We systematically compared cytokine-mediated increases or decreases in proliferation with globin gene and protein expression in adult human erythroblasts. Despite their opposite effects on growth, stem cell factor (SCF) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-B) had synergistic effects with respect to fetal hemoglobin (HbF): average HbF/HbF + adult hemoglobin (HbA) ratio in erythropoietin (EPO) = 1.4 ± 1.0%; EPO + TGF-B = 10.8 ± 1.9%; EPO + SCF = 19.1 ± 6.2%; and EPO + SCF + TGF-B (EST) = 39.3 ± 6.3%. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) revealed significant increases in gamma-globin transcripts that were balanced by reduced beta-globin transcripts. Single-cell quantitative PCR demonstrated a complete reversal of gamma-globin gene silencing with detectable gamma-globin mRNA in more than 95% of the cells. Immunostaining with HbF antibodies also showed a pancellular distribution in EST (96.2 ± 0.01% HbF positive) compared with a heterocellular distribution in EPO (42.9 ± 0.01% HbF positive). As shown here for the first time, a robust and pancellular reversal of gamma-globin gene silencing among hemoglobinized erythroblasts from adult humans may be achieved in the absence of hereditary mutation or direct genomic manipulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology