Key Points

  • We elucidate a previously unknown role of GPS2 in erythroid differentiation by using human CD34+ cells and GPS2 knockout mice.

  • GPS2 interacts with EKLF and prevents its degradation, providing a new understanding of the KLF1 insufficiency caused hematologic disorders.

Erythropoiesis is a complex multistage process that involves differentiation of early erythroid progenitors to enucleated mature red blood cells, in which lineage-specific transcription factors play essential roles. Erythroid Krüppel-like factor (EKLF/KLF1) is a pleiotropic erythroid transcription factor that is required for the proper maturation of the erythroid cells, whose expression and activation are tightly controlled in a temporal and differentiation stage-specific manner. Here, we uncover a novel role of G protein pathway suppressor 2 (GPS2), a subunit of the NCoR/SMRT nuclear receptor corepressor complex, in erythrocyte differentiation. Our study demonstrates that knockdown of GPS2 significantly suppresses erythroid differentiation of human CD34+ cells cultured in vitro and xenotransplanted in NOD/SCID/IL2Rγnull (NSG) mice. Moreover, global deletion of GPS2 in mice causes impaired erythropoiesis in the fetal liver and leads to severe anemia. Flow cytometric analysis and Wright-Giemsa staining show a defective differentiation at late stages of erythropoiesis in Gps2−/− embryos. Mechanistically, GPS2 interacts with EKLF and prevents proteasome-mediated degradation of EKLF, thereby increases EKLF stability and transcriptional activity. Moreover, we identify the amino acids 191-230 region in EKLF protein, responsible for GPS2 binding, that is highly conserved in mammals and essential for EKLF protein stability. Collectively, our study uncovers a previously unknown role of GPS2 as a post-translational regulator which enhances the stability of EKLF protein and thereby promotes erythroid differentiation.

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