Functional conservation of erythropoietin signaling in zebrafish.
ABSTRACT: Erythropoietin (Epo) and its cognate receptor (EpoR) are required for maintaining adequate levels of circulating erythrocytes during embryogenesis and adulthood. Here, we report the functional characterization of the zebrafish epo and epor genes. The expression of epo and epor was evaluated by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and whole-mount in situ hybridization, revealing marked parallels between zebrafish and mammalian gene expression patterns. Examination of the hypochromic mutant, weissherbst, and adult hypoxia-treated hearts indicate that zebrafish epo expression is induced by anemia and hypoxia. Overexpression of epo mRNA resulted in severe polycythemia, characterized by a striking increase in the number of cells expressing scl, c-myb, gata1, ikaros, epor, and betae1-globin, suggesting that both the erythroid progenitor and mature erythrocyte compartments respond to epo. Morpholino-mediated knockdown of the epor caused a slight decrease in primitive and complete block of definitive erythropoiesis. Abrogation of STAT5 blocked the erythropoietic expansion by epo mRNA, consistent with a requirement for STAT5 in epo signaling. Together, the characterization of zebrafish epo and epor demonstrates the conservation of an ancient program that ensures proper red blood cell numbers during normal homeostasis and under hypoxic conditions.
Project description:Erythropoietin (Epo), along with its receptor EpoR, is the principal regulator of red cell development. Upon Epo addition, the EpoR signaling through the Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) activates multiple pathways including Stat5, phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI-3K)/Akt, and p42/44 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). The adaptor protein Lnk is implicated in cytokine receptor signaling. Here, we showed that Lnk-deficient mice have elevated numbers of erythroid progenitors, and that splenic erythroid colony-forming unit (CFU-e) progenitors are hypersensitive to Epo. Lnk(-/-) mice also exhibit superior recovery after erythropoietic stress. In addition, Lnk deficiency resulted in enhanced Epo-induced signaling pathways in splenic erythroid progenitors. Conversely, Lnk overexpression inhibits Epo-induced cell growth in 32D/EpoR cells. In primary culture of fetal liver cells, Lnk overexpression inhibits Epo-dependent erythroblast differentiation and induces apoptosis. Lnk blocks 3 major signaling pathways, Stat5, Akt, and MAPK, induced by Epo in primary erythroblasts. In addition, the Lnk Src homology 2 (SH2) domain is essential for its inhibitory function, whereas the conserved tyrosine near the C-terminus and the pleckstrin homology (PH) domain of Lnk are not critical. Furthermore, wild-type Lnk, but not the Lnk SH2 mutant, becomes tyrosine-phosphorylated following Epo administration and inhibits EpoR phosphorylation and JAK2 activation. Hence, Lnk, through its SH2 domain, negatively modulates EpoR signaling by attenuating JAK2 activation, and regulates Epo-mediated erythropoiesis.
Project description:Erythropoietin (Epo)-induced Stat5 phosphorylation (p-Stat5) is essential for both basal erythropoiesis and for its acceleration during hypoxic stress. A key challenge lies in understanding how Stat5 signaling elicits distinct functions during basal and stress erythropoiesis. Here we asked whether these distinct functions might be specified by the dynamic behavior of the Stat5 signal. We used flow cytometry to analyze Stat5 phosphorylation dynamics in primary erythropoietic tissue in vivo and in vitro, identifying two signaling modalities. In later (basophilic) erythroblasts, Epo stimulation triggers a low intensity but decisive, binary (digital) p-Stat5 signal. In early erythroblasts the binary signal is superseded by a high-intensity graded (analog) p-Stat5 response. We elucidated the biological functions of binary and graded Stat5 signaling using the EpoR-HM mice, which express a "knocked-in" EpoR mutant lacking cytoplasmic phosphotyrosines. Strikingly, EpoR-HM mice are restricted to the binary signaling mode, which rescues these mice from fatal perinatal anemia by promoting binary survival decisions in erythroblasts. However, the absence of the graded p-Stat5 response in the EpoR-HM mice prevents them from accelerating red cell production in response to stress, including a failure to upregulate the transferrin receptor, which we show is a novel stress target. We found that Stat5 protein levels decline with erythroblast differentiation, governing the transition from high-intensity graded signaling in early erythroblasts to low-intensity binary signaling in later erythroblasts. Thus, using exogenous Stat5, we converted later erythroblasts into high-intensity graded signal transducers capable of eliciting a downstream stress response. Unlike the Stat5 protein, EpoR expression in erythroblasts does not limit the Stat5 signaling response, a non-Michaelian paradigm with therapeutic implications in myeloproliferative disease. Our findings show how the binary and graded modalities combine to generate high-fidelity Stat5 signaling over the entire basal and stress Epo range. They suggest that dynamic behavior may encode information during STAT signal transduction.
Project description:Epo's erythropoietic capacity is ascribed largely to its antiapoptotic actions. In part via gene profiling of bone marrow erythroblasts, Epo is now shown to selectively down-modulate the adhesion/migration factors chemokine receptor-4 (Cxcr4) and integrin alpha-4 (Itga4) and to up-modulate growth differentiation factor-3 (Gdf3), oncostatin-M (OncoM), and podocalyxin like-1 (PODXL). For PODXL, Epo dose-dependent expression of this CD34-related sialomucin was discovered in Kit(+)CD71(high) proerythroblasts and was sustained at subsequent Kit(-)CD71(high) and Ter119(+) stages. In vivo, Epo markedly induced PODXL expression in these progenitors and in marrow-resident reticulocytes. This was further associated with a rapid release of PODXL(+) reticulocytes to blood. As studied in erythroblasts expressing minimal Epo receptor (EpoR) alleles, efficient PODXL induction proved dependence on an EpoR-PY343 Stat5 binding site. Moreover, in mice expressing an EpoR-HM F343 allele, compromised Epo-induced PODXL expression correlated with abnormal anucleated red cell representation in marrow. By modulating this select set of cell-surface adhesion molecules and chemokines, Epo is proposed to mobilize erythroblasts from a hypothesized stromal niche and possibly promote reticulocyte egress to blood.
Project description:Although the role of the erythropoietin (EPO) receptor (EpoR) in erythropoiesis has been known for decades, its role in nonhematopoietic tissues is still not well defined. Klotho has been shown and EPo has been suggested to protect against acute ischemia-reperfusion injury in the kidney. Here we found in rat kidney and in a rat renal tubular epithelial cell line (NRK cells) EpoR transcript and antigen, and EpoR activity signified as EPo-induced phosphorylation of Jak2, ErK, Akt, and Stat5 indicating the presence of functional EpoR. Transgenic overexpression of Klotho or addition of exogenous recombinant Klotho increased kidney EpoR protein and transcript. In NRK cells, Klotho increased EpoR protein, enhanced EPo-triggered phosphorylation of Jak2 and Stat5, the nuclear translocation of phospho-Stat5, and protected NRK cells from hydrogen peroxide cytotoxicity. Knockdown of endogenous EpoR rendered NRK cells more vulnerable, and overexpression of EpoR more resistant to peroxide-induced cytotoxicity, indicating that EpoR mitigates oxidative damage. Knockdown of EpoR by siRNA abolished Epo-induced Jak2, and Stat5 phosphorylation, and blunted the protective effect of Klotho against peroxide-induced cytotoxicity. Thus in the kidney, EpoR and its activity are downstream effectors of Klotho enabling it to function as a cytoprotective protein against oxidative injury.
