A recessive mutation named Justy was found that abolishes B lymphopoiesis but does not impair other major aspects of hematopoiesis. Transplantation experiments showed that homozygosity for Justy prevented hematopoietic progenitors from generating B cells but did not affect the ability of bone marrow stroma to support B lymphopoiesis. In bone marrow from mutant mice, common lymphoid progenitors and pre-pro-B cells appeared normal, but cells at subsequent stages of B lymphopoiesis were dramatically reduced in number. Under culture conditions that promoted B lymphopoiesis, mutant pre-pro-B cells remained alive and began expressing the B cell marker CD19 but failed to proliferate. In contrast, these cells were able to generate myeloid or T/NK precursors. Genetic and molecular analysis demonstrated that Justy is a point mutation within the Gon4-like (Gon4l) gene, which encodes a protein with homology to transcriptional regulators. This mutation was found to disrupt Gon4l pre-mRNA splicing and dramatically reduce expression of wild-type Gon4l RNA and protein. Consistent with a role for Gon4l in transcriptional regulation, the levels of RNA encoding C/EBPα and PU.1 were abnormally high in mutant B cell progenitors. Our findings indicate that the Gon4l protein is required for B lymphopoiesis and may function to regulate gene expression during this process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy