AbstractErythropoietin (Epo) controls the proliferation, differentiation and survival of the erythroid progenitors. This cytokine was cloned in 1985 and rapidly became used for treatment of anemia of renal failure, opening the way to the first clinical trials of a hematopoietic growth factor. The clonage of one chain of the Epo receptor followed in 1989, thereby opening the research on intracellular signal transduction induced by Epo. Epo is synthesized mainly by the kidney and the liver and sequences required for tissue-specific expression have been localized in the Epo gene. A 3'enhancer is responsible for hypoxia-inducible Epo gene expression. HIF-1 alpha and beta proteins bind to this enhancer. Gene regulation by hypoxia is widespread in many cells and involves numerous genes in addition to the Epo gene. The Epo receptor belongs to the cytokine receptor family and includes a p66 chain which is dimerized upon Epo activation; two accessory proteins defined by cross-linking remain to be characterized. Epo binding induces the stimulation of Jak2 tyrosine kinase. Jak2 activation leads to the tyrosine phosphorylation of several proteins including the Epo receptor itself. As a result, different intracellular pathways are activated: Ras/MAP kinase, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and STAT transcription factors. However, the exact mechanisms by which the proliferation and/or the differentiation of erythroid cells are regulated after Epo stimulation are not known. Furthermore, target disruption of both Epo and Epo receptor showed that Epo was not involved in the commitment of the erythroid lineage and seemed to act mainly as a survival factor.
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Vol. 83 No. 8 (1998): August, 1998 : Articles
Ferrata Storti Foundation, Pavia, Italy
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