Histone deacetylase 9 activates γ-globin gene expression in primary erythroid cells

Shalini A. Muralidhar, Valya Ramakrishnan, Inderdeep S. Kalra, Wei Li, Betty S. Pace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Strategies to induce fetal hemoglobin (HbF) synthesis for the treatment of β-hemoglobinopathies probably involve protein modifications by histone deacetylases (HDACs) that mediate γ-globin gene regulation. However, the role of individual HDACs in globin gene expression is not very well understood; thus, the focus of our study was to identify HDACs involved in γ-globin activation. K562 erythroleukemia cells treated with the HbF inducers hemin, trichostatin A, and sodium butyrate had significantly reduced mRNA levels of HDAC9 and its splice variant histone deacetylase-related protein. Subsequently, HDAC9 gene knockdown produced dose-dependent γ-globin gene silencing over an 80-320 nM range. Enforced expression with the pTarget-HDAC9 vector produced a dosedependent 2.5-fold increase in γ-globin mRNA (p < 0.05). Furthermore, ChIP assays showed HDAC9 binding in vivo in the upstream Gγ-globin gene promoter region. To determine the physiological relevance of these findings, human primary erythroid progenitors were treated with HDAC9 siRNA; we observed 40 and 60% γ-globin gene silencing in day 11 (early) and day 28 (late) progenitors. Moreover, enforced HDAC9 expression increased γ-globin mRNA levels by 2.5-fold with a simultaneous 7-fold increase in HbF. Collectively, these data support a positive role for HDAC9 in γ-globin gene regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2343-2353
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 21 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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