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Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Sep;25(17):7412-22.

Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt induced by erythropoietin renders the erythroid differentiation factor GATA-1 competent for TIMP-1 gene transactivation.

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  • 1Department of d'Hématologie, Institute Cochin, INSERM U56, CNRS UMR 8104, Université René Descartes Hospital Cochin, Paris, France.


The contribution of erythropoietin to the differentiation of the red blood cell lineage remains elusive, and the demonstration of a molecular link between erythropoietin and the transcription of genes associated with erythroid differentiation is lacking. In erythroid cells, expression of the tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase (TIMP-1) is strictly dependent on erythropoietin. We report here that erythropoietin regulates the transcription of the TIMP-1 gene upon binding to its receptor in erythroid cells by triggering the activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt. We found that Akt directly phosphorylates the transcription factor GATA-1 at serine 310 and that this site-specific phosphorylation is required for the transcriptional activation of the TIMP-1 promoter. This chain of events can be recapitulated in nonerythroid cells by transfection of the implicated molecular partners, resulting in the expression of the normally silent endogenous TIMP-1 gene. Conversely, TIMP-1 secretion is profoundly decreased in erythroid cells from fetal livers of transgenic knock-in mice homozygous for a GATA(S310A) gene, which encodes a GATA-1 mutant that cannot be phosphorylated at Ser(310). Furthermore, retrovirus-mediated expression of GATA(S310A) into GATA-1(null)-derived embryonic stem cells decreases the rate of hemoglobinization by more than 50% compared to expressed wild-type GATA-1. These findings provide the first example of a chain of coupling mechanisms between the binding of erythropoietin to its receptor and GATA-1-dependent gene expression.

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