First published January 8, 2019 - More info
The development and function of stem and progenitor cells that produce blood cells are vital in physiology. GATA2 mutations cause GATA-2-deficiency syndrome involving immunodeficiency, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). GATA-2 physiological activities necessitate that it be strictly regulated, and cell type-specific enhancers fulfill this role. The +9.5 intronic enhancer harbors multiple conserved cis-elements, and germline mutations of these cis-elements are pathogenic in humans. Since mechanisms underlying how GATA2 enhancer disease mutations impact hematopoiesis and pathology are unclear, we generated mouse models of the enhancer mutations. While a multi-motif mutant was embryonic lethal, a single-nucleotide Ets motif mutant was viable, and steady-state hematopoiesis was normal. However, the Ets motif mutation abrogated stem/progenitor cell regeneration following stress. These results reveal a new mechanism in human genetics in which a disease predisposition mutation inactivates enhancer regenerative activity, while sparing developmental activity. Mutational sensitization to stress that instigates hematopoietic failure constitutes a paradigm for GATA-2-deficiency syndrome and other contexts of GATA-2-dependent pathogenesis.