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Cell. 1999 Jul 23;98(2):181-91.

Fetal anemia and apoptosis of red cell progenitors in Stat5a-/-5b-/- mice: a direct role for Stat5 in Bcl-X(L) induction.

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Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA.


The erythropoietin receptor (EpoR) is essential for production of red blood cells; a principal function of EpoR is to rescue committed erythroid progenitors from apoptosis. Stat5 is rapidly activated following EpoR stimulation, but its function in erythropoiesis has been unclear since adult Stat5a-/-5b-/- mice have normal steady-state hematocrit. Here we show that Stat5 is essential for the high erythropoietic rate during fetal development. Stat5a-/-5b-/- embryos are severely anemic; erythroid progenitors are present in low numbers, show higher levels of apoptosis, and are less responsive to Epo. These findings are explained by a crucial role for Stat5 in EpoR's antiapoptotic signaling: it mediates the immediate-early induction of Bcl-X(L) in erythroid cells through direct binding to the Bcl-X promoter.

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