Erythroblast Transformation by FLI-1 Depends upon Its Specific DNA Binding and Transcriptional Activation Properties
Journal of Biological Chemistry
FLI-1 is a transcriptional regulator of the ETS family of proteins. Insertional activation at the FLI-1 locus is an early event in F-murine leukemia virus-induced erythroleukemia. Consistent with its essential role in erythroid transformation, enforced expression of FLI-1 in primary erythroblasts strongly impairs the response of these cells to erythropoietin (Epo), a cytokine essential to erythropoiesis. We show here that point mutations in the ETS domain that abolished FLI-1 binding to
... binding to specific DNA elements (ETS-binding sites) suppressed the ability of FLI-1 to transform erythroblasts. The exchange of the entire ETS domain (DNA binding domain) of FLI-1 for that of PU.1 changed the DNA binding specificity of FLI-1 for that of PU.1 and impaired FLI-1 transforming properties. In contrast, ETS domain swapping mutants that maintained the DNA binding specificity of FLI-1 did not affect the ability of FLI-1 to transform erythroblasts. Deletion and swapping mutants that failed to inhibit the DNA binding activity of FLI-1 but impaired its transcriptional activation properties were also transformation-defective. Taken together, these results show that both the ability of FLI-1 to inhibit Epoinduced differentiation of erythroblasts and to confer enhanced cell survival in the absence of Epo critically depend upon FLI-1 ETS-binding site-dependent transcriptional activation properties.