Expression of a constitutively active erythropoietin receptor in primary hematopoietic progenitors abrogates erythropoietin dependence and enhances erythroid colony-forming unit, erythroid burst-forming unit, and granulocyte/macrophage progenitor growth

Pamela N. Pharr, David Hankins, Ann Hofbauer, Harvey F. Lodish, Gregory D. Longmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We tested the ability of a constitutively activated erythropoietin receptor [EpoR(R129C)] to alter the growth requirements of primary hematopoietic precursors that terminally differentiate in culture. Two recombinant retroviruses expressing EpoR(R129C), spleen focus-forming virus (SFFVc-EpoR) and myeloproliferative sarcoma virus (MPSVcEpoR), were used to infect fetal liver cells that served as a source of hematopoietic progenitors. Methylcellulose cultures were incubated in the absence of any added growth factors or in combination with selected growth factors. EpoR(R129C) completely abrogated the Epo requirement of erythroid colony-forming units to form erythrocytes after 2-5 days in culture and did not interfere with the differentiation program of these cells. In the absence of added growth factors EpoR(R129C) did not enhance erythroid burst-forming unit development. In contrast to experiments in heterologous cell lines, EpoR(R129C) did not render progenitor cells independent of interleukin 3 or granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). However when progenitors were cultured with added steel factor, but not with interleukin 3 or GM-CSF, EpoR(R129C) augmented the growth and differentiation of erythroid bursts, mixed erythroid/myeloid, and granulocyte/macrophage (GM) colonies. Furthermore, both viruses were capable of expressing EpoR(R129C) in erythroid, mixed erythroid/myeloid, and GM colonies. Thus an aberrantly expressed and constitutively activated EpoR can stimulate proliferation of some GM progenitors. The ability of EpoR(R129C) to abrogate the Epo requirement of primary hematopoietic cells, but not the requirement for other cytokines, is consistent with the induction of erythroblastosis in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)938-942
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 1993


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Genetics

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