Project description:Anemia is a known driver for hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) which leads to increased renal erythropoietin (EPO) synthesis. Bone marrow (BM) EPO receptor (EPOR) signals are transduced through a JAK2-STAT5 pathway. The origins of anemia of chronic kidney disease (CKD) are multifactorial, including impairment of both renal EPO synthesis as well as intestinal iron absorption. We investigated the HIF- EPO- EPOR axis in kidney, BM and proximal tibia in anemic juvenile CKD rats.CKD was induced by 5/6 nephrectomy in young (20 days old) male Sprague-Dawley rats while C group was sham operated. Rats were sacrificed 4 weeks after CKD induction and 5 minutes after a single bolus of IV recombinant human EPO. An additional control anemic (C-A) group was daily bled for 7 days.Hemoglobin levels were similarly reduced in CKD and C-A (11.4 ± 0.3 and 10.8±0.2 Vs 13.5±0.3 g/dL in C, p<0.0001). Liver hepcidin mRNA was decreased in CA but increased in CKD. Serum iron was unchanged while transferrin levels were mildly decreased in CKD. Kidney HIF2? protein was elevated in C-A but unchanged in CKD. Kidney EPO protein and mRNA levels were unchanged between groups. However, BM EPO protein (which reflects circulating EPO) was increased in C-A but remained unchanged in CKD. BM and proximal tibia EPOR were unchanged in C-A but decreased in CKD. Proximal tibial phospho-STAT5 increased after the EPO bolus in C but not in CKD.Compared to blood loss, anemia in young CKD rats is associated with inappropriate responses in the HIF-EPO-EPO-R axis: kidney HIF2? and renal EPO are not increased, BM and bone EPOR levels, as well as bone pSTAT5 response to EPO are reduced. Thus, anemia of CKD may be treated with additional therapeutic avenues beyond iron and EPO supplementation.
Project description:More than 50 years of efforts to identify the major cytokine responsible for red blood cell (RBC) production (erythropoiesis) led to the identification of erythropoietin (EPO) in 1977 and its receptor (EPOR) in 1989, followed by three decades of rich scientific discovery. We now know that an elaborate oxygen-sensing mechanism regulates the production of EPO, which in turn promotes the maturation and survival of erythroid progenitors. Engagement of the EPOR by EPO activates three interconnected signaling pathways that drive RBC production via diverse downstream effectors and simultaneously trigger negative feedback loops to suppress signaling activity. Together, the finely tuned mechanisms that drive endogenous EPO production and facilitate its downstream activities have evolved to maintain RBC levels in a narrow physiological range and to respond rapidly to erythropoietic stresses such as hypoxia or blood loss. Examination of these pathways has elucidated the genetics of numerous inherited and acquired disorders associated with deficient or excessive RBC production and generated valuable drugs to treat anemia, including recombinant human EPO and more recently the prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors, which act partly by stimulating endogenous EPO synthesis. Ongoing structure-function studies of the EPOR and its essential partner, tyrosine kinase JAK2, suggest that it may be possible to generate new "designer" drugs that control selected subsets of cytokine receptor activities for therapeutic manipulation of hematopoiesis and treatment of blood cancers.
Project description:Critical signals for erythroblast formation are transduced by activated, tyrosine-phosphorylated erythropoietin receptor (EpoR) complexes. Nonetheless, steady-state erythropoiesis is supported effectively by EpoR alleles that are deficient in cytoplasmic phosphotyrosine sites. To better define core EpoR action mechanisms, signaling capacities of minimal PY-null (EpoR-HM) and PY343-retaining (EpoR-H) alleles were analyzed for the first time in bone marrow-derived erythroblasts. Jak2 activation via each allele was comparable. Stat5 (and several Stat5-response genes) were induced via EpoR-H but not via EpoR-HM. Stat1 and Stat3 activation was nominal for all EpoR forms. For both EpoR-HM and EpoR-H, Akt and p70S6-kinase activation was decreased multifold, and JNK activation was minimal. ERKs, however, were hyperactivated uniquely via EpoR-HM. In vivo, Epo expression in EpoR-HM mice was elevated, while Epo-induced reticulocyte production was diminished. In vitro, EpoR-HM erythroblast maturation also was attenuated (based on DNA content, forward-angle light scatter, and hemoglobinization). These EpoR-HM-specific defects were corrected not only upon PY343 site restoration in EpoR-H, but also upon MEK1,2 inhibition. Core EpoR PY site-independent signals for erythroblast formation therefore appear to be Stat5, Stat1, Stat3, p70S6-kinase, and JNK independent, but ERK dependent. Wild-type signaling capacities, however, depend further upon signals provided via an EpoR/PY343/Stat5 axis.
