A recurrent network involving the transcription factors PU.1 and Gfi1 orchestrates innate and adaptive immune cell fates.
ABSTRACT: The transcription factor PU.1, encoded by the Sfpi1 gene, functions in a graded manner to regulate macrophage versus B cell generation; its higher concentration favors the macrophage fate. We demonstrated that Gfi1 reciprocally promoted B cell fate choice at the expense of myeloid progeny. Gfi1(-/-) multipotential progenitors (MPPs) were unable to constrain the expression of PU.1 because Gfi1 functioned to repress the Sfpi1 gene by displacing PU.1 from positive autoregulatory elements. Attenuating a transcriptional module composed of PU.1 and Egr suppressed the B lineage developmental defects of Gfi1(-/-) MPPs. Finally Ikaros, a transcription factor required for B cell development, promoted Gfi1 and antagonized PU.1 expression in MPPs. Our results reveal that a core transcriptional regulatory network used for directing cell fate choice in the innate immune system has been co-opted by Ikaros to orchestrate B lymphocyte generation. These findings have important implications for the evolution of the adaptive immune system.
Project description:A regulatory circuit that controls myeloid versus B lymphoid cell fate in hematopoietic progenitors has been proposed, in which a network of the transcription factors Egr1/2, Nab, Gfi1 and PU.1 forms the core element. Here we show that a direct link between Gfi1, the transcription factor E2A and its inhibitor Id1 is a critical element of this regulatory circuit. Our data suggest that a certain threshold of Gfi1 is required to gauge E2A activity by adjusting levels of Id1 in multipotent progenitors, which are the first bipotential myeloid/lymphoid-restricted progeny of hematopoietic stem cells. If Gfi1 levels are high, Id1 is repressed enabling E2A to activate a specific set of B lineage genes by binding to regulatory elements for example the IL7 receptor gene. If Gfi1 levels fall below a threshold, Id1 expression increases and renders E2A unable to function, which prevents hematopoietic progenitors from engaging along the B lymphoid lineage.
Project description:PU.1, IKAROS, E2A, EBF, and PAX5 comprise a transcriptional network that orchestrates B-cell lineage specification, commitment, and differentiation. Here we identify interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8) as another component of this complex, and show that it also modulates lineage choice by hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). IRF8 binds directly to an IRF8/Ets consensus sequence located in promoter regions of Sfpi1 and Ebf1, which encode PU.1 and EBF, respectively, and is associated with transcriptional repression of Sfpi1 and transcriptional activation of Ebf1. Bone marrows of IRF8 knockout mice (IRF8(-/-)) had significantly reduced numbers of pre-pro-B cells and increased numbers of myeloid cells. Although HSCs of IRF8(-/-) mice failed to differentiate to B220(+) B-lineage cells in vitro, the defect could be rescued by transfecting HSCs with wild-type but not with a signaling-deficient IRF8 mutant. In contrast, overexpression of IRF8 in HSC-differentiated progenitor cells resulted in growth inhibition and apoptosis. We also found that IRF8 was expressed at higher levels in pre-pro-B cells than more mature B cells in wild-type mice. Together, these results indicate that IRF8 modulates lineage choice by HSCs and is part of the transcriptional network governing B-cell lineage specification, commitment, and differentiation.
Project description:Proper cell fate choice in myelopoiesis is essential for generating correct numbers of distinct myeloid subsets manifesting a wide spectrum of subset-specific activities during development and adulthood. Studies have suggested that myeloid fate choice is primarily regulated by transcription factors; however, new intrinsic regulators and their underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Zebrafish embryonic myelopoiesis gives rise to neutrophils and macrophages and represents a promising system to derive new regulatory mechanisms for myeloid fate decision in vertebrates. Here we present an in vivo study of cell fate specification during zebrafish embryonic myelopoiesis through characterization of the embryos with altered Pu.1, Runx1 activity alone, or their combinations. Genetic analysis shows that low and high Pu.1 activities determine embryonic neutrophilic granulocyte and macrophage fate, respectively. Inactivation and overexpression of Runx1 in zebrafish uncover Runx1 as a key embryonic myeloid fate determinant that favors neutrophil over macrophage fate. Runx1 is induced by high Pu.1 level and in turn transrepresses pu.1 expression, thus constituting a negative feedback loop that fashions a favorable Pu.1 level required for balanced fate commitment to neutrophils versus macrophages. Our findings define a Pu.1-Runx1 regulatory loop that governs the equilibrium between distinct myeloid fates by assuring an appropriate Pu.1 dosage.
