Enforced expression of the GATA-2 transcription factor blocks normal hematopoiesis

Derek A. Persons, James A. Allay, Esther R. Allay, Richard A. Ashmun, Donald Orlic, Stephen M. Jane, John M. Cunningham, Arthur W. Nienhuis

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198 Citations (Scopus)


The zinc finger transcription factor GATA-2 is highly expressed in immature hematopoietic cells and declines with blood cell maturation. To investigate its role in normal adult hematopoiesis, a bicistronic retroviral vector encoding GATA-2 and the green fluorescent protein (GFP) was used to maintain the high levels of GATA-2 that are normally present in primitive hematopoietic cells. Coexpression of the GFP marker facilitated identification and quantitation of vector-expressing cells. Bone marrow cells transduced with the GATA-2 vector expressed GFP as judged by flow cytometry and GATA-2 as assessed by immunoblot analysis. A 50% to 80% reduction in hematopoietic progenitor-derived colony formation was observed with GATA- 2/GFP-transduced marrow, compared with marrow transduced with a GFP- containing vector lacking the GATA-2 cDNA. Culture of purified populations of GATA-2/GFP-expressing and nonexpressing cells confirmed a specific ablation of the colony-forming ability of GATA-2/GFP-expressing progenitor cells. Similarly, loss of spleen colony-forming ability was observed for GATA- 2/GFP-expressing bone marrow cells. Despite enforced GATA-2 expression, marrow cells remained viable and were negative in assays to evaluate apoptosis. Although efficient transduction of primitive Sca-1+ Lin- cells was observed with the GATA-2/GFP vector, GATA-2/GFP-expressing stem cells failed to substantially contribute to the multilineage hematopoietic reconstitution of transplanted mice. Additionally, mice transplanted with purified, GATA-2/GFP-expressing cells showed post-transplant cytopenias and decreased numbers of total and gene-modified bone marrow Sca-1+ Lin- cells. Although Sca-1+ Lin- bone marrow cells expressing the GATA-2/GFP vector were detected after transplantation, no appreciable expansion in their numbers occurred. In contrast, control GFP-expressing Sca-1+ Lin- cells expanded at least 40-fold after transplantation. Thus, enforced expression of GATA-2 in pluripotent hematopoietic cells blocked both their amplification and differentiation. There appears to be a critical dose-dependent effect of GATA-2 on blood cell differentiation in that downregulation of GATA-2 expression is necessary for stem cells to contribute to hematopoiesis in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-499
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes

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