Transcription factors are key regulators of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), yet the molecular mechanisms that control their expression are largely unknown. Previously, we demonstrated that expression of Scl/Tal1, a transcription factor required for the specification of HSCs, is controlled by Ets and GATA factors. Here we characterize the molecular mechanisms controlling expression of Lyl1, a paralog of Scl also required for HSC function. Two closely spaced promoters directed expression to hematopoietic progenitor, megakaryocytic, and endothelial cells in transgenic mice. Conserved binding sites required for promoter activity were bound in vivo by GATA-2 and the Ets factors Fli1, Elf1, Erg, and PU.1. However, despite coregulation of Scl and Lyl1 by the same Ets and GATA factors, Scl expression was initiated prior to Lyl1 in embryonic stem (ES) cell differentiation assays. Moreover, ectopic expression of Scl but not Lyl1 rescued hematopoietic differentiation in Scl-/- ES cells, thus providing a molecular explanation for the vastly different phenotypes of Scl-/- and Lyl1-/- mouse embryos. Furthermore, coregulation of Scl and Lyl1 later during development may explain the mild phenotype of Scl-/- adult HSCs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology