THOC5/FMIP, an mRNA export TREX complex protein, is essential for hematopoietic primitive cell survival in vivo
- Annalisa Mancini†1, 5,
- Susanne C Niemann-Seyde†1,
- Rüdiger Pankow†2,
- Omar El Bounkari1,
- Sabine Klebba-Färber1,
- Alexandra Koch1,
- Ewa Jaworska3,
- Elaine Spooncer3,
- Achim D Gruber4,
- Anthony D Whetton3 and
- Teruko Tamura1Email author
© Mancini et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010
Received: 22 June 2009
Accepted: 5 January 2010
Published: 5 January 2010
The transcription/export complex is evolutionarily conserved from yeast to man and is required for coupled transcription elongation and nuclear export of mRNAs. FMIP(Fms interacting protein) is a member of the THO (suppressors of the transcriptional defects of hpr1delta by overexpression) complex which is a subcomplex of the transcription/export complex. THO complex (THOC) components are not essential for bulk poly (A)+ RNA export in higher eukaryotes, but for the nuclear export of subset of mRNAs, however, their exact role is still unclear.
To study the role of THOC5/Fms interacting protein in vivo, we generated THOC5/Fms interacting protein knockout mice. Since these mice are embryonic lethal, we then generated interferon inducible conditional THOC5/Fms interacting protein knockout mice. After three poly injections all of the mice died within 14 days. No pathological alterations, however, were observed in liver, kidney or heart. Thus we considered the hematopoietic system and found that seven days after poly injection, the number of blood cells in peripheral blood decreased drastically. Investigation of bone marrow cells showed that these became apoptotic within seven days after poly injection. Committed myeloid progenitor cells and cells with long term reconstituting potential were lost from bone marrow within four days after poly injection. Furthermore, infusion of normal bone marrow cells rescued mice from death induced by loss of THOC5/Fms interacting protein.
THOC5/Fms interacting protein is an essential element in the maintenance of hematopoiesis. Furthermore, mechanistically depletion of THOC5/Fms interacting protein causes the down-regulation of its direct interacting partner, THOC1 which may contribute to altered THO complex function and cell death.
During expression of protein-coding genes, pre-mRNAs are transcribed in the nucleus and undergo several RNA-processing steps. The mature mRNA is then exported from the nucleus to the cytoplasm for translation. Nuclear export of mRNA composes one part of a larger network of molecular events that begin with transcription of the mRNA in the nucleus and end with its translation and degradation in the cytoplasm. The TREX (transcription/export) complex is conserved in evolution from yeast to man and is required for coupled transcription elongation and nuclear export of mRNAs [1–4]. The TREX complex in mammals and Drosophila is composed of the THO (suppressors of the transcriptional defects of hpr1delta by overexpression) subcomplex (THO-complex 1 (THOC1) 1, THOC2, THOC5, THOC6 and THOC7), THOC3, UAP56 and Aly/THOC4 [5, 6]. However, the THO complex components are not essential for bulk poly (A) + RNA export in higher eukaryotes [7–10]. Furthermore, the nuclear export of only a subset of mRNAs is affected by depletion of a member of the THO complex [5, 10]. These data suggest that various nuclear mRNA export pathways, which may be indicated by different adaptor RNA binding proteins, exist in higher eukaryotes. Recent data show that Aly and THOC5 function in the tip associating protein (TAP)-p15 mediated nuclear export of Hsp70 mRNA . It was demonstrated that the depletion of THOC5 does not affect bulk poly (A)+ RNA export, but does affect Hsp70 mRNA export in Hela cells. Interestingly, the deletion of THOC1, a major conserved component of THO complex, causes apoptosis in transformed cells, but not in normal fibroblasts . Furthermore, the embryonic development of the conventional THOC1 knockout mice is arrested around the time of implantation , suggesting that the THO complex may play an essential role in early development.
Fms interacting protein (FMIP) was originally identified as a substrate for the Macrophage Colony Stimulating Factor (M-CSF) receptor tyrosine kinase, Fms . FMIP has been demonstrated to be a member of THO complex, THOC5 [5, 6]. We have previously shown that depletion of THOC5/FMIP by siRNA or ectopic expression causes abnormal hematopoiesis and abnormal adipocyte differentiation in myeloid progenitor or mesenchymal progenitor cell lines, indicating that the THO-complex is essential for the differentiation process in mammals [14–17].
