Establishment of a screening system to identify novel GATA-2 transcriptional regulators

Keiichi Ohashi, Tohru Fujiwara, Koichi Onodera, Yo Saito, Satoshi Ichikawa, Masahiro Kobayashi, Yoko Okitsu, Noriko Fukuhara, Yasushi Onishi, Hideo Harigae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hematopoietic stem cells can self-renew and differentiate into all blood cell types. The transcription factor GATA-2 is expressed in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells and is essential for cell proliferation and differentiation. Heterozygous germline GATA2 mutations induce GATA-2 deficiency syndrome, characterized by monocytopenia, a predisposition to myelodysplasia and acute myeloid leukemia, and a profoundly reduced dendritic cell (DC) population, which is associated with increased susceptibility to viral infections. Because patients with GATA-2 deficiency syndrome could retain a wild-type copy of GATA-2, boosting residual wild-type GATA-2 activity may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for the disease. Here, we sought to establish a screening system to identify GATA-2 activators using human U937 monocytic cells as a potential model of the DC progenitor. Enforced GATA-2 expression in U937 cells induces CD205 expression, a marker of DC differentiation, indicating U937 cells as a surrogate of human primary DC progenitors. Transient luciferase reporter assays in U937 cells reveals a high promoter activity of the -0.5 kb GATA-2 hematopoietic-specific promoter (1S promoter) fused with two tandemly connected GATA-2 +9.9 kb intronic enhancers. We thus established U937-derived cell lines stably expressing tandem +9.9 kb/-0.5 kb 1S-luciferase. Importantly, forced GATA-1 expression, a repressor for GATA-2 expression, in the stable clones caused significant decreases in the luciferase activities. In conclusion, our system represents a potential tool for identifying novel regulators of GATA-2, thereby contributing to the development of novel therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-52
Number of pages12
JournalTohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1


  • Dendritic cells
  • GATA-1
  • GATA-2
  • GATA-2 deficiency syndrome
  • U937


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