Purpose of review
Transcription of erythroid-specific genes is regulated by the three-dimensional (3D) structure and composition of chromatin, which dynamically changes during erythroid differentiation. Chromatin organization and dynamics are regulated by several epigenetic mechanisms involving DNA (de-)methylation, posttranslational modifications (PTMs) of histones, chromatin-associated structural proteins, and higher-order structural changes and interactions. This review addresses examples of recent developments in several areas delineating the interface of chromatin regulation and erythroid-specific lineage transcription.
We survey and discuss recent studies that focus on the erythroid chromatin landscape, erythroid enhancer-promotor interactions, super-enhancer functionality, the role of chromatin modifiers and epigenetic crosstalk, as well as the progress in mapping red blood cell (RBC) trait-associated genetic variants within cis-regulatory elements (CREs) identified in genome-wide association study (GWAS) efforts as a step toward determining their impact on erythroid-specific gene expression.
As one of the best characterized and accessible cell differentiation systems, erythropoiesis has been at the forefront of studies aiming to conceptualize how chromatin dynamics regulate transcription. New emerging technologies that bring a significantly enhanced spatial and temporal resolution of chromatin structure, and allow investigation of small cell numbers, have advanced our understanding of chromatin dynamics during erythroid differentiation in vivo.