Megakaryocytic-erythroid progenitors (MEPs) give rise to the cells that produce red blood cells and platelets. Although the mechanisms underlying megakaryocytic (MK) and erythroid (E) maturation have been described, those controlling their specification from MEPs are unknown. Single-cell RNA sequencing of primary human MEPs, common myeloid progenitors (CMPs), megakaryocyte progenitors, and E progenitors revealed a distinct transitional MEP signature. Inferred regulatory transcription factors (TFs) were associated with differential expression of cell cycle regulators. Genetic manipulation of selected TFs validated their role in lineage specification and demonstrated coincident modulation of the cell cycle. Genetic and pharmacologic modulation demonstrated that cell cycle activation is sufficient to promote E versus MK specification. These findings, obtained from healthy human cells, lay a foundation to study the mechanisms underlying benign and malignant disease states of the megakaryocytic and E lineages.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.