ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-970210-1
Characterization of adult alpha- and beta-globin genes in the zebrafish
Chan, F.Y., Robinson, J., Brownlie, A., Shivdasani, R.A., Donovan, A., Brugnara, C., Kim, J., Lau, B.C., Witkowska, H.E., and Zon, L.I.
Developmental switching of hemoglobins (Hbs) occurs in most vertebrates, yet the cellular and molecular basis for this process remains elusive. The zebrafish is a new genetic and developmental system that can be used to study embryogenesis, and mutants with a variety of defects in hematopoiesis have recently been derived. To initiate our studies on Hb switching in this organism, we have characterized the globins expressed in the adult. Reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometric analyses of adult peripheral blood hemolysates showed that there are three major alpha globins and two beta globins in circulating erythroid cells. In addition, we have isolated and characterized zebrafish adult alpha- and beta-globin cDNA clones that encode some of these globins. High levels of alpha- and beta-globin gene expression were detected in adult erythroid cells, whereas embryonic erythroid cells expressed little, if any, of these RNAs. We have also shown that the alpha- and beta-globin genes are tightly linked on the same chromosome and are arrayed in a 3'-5' to 5'-3' configuration, respectively. The characterization of these genes and regulatory elements in this globin locus will provide insight into the process of globin gene transcription. With these reagents, future studies of Hb switching in zebrafish mutants with defective hematopoiesis will be possible.