Key Points

  • LncRNAs regulate erythroid differentiation through coordinating with chromatin accessibility.

  • The integrative multi-omics analysis reveals stage-specific regulatory association of lncRNAs and chromatin accessibility in erythropoiesis.

Erythroid differentiation is a dynamic process regulated by multiple factors, while the interaction between long non-coding RNAs and chromatin accessibility and its influence on erythroid differentiation remains unclear. To elucidate this interaction, we employed hematopoietic stem cells, multipotent progenitor cells, common myeloid progenitor cells, megakaryocyte-erythroid progenitor cells, and erythroblasts from human cord blood as an erythroid differentiation model to explore the coordinated regulatory functions of lncRNAs and chromatin accessibility by integrating RNA-Seq and ATAC-Seq data. We revealed that the integrated network of chromatin accessibility and lncRNAs exhibits stage-specific changes throughout the erythroid differentiation process, and that the changes at the EB stage of maturation are dramatic. We identified a subset of stage-specific lncRNAs and transcription factors (TFs) that associate with chromatin accessibility during erythroid differentiation, in which lncRNAs are key regulators of terminal erythroid differentiation via a lncRNA-TF-gene network. LncRNA PCED1B-AS1 was revealed to regulate terminal erythroid differentiation by coordinating GATA1 dynamically binding to the chromatin and interacting with cytoskeleton network during erythroid differentiation. DANCR, another lncRNA that is highly expressed at the MEP stage, was verified to promote erythroid differentiation by compromising megakaryocyte differentiation and coordinating with chromatin accessibility and TFs, such as RUNX1. Overall, our results identified the associated network of lncRNAs and chromatin accessibility in erythropoiesis and provide novel insights into erythroid differentiation and abundant resources for further study.

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