Developmental control mechanisms often utilize multimeric complexes containing transcription factors, coregulators, and additional non-DNA binding components. It is challenging to ascertain how such components contribute to complex function at endogenous loci. LMO2 (LIM-only protein 2) is a non-DNA binding transcriptional coregulator, and is an important regulator of hematopoietic stem cell development and erythropoiesis, as mice lacking this gene show defects in blood formation as well as fetal erythropoiesis (Warren et al. Cell. 1994). In the context of erythropoiesis, LMO2 has been demonstrated to be a part of multimetric complex, including master regulators of hematopoiesis (GATA-1 and SCL/TAL1), chromatin looping factor LDB1 and hematopoietic corepressor ETO2 (referred as GATA-SCL/TAL1 complex). As LMO2 controls hematopoiesis, its dysregulation is leukemogenic, and its influence on GATA factor function is still not evident, we investigated here the transcriptional regulatory mechanism via LMO2 in erythroid cells.
For LMO2 knockdown, anti-LMO2 siRNA (Thermo Scientific Dharmacon) and pGIPZ lentiviral shRNAmir system (Open Biosystems) were used. Western blotting and Quantitative ChIP analysis were performed using antibodies for GATA-1, LMO2 (abcam), GATA-2, TAL1 and LDB1 (Santa Cruz). To obtain human primary erythroblasts, CD34-positive cells isolated from cord blood were induced in liquid suspension culture. For transcription profiling, human whole expression array was used (Agilent), and the data was analyzed with GeneSpring GX software. To induce erythroid differentiation of K562 cells, hemin was treated at a concentration of 30 uM for 24h.
siRNA-mediated LMO2 knockdown in hemin-treated K562 cells results in significantly decreased ratio of benzidine-staining positive cells, suggesting that LMO2 has an important role in the erythroid differentiation of K562 cells. Next, we conducted microarray analysis to characterize LMO2 target gene ensemble in K562 cells. In contrast to the predominantly repressive role of LMO2 in murine G1E-ER-GATA-1 cells (Fujiwara et al. PNAS. 2010), the analyses (n = 2) demonstrated that 177 and 78 genes were upregulated and downregulated (>1.5-fold), respectively, in the LMO2-knockdowned K562 cells. Downregulated gene ensemble contained prototypical erythroid genes such as HBB and SLC4A1 (encodes erythrocyte membrane protein band 3). To test what percentages of LMO2-regulated genes could be direct target genes of GATA-1 in K562 cells, we merged the microarray results with ChIP-seq profile (n= 5,749, Fujiwara et al. Mol Cell. 2009), and demonstrated that 26.4% and 23.1% of upregulated and downregulated genes, respectively, contained significant GATA-1 peaks in their loci. Furthermore, whereas LMO2 knockdown in K562 cells did not affect the expression of GATA-1, GATA-2 and SCL/TAL1 based on quantitative RT-PCR as well as Western blotting, the knockdown resulted in the significantly decreased chromatin occupancy of GATA-1, GATA-2, SCL/TAL1 and LDB1 at beta-globin locus control region and SLC4A1 locus.
We subsequently analyzed the consequences of LMO2 knockdown in primary erythroblasts. Endogeneous LMO2 expression was upregulated along with the differentiation of cord blood cell-derived primary erythroblasts. shRNA-mediated knockdown of LMO2 in primary erythroblasts resulted in significant downregulation of HBB, HBA and SLC4A1.
Our results suggest that LMO2 contributes to the expression of GATA-1 target genes in a context-dependent manner, through modulating the assembly of the components of GATA-SCL/TAL1 complex at endogeneous loci.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.