Sp1 functions in a chromatin-dependent manner to augment human alpha-globin promoter activity.
Pondel MD., Murphy S., Pearson L., Craddock C., Proudfoot NJ.
The 5' flanking region of the human alpha-globin gene is highly G + C rich and contains multiple copies of the consensus sequence for the Sp1 binding site. We investigated the role of this G + C-rich region in augmenting alpha-globin promoter activity in the presence of the far-upstream alpha-globin enhancer, HS-40. We show that in transiently transfected erythroid cells, deletion of the alpha-globin G + C-rich 5' flanking region has no effect on alpha-globin promoter activity. However, upon stable integration into chromatin, deletion of this region causes a nearly 90% decrease in promoter activity compared with expression from an alpha-globin promoter retaining this region. These results suggest that the alpha-globin G + C-rich 5' flanking region augments alpha-globin promoter activity in a chromatin-dependent manner. We further show that this G + C-rich region is required for the activation of alpha-globin gene expression during erythroid differentiation. Finally, we show by both footprint analysis and functional assays that the ability of the G + C-rich region to increase alpha-globin promoter activity from a stably integrated alpha-globin gene is mediated by its multiple binding sites for the transcription factor Sp1.