GATA1-Cre mediates Piga gene inactivation in the erythroid/megakaryocytic lineage and leads to circulating red cells with a partial deficiency in glycosyl phosphatidylinositol-linked proteins (paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria type II cells)

M Jasinski, P Keller, Y Fujiwara, S H Orkin, M Bessler
Blood 2001 October 1, 98 (7): 2248-55
Patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) have blood cells deficient in glycosyl phosphatidylinositol (GPI)-linked proteins owing to a somatic mutation in the X-linked PIGA gene. To target Piga recombination to the erythroid/megakaryocytic lineage in mice, the Cre/loxP system was used, and Cre was expressed under the transcriptional regulatory sequences of GATA-1. Breeding of GATA1-cre (G) transgenic mice with mice carrying a floxed Piga (L) allele was associated with high embryonic lethality. However, double-transgenic (GL) mice that escaped early recombination looked healthy and were observed for 16 months. Flow cytometric analysis of peripheral blood cells showed that GL mice had up to 100% of red cells deficient in GPI-linked proteins. The loss of GPI-linked proteins on the cell surface occurred late in erythroid differentiation, causing a proportion of red cells to express low residual levels of GPI-linked proteins. Red cells with residual expression of GPI-linked proteins showed an intermediate sensitivity toward complement and thus resemble PNH type II cells in patients with PNH. Recombination of the floxed Piga allele was also detected in cultured megakaryocytes, mast cells, and eosinophils, but not in neutrophils, lymphocytes, or nonhematopoietic tissues. In summary, GATA1-Cre causes high-efficiency Piga gene inactivation in a GATA-1-specific pattern. For the first time, mice were generated that have almost 100% of red cells deficient in GPI-linked proteins. These animals will be valuable to further investigate the consequences of GPI-anchor deficiency on erythroid/megakaryocytic cells.

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