EKLF/KLF1 is an essential transcription factor that plays a global role in erythroid transcriptional activation. Regulation of KLF1 is of interest, as it displays a highly restricted expression pattern, limited to erythroid cells and its progenitors. Here we use biochemical affinity purification to identify the DDX5/p68 protein as an activator of KLF1 by virtue of its interaction with the erythroid-specific DNAse hypersensitive site upstream enhancer element (EHS1). We further show that this protein associates with DEK and CTCF. We postulate that the range of interactions of DDX5/p68 with these and other proteins known to interact with this element render it part of the enhanseosome complex critical for optimal expression of KLF1 and enables the formation of a proper chromatin configuration at the Klf1 locus. These individual interactions provide quantitative contributions that, in sum, establish the high-level activity of the Klf1 promoter and suggest they can be selectively manipulated for clinical benefit.

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