SEC23B mutations in humans result in the autosomal recessive disease Congenital Dyserythropoietic Anemia type-II (CDAII). CDAII is characterized by moderate anemia in increased bone marrow (BM) bi/multi-nucleated erythroblasts. Despite the identification of the genetic defect underlying CDAII, the pathophysiology of this disease remains unknown. SEC23A and SEC23B are paralogous components of the coat protein complex II (COPII)-coated vesicles, which transport secretory proteins from the Endoplasmic Reticulum to the Golgi apparatus. We generated SEC23B-deficient mice and demonstrated that these animals die perinatally exhibiting massive pancreatic degeneration (Tao et. al PNAS). To examine the impact of SEC23B-deficiency on adult murine hematopoiesis, we harvested fetal liver cells (FLC), which contain hematopoietic stem cells, from SEC23B-deficient or wild-type (WT) control E17.5 embryos and transplanted them into lethally irradiated C57BL/6J mice. Recipients of SEC23B-deficient FLC did not exhibit anemia or any other CDAII characteristic (Khoriaty et. al, Mol Cell Biol), and SEC23B deficient FLC competed effectively with WT FLC at reconstituting hematopoiesis when transplanted into lethally irradiated recipient mice (Khoriaty et. al, Mol Cell Biol). A Sec23bfl conditional-allele was also generated. Mice with hematopoietic-specific SEC23B-deficiency, generated by crossing Vav1-Cre into Sec23bfl mice, also exhibited normal hematopoiesis. In contrast, mice with pancreas-specific Sec23b deficiency generated by crossing the Sec23bfl allele to a p48-Cre or Pdx1-Cre resulted in a phenotype indistinguishable from complete SEC23B-deficiency, demonstrating that loss of pancreatic Sec23b expression is sufficient to explain the perinatal lethality of SEC23B-deficient mice. To investigate different phenotypes of SEC23B deficiency in humans and mice, the SEC23B/SEC23A expression ratio was examined in murine and human tissues. This ratio is higher in mouse pancreas (12.7) compared to BM (2.6), whereas it is higher in human BM (7.8) relative to pancreas (5.5). Taken together with the high degree of amino-acid identity between SEC23A and SEC23B (~85%), these data suggest that the tissue-specific functions of SEC23A and SEC23B have shifted during evolution between humans and mice. To determine if Sec23a can rescue the lethality of SEC23B-deficient mice, we have engineered Sec23a cDNA into the endogenous genomic locus of Sec23b (Sec23A-B) via recombinase-mediated cassette exchange. A heterozygous Sec23A-B intercross is in progress. Rescue of the SEC23B deficient phenotype by SEC23A protein expressed under control of Sec23b regulatory sequences would suggest that increasing the expression of either paralog in erythroid cells might be effective in the treatment of CDAII.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.