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Blood. 2002 Jun 15;99(12):4406-12.

Induction of granulocytic differentiation by 2 pathways.

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Harvard Institutes of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The CCAAT enhancer binding protein alpha (C/EBP alpha) transcription factor plays a critical role in granulocytopoiesis. Mice with a disruption of the C/EBP alpha gene demonstrate an early block in granulocytic differentiation, and disruption of C/EBP alpha function is a common theme in many types of human acute myelogenous leukemia, which is characterized by a block in myeloid development. To characterize further the nature of this block, we derived cell lines from the fetal liver of C/EBP alpha-deficient animals. These lines resembled morphologically the immature myeloid blasts observed in C/EBP alpha(-/-) fetal livers and did not express messenger RNA encoding early myeloid genes such as myeloperoxidase. Similarly, granulocytic markers such as Mac-1 and Gr-1 were not expressed; nor were erythroid and lymphoid surface antigens. Introduction of an inducible C/EBP alpha gene into the line revealed that conditional expression of C/EBP alpha induced the C/EBP family members C/EBP beta and C/EBP epsilon and subsequent granulocyte differentiation. Similar results were obtained when C/EBP alpha(-/-) cells were stimulated with the cytokines interleukin-3 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, but not with all-trans retinoic acid, supporting a model of at least 2 pathways leading to the differentiation of myeloid progenitors to granulocytes and implicating induction of other C/EBP family members in granulopoiesis.

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