Project description:Erythropoietin (EPO) has both erythropoietic and tissue-protective properties. The EPO analogues carbamylated EPO (CEPO) and pyroglutamate helix B surface peptide (pHBSP) lack the erythropoietic activity of EPO but retain the tissue-protective properties that are mediated by a heterocomplex of EPO receptor (EPOR) and the ? common receptor (?CR). We studied the action of EPO and its analogues in a model of wound healing where a bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) monolayer was scratched and the scratch closure was assessed over 24 h under different oxygen concentrations. We related the effects of EPO and its analogues on repair to their effect on BAECs proliferation and migration (evaluated using a micro-Boyden chamber). EPO, CEPO and pHBSP enhanced scratch closure only at lower oxygen (5%), while their effect at atmospheric oxygen (21%) was not significant. The mRNA expression of EPOR was doubled in 5% compared with 21% oxygen, and this was associated with increased EPOR assessed by immunofluorescence and Western blot. By contrast, ?CR mRNA levels were similar in 5% and 21% oxygen. EPO and its analogues increased both BAECs proliferation and migration, suggesting that both may be involved in the reparative process. The priming effect of low oxygen tension on the action of tissue-protective cytokines may be of relevance to vascular disease, including atherogenesis and restenosis.
Project description:Functional significance of co-expressed erythropoietin (EPO) and its receptor (EPOR) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) had been under debate. In this study, co-overexpression of EPO/EPOR was confirmed to be positively associated with poor survival in NSCLC. The serum EPO in 14 of 35 enrolled NSCLC patients were found elevated significantly and decreased to normal level after tumor resection. With primary tumor cell culture and patient-derived tumor xenograft (PDX) mouse model, the EPO secretion from the tumors of these 14 patients was verified. Then, we proved the patient derived serum EPO was functionally active and had growth promotion effect in EPO/EPOR overexpressed but not in EPO/EPOR under-expressed NSCLC cells. We also illustrated EPO promoted NSCLC cell proliferation through an EPOR/Jak2/Stat5a/cyclinD1 pathway. In xenograft mouse model, we proved local application of EPO neutralizing antibody and short hairpin RNA (shRNA) against EPOR effectively inhibited the growth of EPO/EPOR overexpressed NSCLC cells and prolonged survivals of the mice. Finally, EPO/EPOR/Jak2/Stat5a/cyclinD1 signaling was found to be a mediator of hypoxia induced growth in EPO/EPOR overexpressed NSCLC. Our results illustrated a subgroup of NSCLC adapt to hypoxia through self-sustainable EPO/EPOR signaling and suggest local blockage of EPO/EPOR as potential therapeutic method in this distinct NSCLC population.
Project description:Erythropoiesis requires erythropoietin (Epo) and stem cell factor (SCF) signaling via their receptors EpoR and c-Kit. EpoR, like many other receptors involved in hematopoiesis, acts via the kinase Jak2. Deletion of EpoR or Janus kinase 2 (Jak2) causes embryonic lethality as a result of defective erythropoiesis. The contribution of distinct EpoR/Jak2-induced signaling pathways (mitogen-activated protein kinase, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 [Stat5]) to functional erythropoiesis is incompletely understood. Here we demonstrate that expression of a constitutively activated Stat5a mutant (cS5) was sufficient to relieve the proliferation defect of Jak2(-/-) and EpoR(-/-) cells in an Epo-independent manner. In addition, tamoxifen-induced DNA binding of a Stat5a-estrogen receptor (ER)* fusion construct enabled erythropoiesis in the absence of Epo. Furthermore, c-Kit was able to enhance signaling through the Jak2-Stat5 axis, particularly in lymphoid and myeloid progenitors. Although abundance of hematopoietic stem cells was 2.5-fold reduced in Jak2(-/-) fetal livers, transplantation of Jak2(-/-)-cS5 fetal liver cells into irradiated mice gave rise to mature erythroid and myeloid cells of donor origin up to 6 months after transplantation. Cytokine- and c-Kit pathways do not function independently of each other in hematopoiesis but cooperate to attain full Jak2/Stat5 activation. In conclusion, activated Stat5 is a critical downstream effector of Jak2 in erythropoiesis/myelopoiesis, and Jak2 functionally links cytokine- with c-Kit-receptor tyrosine kinase signaling.