Project description:The transcriptional repressor Gfi1 regulates the expression of genes important for survival, proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic cells. Gfi1 deficient mice are severely neutropenic and accumulate ill-defined CD11b(+)GR1(int) myeloid cells. Here we show that Gfi1 expression levels determine mono- or granulocytic lineage choice in precursor cells. In addition, we identify CD48 as a cell surface marker which enables a better definition of monocytes and granulocytes in mouse bone marrow. Using the CD48/Gr1/Gfi1 marker combination we can show that the CD11b(+)GR1(int) cells accumulating in Gfi1 deficient mice are monocytes and not granulocyte precursors. Expression of CD48, Gr1 and Gfi1 define different bone marrow subpopulations that are either committed to the granulocytic lineage, or bipotential precursors of granulocytes or monocytes. Finally, a comparison of genes differentially expressed between murine Gfi1 high granulocytic precursors and mature granulocytes with gene expression changes from human myeloblasts versus neutrophils show a strong resemblance of human and mouse differentiation pathways. This underlines the value of the markers CD48 and Gfi1 identified here to study human and murine granulo-monocytic differentiation.
Project description:Aproper choice of neutrophil-macrophage progenitor cell fate is essential for the generation of adequate myeloid subpopulations during embryonic development and in adulthood. The network governing neutrophil-macrophage progenitor cell fate has several key determinants, such as myeloid master regulators CCAAT enhancer binding protein alpha (C/EBP?) and spleen focus forming virus proviral integration oncogene (PU.1). Nevertheless, more regulators remain to be identified and characterized. To ensure balanced commitment of neutrophil-macrophage progenitors toward each lineage, the interplay among these determinants is not only synergistic, but also antagonistic. Depletion of interferon regulatory factor 2 binding protein 2b (Irf2bp2b), a well-known negative transcription regulator, results in a bias in neutrophil-macrophage progenitor cell fate in favor of macrophages at the expense of neutrophils during the stage of definitive myelopoiesis in zebrafish embryos. Mechanistic studies indicate that Irf2bp2b acts as a downstream target of C/EBP?, repressing PU.1 expression, and that SUMOylation confers the repressive function of Irf2bp2b. Thus, Irf2bp2b is a novel determinant in the choice of fate of neutrophil-macrophage progenitor cells.
Project description:Gfi1 is a zinc-finger transcriptional repressor that plays an important role in hematopoiesis. When aberrantly activated, Gfi1 may function as a weak oncoprotein in the lymphoid system, but collaborates strongly with c-Myc in lymphomagenesis. The mechanism by which Gfi1 collaborates with c-Myc in lymphomagenesis is incompletely understood. We show here that Gfi1 augmented the expression of c-Myc protein in cells transfected with c-Myc expression constructs. The N-terminal SNAG domain and C-terminal ZF domains of Gfi1, but not its transcriptional repression and DNA binding activities, were required for c-Myc upregulation. We further show that Gfi1 overexpression led to reduced polyubiquitination and increased stability of c-Myc protein. Interestingly, the levels of endogenous c-Myc mRNA and protein were augmented upon Gfi1 overexpression, but reduced following Gfi1 knockdown or knockout, which was associated with a decline in the expression of c-Myc-activated target genes. Consistent with its role in the regulation of c-Myc expression, Gfi1 promoted Myc-driven cell cycle progression and proliferation. Together, these data reveal a novel mechanism by which Gfi1 augments the biological function of c-Myc and may have implications for understanding the functional collaboration between Gfi1 and c-Myc in lymphomagenesis.
