[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Erythropoiesis strictly depends on signal transduction through the erythropoietin receptor (EpoR)-Janus kinase 2 (Jak2)-signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (Stat5) axis, regulating proliferation, differentiation, and survival. The exact role of the transcription factor Stat5 in erythropoiesis remained puzzling, however, since the first Stat5-deficient mice carried a hypomorphic Stat5 allele, impeding full phenotypical analysis. Using mice completely lacking Stat5--displaying early lethality--we demonstrate that these animals suffer from microcytic anemia due to reduced expression of the antiapoptotic proteins Bcl-x(L) and Mcl-1 followed by enhanced apoptosis. Moreover, transferrin receptor-1 (TfR-1) cell surface levels on erythroid cells were decreased more than 2-fold on erythroid cells of Stat5(-/-) animals. This reduction could be attributed to reduced transcription of TfR-1 mRNA and iron regulatory protein 2 (IRP-2), the major translational regulator of TfR-1 mRNA stability in erythroid cells. Both genes were demonstrated to be direct transcriptional targets of Stat5. This establishes an unexpected mechanistic link between EpoR/Jak/Stat signaling and iron metabolism, processes absolutely essential for erythropoiesis and life.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Terminal erythropoiesis is accompanied by extreme demand for iron to ensure proper hemoglobinization. Thus, erythroblasts must modify the "standard" post-transcriptional feedback regulation, balancing expression of ferritin (Fer; iron storage) versus transferrin receptor (TfR1; iron uptake) via specific mRNA binding of iron regulatory proteins (IRPs). Although erythroid differentiation involves high levels of incoming iron, TfR1 mRNA stability must be sustained and Fer mRNA translation must not be activated because iron storage would counteract hemoglobinization. Furthermore, translation of the erythroid-specific form of aminolevulinic acid synthase (ALAS-E) mRNA, catalyzing the first step of heme biosynthesis and regulated similarly as Fer mRNA by IRPs, must be ensured. We addressed these questions using mass cultures of primary murine erythroid progenitors from fetal liver, either undergoing sustained proliferation or highly synchronous differentiation. We indeed observed strong inhibition of Fer mRNA translation and efficient ALAS-E mRNA translation in differentiating erythroblasts. Moreover, in contrast to self-renewing cells, TfR1 stability and IRP mRNA binding were no longer modulated by iron supply. These and additional data stemming from inhibition of heme synthesis with succinylacetone or from iron overload suggest that highly efficient utilization of iron in mitochondrial heme synthesis during normal erythropoiesis alters the regulation of iron metabolism via the IRE/IRP system.