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The TAL1 (or SCL) gene, originally discovered through its involvement by a chromosomal translocation in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, encodes a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor essential for hematopoietic and vascular development. To identify its interaction partners, we expressed a tandem epitope-tagged protein in murine erythroleukemia (MEL) cells and characterized affinity-purified Tal1-containing complexes by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis. In addition to known interacting proteins, two proteins related to the Eight-Twenty-One (ETO) corepressor, Eto2/Mtg16 and Mtgr1, were identified from the peptide fragments analyzed. Tal1 interaction with Eto2 and Mtgr1 was verified by coimmunoprecipitation analysis in Tal1, Eto2-, and Mtgr1-transfected COS-7 cells, MEL cells expressing V5 epitope-tagged Tal1 protein, and non-transfected MEL cells. Mapping analysis with Gal4 fusion proteins demonstrated a requirement for the bHLH domain of Tal1 and TAF110 domain of Eto2 for their interaction, and transient transfection and glutathione S-transferase pull-down analysis showed that Mtgr1 and Eto2 enhanced the other's association with Tal1. Enforced expression of Eto2 in differentiating MEL cells inhibited the promoter of the Protein 4.2 (P4.2) gene, a direct target of TAL1 in erythroid progenitors, and transduction of Eto2 and Mtgr1 augmented Tal1-mediated gene repression. Finally, chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed that Eto2 occupancy of the P4.2 promoter in MEL cells decreased with differentiation, in parallel with a decline in Eto2 protein abundance. These results identify Eto2 and Mtgr1 as authentic interaction partners of Tal1 and suggest they act as heteromeric corepressors of this bHLH transcription factor during erythroid differentiation.
UCP2, an inner membrane mitochondrial protein, has been implicated in bioenergetics and reactive oxygen species (ROS) modulation. High levels of UCP2 mRNA were recently found in erythroid cells where UCP2 is hypothesized to function as a facilitator of heme synthesis and iron metabolism by reducing ROS production. We examined UCP2 protein expression and role in mice erythropoiesis in vivo. UCP2 was mainly expressed at early stages of erythroid maturation when cells are not fully committed in heme synthesis. Iron incorporation into heme was unaltered in reticulocytes from UCP2-deficient mice. Although heme synthesis was not influenced by UCP2 deficiency, mice lacking UCP2 had a delayed recovery from chemically induced hemolytic anemia. Analysis of progenitor cells from bone marrow and fetal liver both in vitro and in vivo revealed that UCP2 deficiency results in a significant decrease in cell proliferation at the erythropoietin-dependent phase of erythropoiesis. This was accompanied by reduction in the phosphorylated form of ERK, a ROS-dependent cytosolic regulator of cell proliferation. Analysis of ROS in UCP2 null erythroid cells revealed altered distribution of ROS, resulting in decreased cytosolic and increased mitochondrial ROS. Restoration of the cytosol oxidative state of erythroid progenitor cells by the pro-oxidant Paraquat reversed the effect of UCP2 deficiency on cell proliferation in in vitro differentiation assays. Together, these results indicate that UCP2 is a regulator of erythropoiesis and suggests that inhibition of UCP2 function may contribute to the development of anemia.
The LIM domain-binding protein Ldb1 is an essential cofactor of LIM-homeodomain (LIM-HD) and LIM-only (LMO) proteins in development. The stoichiometry of Ldb1, LIM-HD, and LMO proteins is tightly controlled in the cell and is likely a critical determinant of their biological actions. Single-stranded DNA-binding proteins (SSBPs) were recently shown to interact with Ldb1 and are also important in developmental programs. We establish here that two mammalian SSBPs, SSBP2 and SSBP3, contribute to an erythroid DNA-binding complex that contains the transcription factors Tal1 and GATA-1, the LIM domain protein Lmo2, and Ldb1 and binds a bipartite E-box-GATA DNA sequence motif. In addition, SSBP2 was found to augment transcription of the Protein 4.2 (P4.2) gene, a direct target of the E-box-GATA-binding complex, in an Ldb1-dependent manner and to increase endogenous Ldb1 and Lmo2 protein levels, E-box-GATA DNA-binding activity, and P4.2 and beta-globin expression in erythroid progenitors. Finally, SSBP2 was demonstrated to inhibit Ldb1 and Lmo2 interaction with the E3 ubiquitin ligase RLIM, prevent RLIM-mediated Ldb1 ubiquitination, and protect Ldb1 and Lmo2 from proteasomal degradation. These results define a novel biochemical function for SSBPs in regulating the abundance of LIM domain and LIM domain-binding proteins.
SWI/SNF complexes are involved in both activation and repression of transcription. While one of two homologous ATPases, Brg1 [Brm (Brahma)-related gene 1] or Brm, is required for their chromatin remodelling function, less is known about how these complexes are recruited to DNA. We recently established that a DNA-binding complex containing TAL1/SCL, E47, GATA-1, LMO2 and Ldb1 stimulates P4.2 (protein 4.2) transcription in erythroid progenitors via two E box-GATA elements in the gene's proximal promoter. We show here that the SWI/SNF protein Brg1 is also associated with this complex and that both the E box and GATA DNA-binding sites in these elements are required for Brg1 recruitment. Further, Brg1 occupancy of the P4.2 promoter decreased with terminal erythroid differentiation in association with increased P4.2 transcription, while enforced expression of Brg1 in murine erythroleukaemia cells reduced P4.2 gene expression. Overexpression of Brg1 was associated with increased occupancy of the P4.2 promoter by the nuclear co-repressor mSin3A and HDAC2 (histone deacetylase 2) and with reduced histone H3 and H4 acetylation. Finally, a specific HDAC inhibitor attenuated Brg1-directed repression of P4.2 promoter activity in transfected cells. These results provide insight into the mechanism by which SWI/SNF proteins are recruited to promoters and suggest that transcription of P4.2, and most likely other genes, is actively repressed until the terminal differentiation of erythroid progenitors.
Commitment of hematopoietic cells to the erythroid lineage involves the actions of several transcription factors, including TAL1, LMO2, and GATA-2. The differentiation of committed erythroid progenitor cells involves other transcription factors, including NF-E2 and EKLF. Upon binding erythropoietin, the principal regulator of erythropoiesis, cell surface erythropoietin receptors dimerize and activate specific intracellular kinases, including Janus family tyrosine protein kinase 2, phosphoinositol-3 kinase, and mitogen-activated protein kinase. Important substrates of these kinases are tyrosines in the erythropoietin receptors themselves and the signal transducer and transcription activator proteins. Erythropoietin prevents erythroid cell apoptosis. Some of the apoptotic tendency of erythroid cells can be attributed to proapoptotic molecules produced by hematopoietic cells, macrophages, and stromal cells. Cell divisions accompanying terminal erythroid differentiation are finely controlled by cell cycle regulators, and disruption of these terminal divisions causes erythroid cell apoptosis. In reticulocyte maturation, regulated degradation of internal organelles involves a lipoxygenase, whereas survival requires the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-x.
Erythropoietin (Epo) controls red cell production in the basal state and during stress. Epo binding to its receptor, EpoR, on erythroid progenitors leads to rapid activation of the transcription factor Stat5. Previously, fetal anemia and increased apoptosis of fetal liver erythroid progenitors were found in Stat5a(-/-)5b(-/-) mice. However, the role of Stat5 in adult erythropoiesis was not clear. The present study shows that some adult Stat5a(-/-)5b(-/-) mice have a near-normal hematocrit but are deficient in generating high erythropoietic rates in response to stress. Further, many adult Stat5a(-/-)5b(-/-) mice have persistent anemia despite a marked compensatory expansion in their erythropoietic tissue. Analysis of erythroblast maturation in Stat5a(-/-)5b(-/-) hematopoietic tissue shows a dramatic increase in early erythroblast numbers, but these fail to progress in differentiation. Decreased expression of bcl-x(L) and increased apoptosis in Stat5a(-/-)5b(-/-) early erythroblasts correlate with the degree of anemia. Hence, Stat5 controls a rate-determining step regulating early erythroblast survival.
BCR-ABL is a deregulated tyrosine kinase expressed in Philadelphia chromosome-positive human leukemias. Prolongation of hematopoietic cell survival by inhibition of apoptosis has been proposed to be an integral component of BCR-ABL-induced chronic myelogenous leukemia. BCR-ABL elicits transformation of both fibroblast and hematopoietic cells and blocks apoptosis following cytokine deprivation in various factor-dependent cells. To elucidate the mechanisms whereby BCR-ABL induces transformation and blocks apoptosis in hematopoietic cells, we examined the biological effects of expression of a series of BCR-ABL mutants. Single amino acid substitutions in the GRB2 binding site (Y177F), Src homology 2 domain (R552L), or an autophosphorylation site in the tyrosine kinase domain (Y793F) do not diminish the antiapoptotic and transforming properties of BCR-ABL in hematopoietic cells, although these mutations were previously shown to drastically reduce the transforming activity of BCR-ABL in fibroblasts. A BCR-ABL molecule containing all three mutations (Y177F/R552L/Y793F) exhibits a severe decrease in transforming and antiapoptotic activities compared with the wild-type BCR-ABL protein in 32D myeloid progenitor cells. Ras is activated, the SHC adapter protein is tyrosine phosphorylated and binds GRB2, and myc mRNA levels are increased following expression of all kinase active BCR-ABL proteins with the exception of the Y177F/R552L/Y793F BCR-ABL mutant in 32D cells. We propose that BCR-ABL uses multiple pathways to activate Ras in hematopoietic cells and that this activation is necessary for the transforming and antiapoptotic activities of BCR-ABL. However, Ras activation is not sufficient for BCR-ABL-mediated transformation. A BCR-ABL deletion mutant (delta 176-427) that activates Ras and blocks apoptosis but has severely impaired transforming ability in 32D cells has been identified. These data suggest that BCR-ABL requires additional signaling components to elicit tumorigenic growth which are distinct from those required to block apoptosis.