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Blood. 2004 May 15;103(10):3615-23. Epub 2004 Jan 22.

PU.1 determines the self-renewal capacity of erythroid progenitor cells.

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Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CEDEX, France.


PU.1 is a hematopoietic-specific transcriptional activator that is absolutely required for the differentiation of B lymphocytes and myeloid-lineage cells. Although PU.1 is also expressed by early erythroid progenitor cells, its role in erythropoiesis, if any, is unknown. To investigate the relevance of PU.1 in erythropoiesis, we produced a line of PU.1-deficient mice carrying a green fluorescent protein reporter at this locus. We report here that PU.1 is tightly regulated during differentiation-it is expressed at low levels in erythroid progenitor cells and down-regulated upon terminal differentiation. Strikingly, PU.1-deficient fetal erythroid progenitors lose their self-renewal capacity and undergo proliferation arrest, premature differentiation, and apoptosis. In adult mice lacking one PU.1 allele, similar defects are detected following stress-induced erythropoiesis. These studies identify PU.1 as a novel and critical regulator of erythropoiesis and highlight the versatility of this transcription factor in promoting or preventing differentiation depending on the hematopoietic lineage.

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