PLoS biology

Direct binding of pRb/E2F-2 to GATA-1 regulates maturation and terminal cell division during erythropoiesis.

PMID 19513100


How cell proliferation subsides as cells terminally differentiate remains largely enigmatic, although this phenomenon is central to the existence of multicellular organisms. Here, we show that GATA-1, the master transcription factor of erythropoiesis, forms a tricomplex with the retinoblastoma protein (pRb) and E2F-2. This interaction requires a LXCXE motif that is evolutionary conserved among GATA-1 orthologs yet absent from the other GATA family members. GATA-1/pRb/E2F-2 complex formation stalls cell proliferation and steers erythroid precursors towards terminal differentiation. This process can be disrupted in vitro by FOG-1, which displaces pRb/E2F-2 from GATA-1. A GATA-1 mutant unable to bind pRb fails to inhibit cell proliferation and results in mouse embryonic lethality by anemia. These findings clarify the previously suspected cell-autonomous role of pRb during erythropoiesis and may provide a unifying molecular mechanism for several mouse phenotypes and human diseases associated with GATA-1 mutations.