Previously, we showed that the co-repressor CoREST (Rcor1) is essential for the maturation of definitive erythroid cells in the mouse fetal liver. To elucidate Rcor1’s function in multilineage hematopoiesis in the adult, we conditionally deleted Rcor1 using Mx1-Cre. The loss of Rcor1 expression in hematopoietic cells led to the rapid onset of a severe anemia due to a complete block of erythropoiesis downstream of committed erythroid progenitors. By contrast, the production of megakaryocyte progenitors, megakaryocyte maturation and platelets were maintained. In the myelomonocytic lineages, although neutrophil differentiation was completely abrogated, the number of monocytic cells was significantly increased, resulting in a peripheral blood leukocytosis and monocytic infiltrations in the liver. Rcor1-deficient monocytes showed a 66% reduction in apoptosis and possessed ~100-fold more CFU-M activity than control cells. The CFU-M derived from Rcor1 deficient bone marrow could be serially replated up to 5 times; however, replating activity was entirely cytokine dependent. Defective myelomonocytic differentiation persisted following transplantation into wild type hosts for up to 12 months but did not progress to leukemia. To begin to understand at the molecular level how Rcor1 regulates monocyte expansion, we evaluated the expression levels of genes whose ectopic expression is associated with myeloid neoplasia. In Rcor1-deficient monocytes, Gata2, Meis1 and Hoxa9 were overexpressed by 8- to 200-fold. Taken together, these data demonstrate that Rcor1 is essential for both erythroid and myelomonocytic differentiation and that its loss of function causes significant myelodysplasia.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.