Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The human theta-globin gene in man appears to be functional, based on its sequence and evolutionary conservation. However its physiological role is unknown and furthermore its deletion in some individuals appears to have no effect on erythroid development. We have therefore analysed the transcriptional and translational competence of the theta globin gene to assess whether or not it is a silent or active globin gene. First, we demonstrate that theta globin mRNA is correctly spliced, by sequencing its cDNA. Second, using this theta cDNA, we generated synthetic theta globin mRNA and were able to demonstrate that this mRNA is translated into theta globin protein in wheat germ in vitro translation extracts. Similarly, the theta globin gene transfected into an erythroid cell line produces a protein product that comigrates with theta globin. Finally, we analysed the unusual promoter of the theta globin gene. The GC rich sequence directly adjacent to the multiple cap sites of theta globin mRNA functions as a promoter element in both erythroid and non-erythroid cell lines, while the more usual CCAAT and ATA box regions (found in all other globin genes) which are displaced by the GC rich promoter sequence, do not possess detectible promoter activity. Taken together, these results suggest that theta globin may have some as yet undetermined role in human erythropoiesis.


Journal article


Nucleic Acids Res

Publication Date





8283 - 8300


Amino Acid Sequence, Base Sequence, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 16, Cloning, Molecular, Genes, Globins, HeLa Cells, Humans, Molecular Sequence Data, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Protein Biosynthesis, Templates, Genetic, Transcription, Genetic