In this study we show that THOC5/FMIP is essential at an early stage of murine development. Furthermore, using interferon inducible THOC5/FMIP knockout mice we demonstrated that this gene is essential for survival. In these mice, bone marrow and spleen cells became apoptotic, hematopoietic progenitor cell numbers collapsed and the animals became anemic. Although the THOC5/FMIP gene was deleted in liver, kidney, and heart, pathological alterations to these organs were not observed. Furthermore, 9 out of 14 THOC5/FMIP depleted mice survived over two months by normal bone marrow cell transplantation with no apparent symptoms.
THOC5/FMIP is essential at an early stage of mouse development
To examine THOC5/FMIP depletion in adult mice, THOC5/FMIP (flox/flox) and cre-deleter mice expressing cre-recombinase (cre) under the control of the interferon-inducible Mx promoter (Mx-cre)  were crossed to obtain animals that carry the THOC5/FMIP(flox/flox) allele and Mx-cre gene (Mx-cre THOC5/FMIP (flox/flox)).
THOC5/FMIP expression is reduced in specific organs
The deletion mutation of THOC5/FMIP was induced by poly (I:C) injection. We first injected six-week-old Mx-cre THOC5/FMIP (flox/flox) (n = 6) with 250 μg of poly (I:C) three times, at two to three day intervals. Mx-cre THOC5/FMIP (flox/flox) mice (two mice each) were sacrificed before and two (one × poly (I:C) injection), four (two × poly (I:C) injection) and seven (three × poly (I:C) injection) days after the first poly (I:C) injection and genomic DNAs were extracted from liver, spleen and bone marrow. Genomic DNAs were used for the determination of exon IV/V deletion by PCR using 5'-TGCTGGCATTGAACTGTG-3' and 5'-CAGCACTGGAGCGGGAGATGT-3' (Figure 1C). To our surprise, PCR product lacking exons VI/V (355 bp) was detected in all organs after one × poly (I:C) injection in all cases (Figure 1C).
Then, we injected six-week-old Mx-cre THOC5/FMIP (flox/flox) (n = 8) and control THOC5/FMIP(flox/flox) (n = 6) mice with 250 μg of poly (I:C) three times, at two to three days intervals. Mx-cre THOC5/FMIP (flox/flox) (n = 4 each) and control THOC5/FMIP(flox/flox) (n = 3 each) mice were sacrificed at four and seven days after the first poly (I:C) injection and proteins were extracted from liver, spleen, kidney, lung, intestine, testicles and bone marrow. It has been reported that the treatment of the interferon mediated Cre-inducible mice with poly (I:C) causes deletion of the target gene only in particular organs, such as liver and spleen, and to a lesser extent in heart and kidney .
Deletion of THOC5/FMIP gene causes death within two weeks
Although white and red pulp in spleen are clearly present, periarterial lymphoid sheath (PALs) which includes the T-cell cuffs around the arteries and B-cell follicles appear to be reduced in favor of a parafollicular lymphocytic population which is interspersed more evenly in the red pulp. Throughout the organ, there are a few spots of proliferatively activated lymphoid cells (Figure 4C). Immunohistochemical staining using the cleaved caspase 3 specific antibody revealed that there were clearly more cleaved caspase 3 positive cells in clusters underneath the capsule (but not in the lymphoid follicles or PALs) in Mx-cre THOC5/FMIP (flox/flox) spleen than in control spleen (Figure 4C and 4D). In addition, no cleaved caspase 3 positive cells were observed in the red pulp, suggesting that some subpopulation of lymphocytic cells may be affected. Furthermore, liver, heart, and kidney, from THOC5/FMIP depleted mice were histologically normal throughout a 13 day period after poly (I:C) injection. Although the liver looked pale in these mice, no abnormalities were observed and no cleaved caspase 3 positive cells were seen in this organ (Figure 4D), suggesting that THOC5/FMIP depleted mice may have anemia, and/or internal bleeding.
Given the association of spleen with hematopoietic cells we then examined peripheral blood and bone marrow.
THOC5/FMIP deletion causes severe leukocytopenia and anemia
Depression of THOC5/FMIP gene causes cell apoptosis in bone marrow, but not of hepatocytes
Many erythrocytes are still present in bone marrow after seven days. Given their extended lifetime compared to white cells it is probable that the steady decrease in their numbers is due to decreased rates of blood cell production in the marrow.
The half life of erythrocytes in mice is about 18 days [25, 26]. The extent of the effect we observe (of about a 40% reduction over 10-13 days) argues for dysfunctional erythropoiesis as the causal effect. However both white cell and red cell numbers are depleted. Therefore the lesion leading to death may be associated with hematopoiesis.
