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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

12 Issues per year



A Novel Way to Induce Erythroid Progenitor Self Renewal: Cooperation of c-Kit with the Erythropoietin Receptor

O. Wessely / A. Bauer / C. Tran Quang / E.-M. Deiner / M. von Lindern / G. Mellitzer / P. Steinlein / J. Ghysdael / H. Beug

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 380, Issue 2, Pages 187–202, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/BC.1999.027, June 2005

Publication History

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Red blood cells are of vital importance for oxygen transport in vertebrates. Thus, their formation during development and homeostasis requires tight control of both progenitor proliferation and terminal red cell differentiation. Self renewal (i.e. long-term proliferation without differentiation) of committed erythroid progenitors has recently been shown to contribute to this regulation. Avian erythroid progenitors expressing the EGF receptor/c-ErbB (SCF/TGFα progenitors) can be induced to long-term proliferation by the c-ErbB ligand transforming growth factor α and the steroids estradiol and dexamethasone. These progenitors have not yet been described in mammals and their factor requirements are untypical for adult erythroid progenitors. Here we describe a second, distinct type of erythroid progenitor (EpoR progenitors) which can be established from freshly isolated bone marrow and is induced to self renew by ligands relevant for erythropoiesis, i.e. erythropoietin, stem cell factor, the ligand for c-Kit and the glucocorticoid receptor ligand dexamethasone. Limiting dilution cloning indicates that these EpoR progenitors are derived from normal BFU-E/CFU-E. For a detailed study, mEpoR progenitors were generated by retroviral expression of the murine Epo receptor in bone marrow erythroblasts. These progenitors carry out the normal erythroid differentiation program in recombinant differentiation factors only. We show that mEpoR progenitors are more mature than SCF/TGFα progenitors and also do no longer respond to transforming growth factor α and estradiol. In contrast they are now highly sensitive to low levels of thyroid hormone, facilitating their terminal maturation into erythrocytes.

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