GATA-1-dependent transcription is essential for erythroid differentiation and maturation. Suppression of programmed cell death is also thought to be critical for this process; however, the link between these two features of erythropoiesis has remained elusive. Here, we show that the POZ-Krüppel family transcription factor, LRF (also known as Zbtb7a/Pokemon), is a direct target of GATA1 and plays an essential antiapoptotic role during terminal erythroid differentiation. We find that loss of Lrf leads to lethal anemia in embryos, due to increased apoptosis of late-stage erythroblasts. This programmed cell death is Arf and p53 independent and is instead mediated by upregulation of the proapoptotic factor Bim. We identify Lrf as a direct repressor of Bim transcription. In strong support of this mechanism, genetic Bim loss delays the lethality of Lrf-deficient embryos and rescues their anemia phenotype. Thus, our data define a key transcriptional cascade for effective erythropoiesis, whereby GATA-1 suppresses BIM-mediated apoptosis via LRF.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology