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HMGA2 moderately increases fetal hemoglobin expression in human adult erythroblasts

Author(s): de Vasconcellos JF, Lee YT, Byrnes C, Tumburu L, Miller JL


Induction of fetal hemoglobin (HbF) has therapeutic importance for patients with beta-hemoglobin disorders. Previous studies showed that let-7 microRNAs (miRNAs) are highly regulated in erythroid cells during the fetal-to-adult developmental transition, and that targeting let-7 mediated the up-regulation of HbF to greater than 30% of the total globin levels in human adult cultured erythroblasts. HMGA2 is a member of the high-mobility group A family of proteins and a validated target of the let-7 family of miRNAs. Here we investigate whether expression of HMGA2 directly regulates fetal hemoglobin in adult erythroblasts. Let-7 resistant HMGA2 expression was studied after lentiviral transduction of CD34(+) cells. The transgene was regulated by the erythroid-specific gene promoter region of the human SPTA1 gene (HMGA2-OE). HMGA2-OE caused significant increases in gamma-globin mRNA expression and HbF to around 16% of the total hemoglobin levels compared to matched control transductions. Interestingly, no significant changes in KLF1, SOX6, GATA1, ZBTB7A and BCL11A mRNA levels were observed. Overall, our data suggest that expression of HMGA2, a downstream target of let-7 miRNAs, causes moderately increased gamma-globin gene and protein expression in adult human erythroblasts.

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