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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The glucocorticoid receptor is a key regulator of the decision between self-renewal and differentiation in erythroid progenitors.

During development and in regenerating tissues such as the bone marrow, progenitor cells constantly need to make decisions between proliferation and differentiation. We have used a model system, normal erythroid progenitors of the chicken, to determine the molecular players involved in making this decision. The molecules identified comprised receptor tyrosine kinases (c-Kit and c-ErbB) and members of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily (thyroid hormone receptor and estrogen receptor). Here we identify the glucocorticoid receptor ( GR) as a key regulator of erythroid progenitor self-renewal (i.e. continuous proliferation in the absence of differentiation). In media lacking a GR ligand or containing a GR antagonist, erythroid progenitors failed to self-renew, even if c-Kit, c-ErbB and the estrogen receptor were activated simultaneously. To induce self-renewal, the GR required the continuous presence of an activated receptor tyrosine kinase and had to cooperate with the estrogen receptor for full activity. Mutant analysis showed that DNA binding and a functional AF-2 transactivation domain are required for proliferation stimulation and differentiation arrest. c-myb was identified as a potential target gene of the GR in erythroblasts. It could be demonstrated that delta c-Myb, an activated c-Myb protein, can functionally replace the GR.[1]


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