E-cadherin is regulated by GATA-2 and marks the early commitment of mouse hematopoietic progenitors to the basophil and mast cell fates

Sci Immunol. 2021 Feb 5;6(56):eaba0178. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aba0178.


E-cadherin is a calcium-dependent cell-cell adhesion molecule extensively studied for its involvement in tissue formation, epithelial cell behavior, and suppression of cancer. However, E-cadherin expression in the hematopoietic system has not been fully elucidated. Combining single-cell RNA-sequencing analyses and immunophenotyping, we revealed that progenitors expressing high levels of E-cadherin and contained within the granulocyte-monocyte progenitors (GMPs) fraction have an enriched capacity to differentiate into basophils and mast cells. We detected E-cadherin expression on committed progenitors before the expression of other reported markers of these lineages. We named such progenitors pro-BMPs (pro-basophil and mast cell progenitors). Using RNA sequencing, we observed transcriptional priming of pro-BMPs to the basophil and mast cell lineages. We also showed that GATA-2 directly regulates E-cadherin expression in the basophil and mast cell lineages, thus providing a mechanistic connection between the expression of this cell surface marker and the basophil and mast cell fate specification.