The erythroid protein cGATA-1 functions with a stage-specific factor to activate transcription of chromatin-assembled β-globin genes

M. C. Barton, N. Madani, B. M. Emerson

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37 Scopus citations


The chick β-globin gene is regulated developmentally within erythroid cells by the interaction of multiple proteins with the promoter and the 3' enhancer. These interactions are correlated with changes in chromatin structure, which are characteristic of the actively expressed gene. Using in vitro chromatin assembly and transcription with staged erythroid extracts, we have determined the critical proteins required to activate expression of nucleosome-reconstituted β-globin genes. These genes contain a specialized TATA box at -30 (GATA) through which the erythroid-restricted protein cGATA- 1 and TFIID both function to regulate different steps in β-globin expression. We find that TBP (TATA-binding protein) alone can activate transcription of β-globin chromatin templates from promoters mutated to a canonical TATA box but is ineffective on those containing the normal -30 GATA site. The occupancy of this site by cGATA-1 also fails to generate efficient expression of β-globin chromatin unless combined with a stage-specific protein, NF-E4, that binds to an adjacent site. However, NF-E4 does not function with TBP to derepress nucleosome-assembled β-globin genes. We propose that the developmental regulation of β-globin expression is achieved, in part, by the requirement of an erythroid protein and a stage- specific factor, rather than TBP, to activate chromatin through a specialized TATA box.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1796-1809
Number of pages14
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology

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