A regulatory circuit comprising GATA1/2 switch and microRNA-27a/24 promotes erythropoiesis

Nucleic Acids Res. 2014 Jan;42(1):442-57. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt848. Epub 2013 Sep 18.


Transcriptional networks orchestrate complex developmental processes, and such networks are commonly instigated by master regulators for development. By now, considerable progress has been made in elucidating GATA factor-dependent genetic networks that control red blood cell development. Here we reported that GATA-1 and GATA-2 co-regulated the expression of two microRNA genes, microRNA-27a and microRNA-24, with critical roles in regulating erythroid differentiation. In general, GATA-2 occupied the miR-27a≈24 promoter and repressed their transcription in immature erythroid progenitor cells. As erythropoiesis proceeded, GATA-1 directly activated miR-27a≈24 transcription, and this involved a GATA-1-mediated displacement of GATA-2 from chromatin, a process termed 'GATA switch'. Furthermore, the mature miR-27a and miR-24 cooperatively inhibited GATA-2 translation and favoured the occupancy switch from GATA-2 to GATA-1, thus completing a positive feedback loop to promote erythroid maturation. In line with the essential role of GATA factors, ectopic expression of miR-27a or miR-24 promoted erythropoiesis in human primary CD34+ haematopoietic progenitor cells and mice, whereas attenuated miR-27 or miR-24 level led to impaired erythroid phenotypes in haematopoietic progenitor cells and zebrafish. Taken together, these data integrated micro RNA expression and function into GATA factor coordinated networks and provided mechanistic insight into a regulatory circuit that comprised GATA1/2 switch and miR-27a/24 in erythropoiesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Erythroid Cells / metabolism
  • Erythropoiesis / genetics*
  • GATA1 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • GATA2 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • K562 Cells
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • MicroRNAs / biosynthesis
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Up-Regulation
  • Zebrafish / genetics


  • GATA1 Transcription Factor
  • GATA2 Transcription Factor
  • MIRN23a microRNA, human
  • MIRN24 microRNA, human
  • MIRN27 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs