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Blood. 1999 Jul 1;94(1):87-96.

GATA-1 and erythropoietin cooperate to promote erythroid cell survival by regulating bcl-xL expression.

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  • 1Ontogeny, Inc, Cambridge, MA 02138-1118, USA.


The transcription factor GATA-1 is essential for normal erythropoiesis. By examining in vitro-differentiated embryonic stem cells, we showed previously that in the absence of GATA-1, committed erythroid precursors fail to complete maturation and instead undergo apoptosis. The mechanisms by which GATA-1 controls cell survival are unknown. Here we report that in erythroid cells, GATA-1 strongly induces the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein bcl-xL, but not the related proteins bcl-2 and mcl-1. Consistent with a role for bcl-xL in mediating GATA-1-induced erythroid cell survival, in vitro-differentiated bcl-xL-/- embryonic stem cells fail to generate viable mature definitive erythroid cells, a phenotype resembling that of GATA-1 gene disruption. In addition, we show that erythropoietin, which is also required for erythroid cell survival, cooperates with GATA-1 to stimulate bcl-xL gene expression and to maintain erythroid cell viability during terminal maturation. Together, our data show that bcl-xL is essential for normal erythroid development and suggest a regulatory hierarchy in which bcl-xL is a critical downstream effector of GATA-1 and erythropoietin-mediated signals.

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