GATA2 plays a crucial role for the mast cell fate decision. We herein demonstrate that GATA2 is also required for the maintenance of the cellular identity in committed mast cells derived from mouse bone marrow (BMMCs). The deletion of the GATA2 DNA binding domain (GATA2ΔCF) in BMMCs resulted in a loss of the mast cell phenotype and an increase in the number of CD11b- and/or Ly6G/C-positive cells. These cells showed the ability to differentiate into macrophage- and neutrophil-like cells but not into eosinophils. Although the mRNA levels of basophil-specific genes were elevated, CD49b, a representative basophil marker, never appeared on these cells. GATA2 ablation led to a significant upregulation of C/EBPα, and forced expression of C/EBPα in wild-type BMMCs phenocopied the GATA2ΔCF cells. Interestingly, simultaneous deletion of the Gata2 and Cebpa genes in BMMCs restored the aberrant increases of CD11b and Ly6G/C while retaining the reduced c-Kit expression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays indicated that GATA2 directly binds to the 137-kb region of the Cebpa gene and thereby inhibits the RUNX1 and PU.1 binding to the neighboring region. Upregulation of C/EBPα following the loss of GATA2 was not observed in cultured mast cells derived from peritoneal fluid, whereas the repression of c-Kit and other mast cell-specific genes were observed in these cells. Collectively, these results indicate that GATA2 maintains cellular identity by preventing Cebpa gene activation in a subpopulation of mast cells, whereas it plays a fundamental role as a positive regulator of mast cell-specific genes throughout development of this cell lineage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology