Author(s): Moi P, Cash FE, Liebhaber SA, Cao A, Pirastu M
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Abstract alpha-globin is encoded by two adjacent genes, alpha 1 and alpha 2. Recent evidence suggests that these genes are not equally expressed and that the alpha 2-globin gene encodes the majority of alpha-globin. This finding would predict that a thalassemic mutation of the alpha 2-globin gene would result in a more severe loss of alpha-chain synthesis than a similar mutation in the alpha 1-globin gene. In a previous study we described a nondeletion alpha-thalassemia defect in the alpha 2-globin gene resulting from an AUG----ACG initiation codon mutation. In the present study we describe a different initiation codon mutation, AUG----GUG, present in the alpha 1-globin gene. The alpha 1- and alpha 2-globin gene initiation codon mutations result in similarly lowered levels of encoded mRNA. Despite the similarity of these two mutations, the alpha 2 mutant results in a more severe loss of alpha-globin synthesis and a more severe clinical alpha-thalassemia phenotype than the corresponding alpha 1-globin gene mutation. This difference reflects the dominant role of alpha 2-globin gene in overall alpha-globin synthesis.
This article was published in J Clin Invest
and referenced in Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy