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      A novel mechanism of cooperation between c-Kit and erythropoietin receptor. Stem cell factor induces the expression of Stat5 and erythropoietin receptor, resulting in efficient proliferation and survival by erythropoietin.

      The Journal of Biological Chemistry

      Animals, Apoptosis, drug effects, Cell Division, Cell Line, Cell Survival, DNA-Binding Proteins, metabolism, Erythroid Precursor Cells, cytology, physiology, Erythroid-Specific DNA-Binding Factors, Erythropoietin, pharmacology, GATA1 Transcription Factor, Gene Expression Regulation, Milk Proteins, Models, Biological, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2, genetics, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit, Rats, Receptors, Erythropoietin, Recombinant Proteins, Repressor Proteins, STAT5 Transcription Factor, Stem Cell Factor, Trans-Activators, Transcription Factors, bcl-X Protein

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          Optimal production of red cells in vivo requires collaboration between c-Kit, erythropoietin receptor (Epo-R), and GATA-1. However, the mechanism(s) of collaboration remain unclear. Utilizing an embryonic stem cell-derived erythroid progenitor cell line from mice deficient in GATA-1, we have examined the role of c-Kit and Epo-R in erythroid cell proliferation, survival, and differentiation. In the absence of GATA-1, we demonstrate an essential role for c-Kit in survival and proliferation of erythroid progenitors via the regulation of Bcl-2 expression. In addition, we demonstrate that Epo-R and Stat5 are regulated by a second, novel mechanism. We demonstrate that c-Kit stimulation by stem cell factor is essential for the maintenance of Epo-R and Stat5 protein expression, which results in significantly enhanced Bcl-x(L) induction and survival of erythroid progenitors in response to Epo stimulation. Restoration of GATA-1 function results in terminal erythroid maturation and up-regulation of Epo-R and Bcl-x(L) expression, leading also to significantly enhanced survival of terminally differentiating erythroid progenitors in the presence of only Epo. These results demonstrate that c-Kit and Epo-R have unique role(s) during distinct phases of erythroid maturation, and both stem cell factor and Epo contribute to the regulation of the Epo-R-Stat5-Bcl-x(L) pathway to ensure optimal survival, proliferation, and differentiation of erythroid progenitors.

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