Erythroid gene suppression by NF-κB

Jan Jan Liu, Shin Chen Hou, C. K.James Shen

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45 Citations (Scopus)


NF-κB/Rel transcription factors play essential roles to mediate the immune response and apoptosis, and they have also been implicated in cellular differentiation such as erythropoiesis. To elucidate the possible role(s) of NF-κB in erythroid gene regulation and erythropoiesis, we have carried out transient transfection studies of the human embryonic/fetal erythroid cell line K562 and mouse adult erythroid MEL cells. It is shown that tumor necrosis factor-α represses the transcription activity directed by either α or ζ globin promoter in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, different NF-κB family members could effectively repress the transfected α-like globin promoters in K562 as well as in MEL cells. The involvement of NF-κB pathway is supported by the ability of a NF-κB-specific, dominant negative mutant to block the tumor necrosis factor-α or p65-mediated suppression of the α-like globin promoter activities. The suppression appears to be mediated through cis-linked HS-40 enhancer. Finally, stably transfected K562 cells overexpressing p65 contain reduced amounts of the p45/NF-E2 RNA and functional NF-E2 proteins. Our studies have identified a new set of targets of NF-κB. We suggest that the relatively high activity of the NF-κB pathway in early erythroid progenitors is involved in the suppression of erythroid-specific genes. Later in differentiation, together with other changes, the decline of the amounts of the NF-κB family of factors leads to derepression and consequent increase of NF-E2, which in turn would activate a subset of erythroid-specific genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19534-19540
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - May 23 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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