Deciphering the molecular events that confer expression of a lineage-specific program upon an initially uncommitted, pluripotent hematopoietic stem cell remains a major goal in cell differentiation studies. Use of an immortalized erythroid cell line as a means to isolate genes that may be important for erythroid function allowed us to identify a novel, red cell-specific gene, which was named EKLF (erythroid Krüppel-like factor).
We have been actively pursuing the mechanism of EKLF action using biochemical, molecular, cellular, and developmental approaches ever since. EKLF is now the founding member (KLF1) of a family of seventeen proteins, some of which have been directly implicated in a range of normal and altered cellular control mechanisms. We have been particularly focused on illuminating EKLF-directed transcriptional and epigenetic controls that lead to regulated erythroid gene expression in both progenitors and late stages. For these studies we use the mouse for in vivo studies and differentiating embryonic stem cells for cell culture approaches.
Y. Yien and J.J. Bieker. EKLF/KLF1: a tissue-restricted integrator of transcriptional control, chromatin remodeling, and lineage determination. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 33, 4-13 (2013).
M. Siatecka and J.J. Bieker. The multifunctional role of EKLF/KLF1 during erythropoiesis. Blood, 118, 2044-2054 (2011).