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Blood. 2007 Nov 1;110(9):3417-25. Epub 2007 Aug 3.

EKLF and KLF2 have compensatory roles in embryonic beta-globin gene expression and primitive erythropoiesis.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics, and Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, 401 College Street, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.


The Krüppel-like C2/H2 zinc finger transcription factors (KLFs) control development and differentiation. Erythroid Krüppel-like factor (EKLF or KLF1) regulates adult beta-globin gene expression and is necessary for normal definitive erythropoiesis. KLF2 is required for normal embryonic Ey- and betah1-, but not adult betaglobin, gene expression in mice. Both EKLF and KLF2 play roles in primitive erythroid cell development. To investigate potential interactions between these genes, EKLF/KLF2 double-mutant embryos were analyzed. EKLF(-/-)KLF2(-/-) mice appear anemic at embryonic day 10.5 (E10.5) and die before E11.5, whereas single-knockout EKLF(-/-) or KLF2(-/-) embryos are grossly normal at E10.5 and die later than EKLF(-/-)KLF2(-/-) embryos. At E10.5, Ey- and betah1-globin mRNA is greatly reduced in EKLF(-/-)KLF2(-/-), compared with EKLF(-/-) or KLF2(-/-) embryos, consistent with the observed anemia. Light and electron microscopic analyses of E9.5 EKLF(-/-)KLF2(-/-) yolk sacs, and cytospins, indicate that erythroid and endothelial cells are morphologically more abnormal than in either single knockout. EKLF(-/-)KLF2(-/-) erythroid cells are markedly irregularly shaped, suggesting membrane abnormalities. EKLF and KLF2 may have coordinate roles in a common progenitor to erythroid and endothelial cells. The data indicate that EKLF and KLF2 have redundant functions in embryonic beta-like globin gene expression, primitive erythropoiesis, and endothelial development.

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