The orphan nuclear receptors TR2 and TR4 have been shown to play key roles in repressing the embryonic and fetal globin genes in erythroid cells. However, combined germline inactivation of Tr2 and Tr4 leads to periimplantation lethal demise in inbred mice. Hence, we have previously been unable to examine the consequences of their dual loss of function in adult definitive erythroid cells. To circumvent this issue, we generated conditional null mutants in both genes and performed gene inactivation in vitro in adult bone marrow cells. Compound Tr2/Tr4 loss of function led to induced expression of the embryonic εy and βh1 globins (murine counterparts of the human ε- and γ-globin genes). Additionally, TR2/TR4 function is required for terminal erythroid cell maturation. Loss of TR2/TR4 abolished their occupancy on the εy and βh1 gene promoters, and concurrently impaired co-occupancy by interacting corepressors. These data strongly support the hypothesis that the TR2/TR4 core complex is an adult stage-specific, gene-selective repressor of the embryonic globin genes. Detailed mechanistic understanding of the roles of TR2/TR4 and their cofactors in embryonic and fetal globin gene repression may ultimately enhance the discovery of novel therapeutic agents that can effectively inhibit their transcriptional activity and be safely applied to the treatment of β-globinopathies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology