Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers model fetal-to-adult hemoglobin switching: Important step towards cure for blood diseases

Date:
February 16, 2011
Source:
American Society for Microbiology
Summary:
Researchers have engineered mice that model the switch from fetal to adult hemoglobin, an important step towards curing genetic blood diseases such as sickle cell anemia and beta-thalassemia.

Researchers have engineered mice that model the switch from fetal to adult hemoglobin, an important step towards curing genetic blood diseases such as sickle cell anemia and beta-thalassemia. The research is published in the February 2011 issue of the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Related Articles


They also produced for the first time a mouse that synthesizes a distinct fetal-stage hemoglobin, which was necessary for modeling human hemoglobin disorders. These diseases manifest as misshapen hemoglobin, causing anemia, which can be severe, as well as other symptoms, which can range from minor to life-threatening. The cure would lie in causing the body to revert to use of fetal hemoglobin.

"The motivation for our research is to understand the basic mechanisms of gene regulation in order to cure human disease," says Thomas Ryan of the University of Alabama Birmingham, who led the research. "If we can figure out how to turn the fetal hemoglobin back on, or keep it from switching off, that would cure these diseases."

The new model "mimics precisely the timing in humans, completing the switch after birth," says Ryan. "The previous models didn't do that." In earlier models, researchers inserted transgenes, large chunks of DNA containing the relevant genes, randomly into the mouse chromosome. In the new model, the investigators removed the adult mouse globin genes, and inserted the human fetal and adult genes in their places.

The successful engineering of a mouse with a fetal-stage hemoglobin means that humanized mouse models with mutant human genes will not die in utero.

While the basic principals behind the research are simple, the details are complex. For example, Ryan and Sean C. McConnell, a doctoral student who is the paper's first author, had to deal with the fact that hemoglobin switching occurs twice in H. sapiens, from embryonic to fetal globin chains in early fetal life, and then to adult globin chains at birth, while wild type mice have a single switch from embryonic to adult chains early in fetal life. "Instead of the single hemoglobin switch that occurs in wild type mice, our humanized knock-in mice now have two hemoglobin switches, just like humans, from embryonic to fetal in early fetal life, and then fetal to adult at birth," says Ryan.

Hemoglobin switching is believed to have evolved to enable efficient transfer of oxygen from the mother's hemoglobin to the higher oxygen affinity fetal hemoglobin in the placenta during fetal life.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. C. McConnell, Y. Huo, S. Liu, T. M. Ryan. Human Globin Knock-in Mice Complete Fetal-to-Adult Hemoglobin Switching in Postnatal Development. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 2010; 31 (4): 876 DOI: 10.1128/MCB.00725-10

Cite This Page:

American Society for Microbiology. "Researchers model fetal-to-adult hemoglobin switching: Important step towards cure for blood diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216120542.htm>.
American Society for Microbiology. (2011, February 16). Researchers model fetal-to-adult hemoglobin switching: Important step towards cure for blood diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216120542.htm
American Society for Microbiology. "Researchers model fetal-to-adult hemoglobin switching: Important step towards cure for blood diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216120542.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins