Graded repression of PU.1/Sfpi1 gene transcription by GATA factors regulates hematopoietic cell fate

Chou, S. T.; Khandros, E.; Bailey, L. C.; Nichols, K. E.; Vakoc, C. R.; Yao, Y.; Huang, Z.; Crispino, J. D.; Hardison, R. C.; Blobel, G. A.; Weiss, M. J.

Blood. 2009 Jun 6; 114(5):983-94


GATA-1 and PU.1 are essential hematopoietic transcription factors that control erythromegakaryocytic and myelolymphoid differentiation, respectively. These proteins antagonize each other through direct physical interaction to repress alternate lineage programs. We used immortalized Gata1(-) erythromegakaryocytic progenitor cells to study how PU.1/Sfpi1 expression is regulated by GATA-1 and GATA-2, a related factor that is normally expressed at earlier stages of hematopoiesis. Both GATA factors bind the PU.1/Sfpi1 gene at 2 highly conserved regions. In the absence of GATA-1, GATA-2 binding is associated with an undifferentiated state, intermediate level PU.1/Sfpi1 expression, and low-level expression of its downstream myeloid target genes. Restoration of GATA-1 function induces erythromegakaryocytic differentiation. Concomitantly, GATA-1 replaces GATA-2 at the PU.1/Sfpi1 locus and PU.1/Sfpi1 expression is extinguished. In contrast, when GATA-1 is not present, shRNA knockdown of GATA-2 increases PU.1/Sfpi1 expression by 3-fold and reprograms the cells to become macrophages. Our findings indicate that GATA factors act sequentially to regulate lineage determination during hematopoiesis, in part by exerting variable repressive effects at the PU.1/Sfpi1 locus.

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