The first intronic mutations in the intron 1 GATA site (int-1-GATA) of 5-aminolevulinate synthase 2 (ALAS2) have been identified in X-linked sideroblastic anemia (XLSA) pedigrees, strongly suggesting it could be causal mutations of XLSA. However, the function of this int-1-GATA site during in vivo development remains largely unknown. Here, we generated mice lacking a 13 bp fragment, including this int-1-GATA site (T AGATAA: AGCCCC) and found that hemizygous deletion led to an embryonic lethal phenotype due to severe anemia resulting from a lack of ALAS2 expression, indicating that this non-coding sequence is indispensable for ALAS2 expression in vivo Further analyses revealed that this int-1-GATA site anchored the GATA site in intron 8 (int-8-GATA) and the proximal promoter, forming a long-range loop to enhance ALAS2 expression by an enhancer complex including GATA1, TAL1, LMO2, LDB1 and Pol II at least, in erythroid cells. However, compared with the int-8-GATA site, the int-1-GATA site is more essential for regulating ALAS2 expression through CRISPR/Cas9-mediated site-specific deletion. Therefore, the int-1-GATA site could serve as a valuable site for diagnosing XLSA in cases with unknown mutations.
© The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.