The Ikaros gene (Ikzf1) encodes a family of zinc-finger transcription factors implicated in hematopoietic cell differentiation. Here we show that Ikaros suppresses the development of basophils, which are proinflammatory cells of the myeloid lineage. In the absence of extrinsic basophil-inducing signals, Ikaros-/- (Ik-/-) mice exhibit increases in basophil numbers in blood and bone marrow and in their direct precursors in bone marrow and the spleen, as well as decreased numbers of intestinal mast cells. In vitro culture of Ik-/- bone marrow under mast cell differentiation conditions also results in predominance of basophils. Basophil expansion is associated with an increase in basophil progenitors, increased expression of Cebpa and decreased expression of mast cellspecifying genes Hes1 and microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (Mitf). Ikaros directly associates with regulatory sites within Cebpa and Hes1 and regulates the acquisition of permissive H3K4 tri-methylation marks at the Cebpa locus and reduces H3K4 tri-methylation at the Hes1 promoter. Ikaros blockade in cultured cells or transfer of Ik-/- bone marrow into irradiated Ik+/+ recipients also results in increased basophils confirming a cell-intrinsic effect of Ikaros on basophil development. We conclude that Ikaros is a suppressor of basophil differentiation under steady-state conditions and that it acts by regulating permissive chromatin modifications of Cebpa.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology