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Stem Cells. 2001;19(2):125-33.

The role of C/EBP(epsilon) in the terminal stages of granulocyte differentiation.

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The Laboratory of Host Defenses, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


As a consequence of its characterization using both in vitro and knockout mouse models, the myeloid-specific transcription factor, CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP)epsilon, has been identified as a critical regulator of terminal granulopoiesis and one of the causative mutations in the human disease, neutrophil-specific granule deficiency. C/EBPs are a family of transcription factors sharing numerous structural and functional features and to date include C/EBPalpha, -beta, -gamma, -delta, -epsilon, and -zeta. C/EBPalpha was the first family member isolated and characterized, its essential role in hepatocyte and adipocyte differentiation demonstrated in knockout mouse models. Subsequent analysis of the hematopoietic elements in fetal mouse liver revealed its critical role in myelopoiesis. Understanding the role of C/EBPepsilon in terminal granulopoiesis in the context of other known transcription factors is ongoing with analysis of deficient and conditionally expressing cell lines and knockout models. Mouse models with targeted gene disruptions have contributed greatly to our understanding of the transcriptional regulation of granulopoiesis. Further manipulation of these models and other conditional expression systems have bypassed some of the limitations of knockout models and helped delineate the interactions of different transcription factors in affecting granulocyte development. Phenotypic expression of the loss of C/EBPepsilon in mice is extreme, resembling absolute neutropenia with systemic infection with P. aeruginosa. Future work will need to explore the regulation of C/EBPepsilon expression, its functional interactions with other transcriptional regulators such as PU.1, and its role in monocyte differentiation and function in the mouse.

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