In vivo deletion of the cebpa +37 kb enhancer markedly reduces cebpa mRNA in myeloid progenitors but not in non- hematopoietic tissues to impair granulopoiesis

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The murine Cebpa gene contains a +37 kb, evolutionarily conserved 440 bp enhancer that directs high-level expression to myeloid progenitors in transgenic mice. The enhancer is bound and activated by Runx1, Scl, GATA2, C/EBPα, c-Myb, Pu.1, and additional Ets factors in myeloid cells. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated replacement of the wild-type enhancer with a variant mutant in its seven Ets sites leads to 20-fold reduction of Cebpa mRNA in the 32Dcl3 myeloid cell line. To determine the effect of deleting the enhancer in vivo, we now characterize C57BL/6 mice in which loxP sites flank a 688 bp DNA segment containing the enhancer. CMV-Cre mediated germline deletion resulted in diminution of the expected number of viable Enh(f/f);CMV-Cre offspring, with 28-fold reduction in marrow Cebpa mRNA but normal levels in liver, lung, adipose, intestine, muscle, and kidney. Cre-transduction of lineage- negative marrow cells in vitro reduced Cebpa mRNA 12-fold, with impairment of granulocytic maturation, morphologic blast accumulation, and IL-3 dependent myeloid colony replating for >12 generations. Exposure of Enh(f/f);Mx1-Cre mice to pIpC led to 14-fold reduction of Cebpa mRNA in GMP or CMP, 30-fold reduction in LSK, and <2-fold reduction in the LSK/SLAM subset. FACS analysis of marrow from these mice revealed 10-fold reduced neutrophils, 3-fold decreased GMP, and 3-fold increased LSK cells. Progenitor cell cycle progression was mildly impaired. Granulocyte and B lymphoid colony forming units were reduced while monocytic and erythroid colonies were increased, with reduced Pu.1 and Gfi1 and increased Egr1 and Klf4 in GMP. Finally, competitive transplantation indicated preservation of functional long-term hematopoietic stem cells upon enhancer deletion and confirmed marrow-intrinsic impairment of granulopoiesis and B cell generation with LSK and monocyte lineage expansion. These findings demonstrate a critical role for the +37 kb Cebpa enhancer for hematopoietic-specific Cebpa expression, with enhancer deletion leading to impaired myelopoiesis and potentially preleukemic progenitor expansion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0150809
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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