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1080 Early Response Transcription Factors in Erythroid Regeneration

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 101. Red Cells and Erythropoiesis, Excluding Iron: Poster I
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Fundamental Science, Research, Translational Research, bioinformatics, hematopoiesis, cell expansion, Biological Processes, molecular biology, Technology and Procedures, Study Population, Animal model, molecular testing
Saturday, December 9, 2023, 5:30 PM-7:30 PM

Yichao Zhou and Kyle J Hewitt, PhD

Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE

Acute anemia activates distinct mechanisms from physiological erythropoiesis to increase red blood cell production. While erythroid regeneration in this context requires some critical cytokines (e.g., BMP-4), little is known about transcription factors (TFs) connecting growth factor stimulation to anemia-specific gene expression and cellular responses. We previously discovered that GATA1 and TAL1 control a cohort of composite cis-elements which are anemia-activated in erythroid progenitors and precursors during regeneration. Intriguingly, cis-regulatory activity and gene activation at these loci are delayed by several days following initial anemia onset by the red blood cell lysing chemical phenylhydrazine. This delay suggested that these elements were utilized for erythroid precursor expansion but not activation. We hypothesize that distinct TF mechanisms are early responders to erythroid regeneration.

To identify early anemia response TFs, we compared transcript levels in mouse spleen Kit+ erythroid progenitors at days 0 and 1 post-anemia (anemia upregulated genes; p<0.05, fold change>1.5). Among upregulated genes, only 10 were TFs, and 3 of them (Jun, Junb, Fos) are components of Activator protein 1 (AP-1) transcription factor. All 3 transcripts were subsequently downregulated at 3 days after anemia. In physiological hematopoiesis, AP-1 is highly expressed in most cells but low within the erythroid lineage. These findings suggested transient anemia-activated AP-1 may initiate erythroid regeneration. While AP-1 is a big family, only JUN and FOS family exhibited transient anemia-activation. Genes containing AP-1 binding motifs were cell intrinsically upregulated post-anemia in Jun and Fos-expressing cells. To determine Jun TF activity in anemia, we performed phospho-flow cytometry in Lin- spleen cells from mice after inducing anemia. We discovered that at Day 1 vs Control, the median fluorescence intensity (MFI) of Kit+CD71+Ter119+ cells stained with total Jun or phospho-Jun (p-Jun) antibodies increased 2.0-fold (p=0.03) and 2.9-fold (p=0.04), respectively. Concurring with transcript levels, both total and p-Jun protein increased between 6- and 24-hours post-anemia and decreased at 72 hours. These changes post-anemia were absent in non-erythroid (CD71-Ter119-) and Kit- cells. These data demonstrated a transient increase in JUN TF activity early during the anemia response in erythroid progenitor/precursors.

AP-1 activity is commonly elevated in response to a variety of stressors, including hypoxia and inflammation. Given the limited sets of transcripts upregulated at early anemia time points, direct AP-1 targets may be required for establishing an anemia-dependent transcriptome. To identify AP-1 target genes in erythroid regeneration, we selected genetic loci nearby (distance <100kb) AP-1-occupied cis-elements in human erythroleukemia (K562) or mouse erythroid progenitor cells (GEO: GSE31477, 208960, 170378, 172818). 50 potential AP-1 target genes were upregulated in stress erythroid precursors on day 3 vs day 1 post-anemia. Seven anemia-regulated transcription factors (SOX6, E2F2, TAL1, TFDP2, FOXO3, GFI1B, MAFG) reside at loci containing candidate AP-1 cis-elements. The T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia-1 (TAL1) TF cooperates with GATA1 at E-box-GATA composite cis-elements to promote transcription of a number of erythroid-specific genes, several of which are needed for effective erythroid regeneration. Knockdown approaches will be used to test whether Jun expression and activity promotes the anemia-dependent transcriptome, stress erythroid precursor differentiation, and cell survival during erythroid regeneration. Given that Jun can be activated by BMP-4 signaling via the Jun kinase (JNK) pathway, and the requirement for BMP-4 in erythroid regeneration, we are investigating whether BMP-4 stimulation (or other cytokines) phosphorylates Jun to establish the regenerative transcriptome at early time points post-anemia. These studies will improve our understanding of transcriptional mechanisms driving erythroid regenerative responses, which can be useful for identifying new therapeutic targets for acute/chronic anemias.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH