Erythroid Kruppel-like factor (EKLF) is an erythroid-specific transcription factor that contains zinc finger domains similar to the Kruppel protein of Drosophila melanogaster. Previous studies demonstrated that EKLF binds to the CACCC box in the human β-globin gene promoter and activates transcription. CACCC box mutations that cause severe β-thalassemias in humans inhibit EKLF binding. Results described in this paper suggest that EKLF functions predominately in adult erythroid tissue. The EKLF gene is expressed at a 3-fold higher level in adult erythroid tissue than in fetal erythroid tissue, and the EKLF protein binds to the human β-globin promoter 8-fold more efficiently than to the human γ-globin promoter. Co-transfection experiments in the human fetal-like erythroleukemia cell line K562 demonstrate that over-expression of EKLF activates a β-globin reporter construct 1000-fold; a linked γ-globin reporter is activated only 3-fold. Mutation of the β-globin CACCC box severely inhibits activation. These results demonstrate that EKLF is a developmental stage-enriched protein that preferentially activates human β-globin gene expression. The data strongly suggest that EKLF is an important factor involved in human γ- to β-globin gene switching.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Journal of Biological Chemistry
Donze, D., Townes, T., & Bieker, J. (1995). Role of erythroid Kruppel-like factor in human γ- to β-globin gene switching. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 270 (4), 1955-1959. https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.270.4.1955