Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

At present, the molecular mechanisms by which stem cells commit to and differentiate towards specific lineages are poorly characterized, and will need to be better understood before stem cells can be exploited fully in experimental and clinical settings. Transcriptional regulation, the ability to turn genes on and off, lies at the heart of these processes of lineage commitment and specification. We have focused on fully understanding how these decisions are made at a single mammalian gene locus, the alpha-globin genes, which become up-regulated in a tissue- and developmental-stage specific manner during haemopoiesis. The studies summarized in the present article have revealed that complete regulation of this gene cluster involves not only activating mechanisms in expressing erythroid cells, but also repressing mechanisms, involving the Polycomb complex and histone deacetylases which are present in non-erythroid tissues. Taken together, these observations provide a well-characterized model of how gene expression is fully regulated during the transition from stem cells through lineage commitment and terminal differentiation.

Original publication

DOI

10.1042/BST0360613

Type

Journal article

Journal

Biochem Soc Trans

Publication Date

08/2008

Volume

36

Pages

613 - 618

Keywords

Animals, Erythroid Cells, Globins, Hematopoiesis, Humans, Polycomb-Group Proteins, Protein Binding, Repressor Proteins, Signal Transduction