Unstable beta-globin mRNA in mRNA-deficient beta o thalassemia

Cell. 1981 Dec;27(3 Pt 2):543-53. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(81)90396-2.


The molecular defect in four Kurdish Jews with homozygous, mRNA-deficient beta zero thalassemia was investigated. Electrophoretic profiles of pulse-labeled alpha- and beta-globin RNAs are similar to those of non-thalassemics; therefore, at least one of the thalassemic beta-globin alleles is transcribed. During a 30 min actinomycin D chase, most of the alpha- and beta-globin mRNA precursors and processing intermediates are converted to mRNA-sized RNA. Thalassemic and non-thalassemic beta-globin RNAs are indistinguishable, as determined by S1 nuclease mapping and RNA blotting. Non-thalassemic beta-globin mRNA is stable during a 30 min actinomycin chase, but 30%-75% of the thalassemic mRNA-sized molecules is degraded during that period. We conclude that the absence of beta-globin mRNA in this disease results from rapid turnover of beta-globin mRNA-sized molecules.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Globins / genetics
  • Globins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • beta-Thalassemia / genetics
  • beta-Thalassemia / metabolism*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Globins