The development of mature blood cells from hematopoietic stem cells is regulated by transcription factors that control and coordinate the expression of lineage-specific genes. The GATA family consists of six transcription factors that function in hematopoietic and endodermal development. Among them, GATA-1 is expressed in erythroid, megakaryocytic, eosinophil and mast cell lineages, and GATA-2 is expressed in stem and progenitor cells, at more immature stage compared with GATA-1. Based on the characteristic phenotypes of GATA-1 and GATA-2 mutant mice, it has been suggested that mutations of these GATA genes in humans may result in the onset of certain clinical diseases. To date, mutations of GATA-1 gene have been found in inherited anemia and thrombocytopenia, and Down syndrome-related acute leukemia, which exhibits megakaryocytic phenotypes and frequently occurs in patients with Down syndrome. In contrast, no mutation of GATA-2 gene has been identified in hematological diseases; however, we found the expression level of GATA-2 is significantly decreased in CD34 positive cells in patients with aplastic anemia. Since GATA-2 functions in the proliferation of hematopoietic stem cells, the reduction of GATA-2 expression in CD34 positive cells may result in the decreased number of hematopoietic stem cells, which is the characteristic feature of aplastic anemia. Based on these lines of evidence, some types of hematological diseases may be defined as transcription factor diseases.
2006 Tohoku University Medical Press