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Papers of the Week

Papers: 26 Aug 2023 - 1 Sep 2023

Basic Science

Genetics, In Vitro Studies, Molecular/Cellular

2023 Aug 17

Blood Cells Mol Dis



Bach1 inhibitor HPP-D mediates γ-globin gene activation in sickle erythroid progenitors.


Palani CD, Zhu X, Alagar M, Attucks OC, Pace BS


Sickle cell disease (SCD) is the most common β-hemoglobinopathy caused by various mutations in the adult β-globin gene resulting in sickle hemoglobin production, chronic hemolytic anemia, pain, and progressive organ damage. The best therapeutic strategies to manage the clinical symptoms of SCD is the induction of fetal hemoglobin (HbF) using chemical agents. At present, among the Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs to treat SCD, hydroxyurea is the only one proven to induce HbF protein synthesis, however, it is not effective in all people. Therefore, we evaluated the ability of the novel Bach1 inhibitor, HPP-D to induce HbF in KU812 cells and primary sickle erythroid progenitors. HPP-D increased HbF and decreased Bach1 protein levels in both cell types. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay showed reduced Bach1 and increased NRF2 binding to the γ-globin promoter antioxidant response elements. We also observed increased levels of the active histone marks H3K4Me1 and H3K4Me3 supporting an open chromatin configuration. In primary sickle erythroid progenitors, HPP-D increased γ-globin transcription and HbF positive cells and reduced sickled erythroid progenitors under hypoxia conditions. Collectively, our data demonstrate that HPP-D induces γ-globin gene transcription through Bach1 inhibition and enhanced NRF2 binding in the γ-globin promoter antioxidant response elements.