Hematopoietic progenitor cell populations are depleted upon THOC5/FMIP deletion
The marrow hypoplasia observed in Mx-cre THOC5/FMIP (flox/flox) mice after poly (I:C) injection led us to consider the effects on hematopoietic progenitor cells and a population enriched for primitive hematopoietic cells including long-term reconstituting cells. To examine hematopoietic progenitor cells, bone marrow cells were isolated from mice four days after poly (I:C) injection. Since we could obtained more consistent data from mice treated with 2 × 500 μg than mice treated with 2 × 250 μg at this time point, we injected five to six-week-old Mx-cre THOC5/FMIP (flox/flox) (n = 5) and THOC5/FMIP (flox/flox) (n = 6) mice with (2 × 500 μg (poly I:C) at a two-day interval) in this experiment.
As detailed the Lineage marker negative cell population, generally considered a progenitor cell cohort, was reduced by 92% by poly (I:C) treatment of Mx-cre THOC5/FMIP(flox/flox) mice (Figure 7B) and myeloid progenitors are decreased. Furthermore, lineage marker depleted Sca- Kit+ cell population which consists largely of erythroid progenitors  was also decreased by 98% (Figure 7F). We envisage the stem cell compartment is apparently radically but slightly less affected (74% decrease, Figure 7E) as it turns over more slowly than rapidly cycling progenitor cell populations. These data are consistent with a failure of hematopoiesis in the stem cell and progenitor cell compartments as a result of FMIP levels falling in hematopoietic cells.
A transfer of normal bone marrow cells rescued 70% of mice from death by THOC5/FMIP depletion
All bone marrow cell recipient mice showed extramedullary hematopoiesis in spleen, but no significant pathological change was observed in other organs. These data suggest that THOC5/FMIP is required in bone marrow for hematopoiesis, however THOC5/FMIP is less important in other organs, such as liver and heart.
Deletion of THOC5/FMIP results in markedly decreased THOC1
Our data indicate that THO complex plays a key role in early embryogenesis and the THO complex in bone marrow is essential for hematopoiesis, however it is less important in differentiated cell types such as hepatocytes and heart muscles.
We have previously shown that depletion of THOC5/FMIP by siRNA or ectopic expression causes abnormal hematopoiesis and abnormal adipocyte differentiation in myloid progenitor or mesenchymal progenitor cell lines [14–17]. Furthermore, although THO complex does not play a role in nuclear export of bulk mRNA, THOC1 deletion causes embryonic lethality . This led us to investigate the potential roles for THOC5/FMIP in vivo. To do this we first generated conventional knockout mice, deleting THOC5/FMIP. These mice died at an early embryonic stage. Furthermore, although heterozygotic THOC5/FMIP deletion mutant mice were fertile and did not display any phenotypic or histological abnormalities after birth, 50% of THOC5/FMIP heterozygotes died during embryogenesis (El Bounkari and Tamura, unpublished data), suggesting that the level of expression of THOC5/FMIP plays a key role in embryo development.
When an inducible system was developed a key developmental system, hematopoiesis, was found to be sensitive to depletion of THOC5/FMIP. Our data showed that bone marrow cells and spleen cells, but no other organs, such as liver, heart, kidney, intestine, testicle, or lung, became apoptotic in THOC5/FMIP deficient adult mice, suggesting hematopoietic required THOC5/FMIP. In addition, transplantation with bone marrow cells derived from cre minus THOC5/FMIP(flox/flox) mice rescues poly (I:C) injected Mx-cre THOC5/FMIP(flox/flox) mice from death. This extends back to the primitive cells in the hematopoietic system, since THOC5/FMIP depleted mice showed a major decrease in progenitor cells (GEMM-CFU, GM-CFU, Figure 7C) and also a fall in the slowly cycling bone marrow LSK cells (Figure 7D). The effects of an RNA processing protein on stem cells were also profound and this we argue in part explains the massive effect on the committed progenitor cell compartment compared to LSK cells. Nonetheless, the rapid onset of the effect also argues that the progenitor cell compartment is sensitive to loss of FMIP/THOC5 expression.
Mx-cre directed depletion by poly I:C injection was observed in bone marrow cells, heart, kidney, liver and spleen [21, 29]. Indeed, THOC5/FMIP specific PCR analyses using genomic DNA as a template revealed that exons IV/V were deleted from these organs, including spleen after only one × times poly (I:C) injection. We did not observe the depletion of THOC5/FMIP protein in spleen for any time period however, the size of spleen is drastically reduced after seven days poly (I:C) injection, suggesting that apoptotic cells are released from spleen and that the THOC5/FMIP protein half life in certain cells was longer than in other cells.