Project description:Gfi1 supports neutrophil development at the expense of monopoiesis, but the underlying molecular mechanism is incompletely understood. We recently showed that the G-CSFR Y729F mutant, in which tyrosine 729 was mutated to phenylalanine, promoted monocyte rather than neutrophil development in myeloid precursors, which was associated with prolonged activation of Erk1/2 and enhanced activation of c-Fos and Egr-1. We show here that Gfi1 inhibited the expression of c-Fos, Egr-1 and Egr-2, and rescued neutrophil development in cells expressing G-CSFR Y729F. Gfi1 directly bound to and repressed c-Fos and Egr-1, as has been shown for Egr-2, all of which are the immediate early genes (IEGs) of the Erk1/2 pathway. Interestingly, G-CSF- and M-CSF-stimulated activation of Erk1/2 was augmented in lineage-negative (Lin-) bone marrow (BM) cells from Gfi1-/- mice. Suppression of Erk1/2 signaling resulted in diminished expression of c-Fos, Egr-1 and Egr-2, and partially rescued the neutrophil development of Gfi1-/- BM cells, which are intrinsically defective for neutrophil development. Together, our data indicate that Gfi1 inhibits the expression of c-Fos, Egr-1 and Egr-2 through direct transcriptional repression and indirect inhibition of Erk1/2 signaling, and that Gfi1-mediated downregulation of c-Fos, Egr-1 and Egr-2 may contribute to the role of Gfi1 in granulopoiesis.
Project description:Growth factor independence genes (Gfi1 and Gfi1b) repress recombination activating genes (Rag) transcription in developing B lymphocytes. Because all blood lineages originate from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and different lineage progenitors have been shown to share transcription factor networks prior to cell fate commitment, we hypothesized that GFI family proteins may also play a role in repressing Rag transcription or a global lymphoid transcriptional program in other blood lineages. We tested the level of Rag transcription in various blood cells when Gfi1 and Gfi1b were deleted, and observed an upregulation of Rag expression in plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs). Using microarray analysis, we observed that Gfi1 and Gfi1b do not regulate a lymphoid or pDC-specific transcriptional program. This study establishes a role for Gfi1 and Gfi1b in Rag regulation in a non-B lineage cell type.
Project description:Therapy-related and more specifically radiotherapy-associated acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a well-recognized potential complication of cytotoxic therapy for the treatment of a primary cancer. The CBA mouse model is used to study radiation leukaemogenesis mechanisms with Sfpi1/PU.1 deletion and point mutation already identified as driving events during AML development. To identify new pathways, we analysed 123 mouse radiation-induced AML (rAML) samples for the presence of mutations identified previously in human AML and found three genes to be mutated; Sfpi1 R235 (68%), Flt3-ITD (4%) and Kras G12 (3%), of which G12R was previously unreported. Importantly, a significant decrease in Sfpi1 gene expression is found almost exclusively in rAML samples without an Sfpi1 R235 mutation and is specifically associated with up-regulation of mir-1983 and mir-582-5p. Moreover, this down-regulation of Sfpi1 mRNA is negatively correlated with DNA methylation levels at specific CpG sites upstream of the Sfpi1 transcriptional start site. The down regulation of Sfpi1/PU.1 has also been reported in human AML cases revealing one common pathway of myeloid disruption between mouse and human AML where dysregulation of Sfpi1/PU.1 is a necessary step in AML development.
Project description:Growth factor independence 1 (GFI1) is a DNA binding zinc finger protein, which can mediate transcriptional repression mainly by recruiting histone-modifying enzymes to its target genes. GFI1 plays important roles in hematopoiesis, in particular by regulating both the function of hematopoietic stem- and precursor cells and differentiation along myeloid and lymphoid lineages. In recent years, a number of publications have provided evidence that GFI1 is involved in the pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), its proposed precursor, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and possibly also in the progression from MDS to AML. For instance, expression levels of the GFI1 gene correlate with patient survival and treatment response in both AML and MDS and can influence disease progression and maintenance in experimental animal models. Also, a non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of GFI1, GFI1-36N, which encodes a variant GFI1 protein with a decreased efficiency to act as a transcriptional repressor, was found to be a prognostic factor for the development of AML and MDS. Both the GFI1-36N variant as well as reduced expression of the GFI1 gene lead to genome-wide epigenetic changes at sites where GFI1 occupies target gene promoters and enhancers. These epigenetic changes alter the response of leukemic cells to epigenetic drugs such as HDAC- or HAT inhibitors, indicating that GFI1 expression levels and genetic variants of GFI1 are of clinical relevance. Based on these and other findings, specific therapeutic approaches have been proposed to treat AML by targeting some of the epigenetic changes that occur as a consequence of GFI1 expression. Here, we will review the well-known role of Gfi1 as a transcription factor and describe the more recently discovered functions of GFI1 that are independent of DNA binding and how these might affect disease progression and the choice of epigenetic drugs for therapeutic regimens of AML and MDS.