Identification of gene networks associated with erythroid differentiation.
ABSTRACT Erythropoiesis is a multistep process involving a large number of genes, which balance between proliferation, differentiation and survival of the erythroid cells. To understand the molecular mechanisms of erythropoiesis and related pathological aberrations, we analyzed three stages of in vitro differentiating human erythroid cells by expression profiling. We identified distinct clusters of genes, each with a unique expression pattern during differentiation. As JAK2 was shown to play a central role in myeloproliferative disorders, we focused on one cluster which includes JAK2 and other genes with high correlation to JAK2 expression. These genes had a low expression at the early erythroblast which increased in the intermediate stage and further slightly increased in the last stage of differentiation. Our results indicate that gene networks may associate with JAK2 expression in erythroid differentiation. It is intriguing to determine whether the pathogenesis of polycythemia vera (PV), harboring a common or uncommon JAK2 mutation, involves alterations in independent gene pathways that underlie the normal erythropoietic process.