while those between the enhancer and adult globin genes (HBB and HBD) were reduced. Other architectural changes associated with fetal globin gene expression, including fetal specific contacts of an intergenic non-coding gene with chromatin domain boundaries at the β-globin locus were also partially enriched in F-cells. We also did not find any differences in promoter-enhancer contacts between F- and A-cells for other developmentally regulated genes BCL11A, LIN28B, and THRB. Together these results are consistent with the concept that epigenetic changes associated with nuclear architecture that occur specifically at the β-globin locus underlie the difference in globin gene expression profiles between F- and A-cells.
In sum our data demonstrate that in adult erythropoiesis, F-cells do not arise through either a wholesale reversion to a fetal-like genetic program or through variation in any known HbF regulators. Instead, modulation of chromatin architecture intrinsic to the β-globin locus, perhaps in a stochastic manner, accounts for elevated fetal globin expression in F-cells. We are currently performing mechanistic studies to elucidate the basis for the epigenetic regulation of the β-globin locus in F-cells. These studies will further our understanding of fetal hemoglobin regulation in adult cells and might inform new therapeutic approaches for SCD and β-thalassemia.
Disclosures: Blobel: Fulcrum Therapeutics: Consultancy; Pfizer: Research Funding.
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