The issue remains how and why THOC5/FMIP is required for primitive hematopoietic as well as embryo stem cell survival and/or proliferation. Our data suggest that the THO complex is required for mRNA export of particular genes that play a key role in hematopoietic primitive (multipotent) and committed progenitor cell survival and/or proliferation. Alternatively, the THO complex may be essential for bulk poly (A)+ RNA export in primitive cells. The yeast TREX complex is composed of the THO transcription elongation complex (Hpr1 (the THOC1 orthologue), Tho2 (the THOC2 orthologue), Mht1 and Thp2), Tex1 (the THOC3 orthologue), Sub2 (the UAP56 orthologue) and Yra1 (the Aly/THOC4 orthologue) . Yeast TREX mutants show a nuclear export defect for bulk poly A+ RNAs and are synthetically lethal with many mutants of the mRNA machinery . In Drosophila loss of the THO complex function results in only minor differences in transcription profiles as revealed by the whole genome array . The analysis of the cytoplasmic mRNA from bone marrow cells was not successful, because cytoplasmic mRNA from bone marrow cells was not stable enough for microarray analysis. Therefore, we analyzed the expression level of cytoplasmic mRNA in fibroblasts. In the presence or absence of THOC5/FMIP, we found that less than 100 genes were down-regulated more than three-fold using the mouse whole genome array (Hauser and Tamura, unpublished data). In the fibroblast system, however, the depletion of THOC5/FMIP did not cause apoptosis, but reduced cell growth (Tran and Tamura, unpublished data), suggesting that THOC5/FMIP has a specific function in proliferating cells. It has been shown recently that in response to treatment of mice with interferon-alpha hematopoietic stem cells efficiently exit G0 and enter an active cell cycle , suggesting that poly (I:C) treatment may exacerbate the phenotype which is observed in THOC5/FMIP deletion mice. Further studies will be required to examine whether the mice would present the same phenotype if other methods of conditional deletion of THOC5/FMIP in the relevant cell types were used.
We show here that the THOC5/FMIP binding partner, THOC1 was down-regulated via THOC5/FMIP knockdown. Furthermore, we have shown that the expression of mutant THOC5/FMIP lacking the THOC1 binding site degraded faster than the wild-type and down-regulated the level of endogenous THOC1 , suggesting that these two molecules may stabilize each other forming a functional unit. It indicates that the phenotype we observed might be the result of both THOC1 and THOC5/FMIP depletion. It has been shown that over-expression of THOC1 causes apoptosis in several cells . The deletion of THOC1 also causes apoptosis in cancer cells, but not in normal fibroblasts . Furthermore, the embryonic development of conventional THOC1 knockout mice is arrested around the time of implantation . Interestingly, THOC1 possesses the death domain and interacts with Rb protein, suggesting that THOC1 may involve the apoptosis signal directly .
Our analysis demonstrates a link between THOC5/FMIP protein function and the normal developmental processes seen in adult hematopoiesis. We now have a suitable model system to determine how THO complex proteins act, enabling primitive cell survival and proliferation.
THOC5/Fms interacting protein is an essential element in the maintenance of hematopoiesis. Furthermore, mechanistically depletion of THOC5/Fms interacting protein causes the down-regulation of its direct interacting partner, THOC1 which may contribute to altered THO complex function and cell death.
Generation of THOC5/FMIP deficient mice
THOC5/FMIP deficient mice were generated using a genomic DNA fragment containing exons II, III and IV, isolated from a 129/ola genetic background. The targeting vector was constructed from a 3.9 kb PCR fragment and an adjacent 2.2 kb fragment harboring exons IV/V. Fragments were introduced into the pPNTloxPneo vector via NotI, XhoI restriction sites and KpnI, respectively. An additional loxP site was inserted into the SacI site downstream of exon V (Figure 1A). ES cells were electroporated with a NotI linearized target vector and grown under double selection as previously described . ES cell clones carrying the inserted floxed neo cassette and floxed THOC5/FMIP exons IV/V were identified by the presence of an 1.9 kb BamHI restriction fragment in Southern Blot analysis with an external 3' probe (Figure 1B). One clone was used for injection into C57Bl/6 blastocysts to generate germ line chimeras. Chimeras were mated with wild type mice to obtain heterozygous floxed offspring.
Genotyping for THOC5/FMIP (flox/flox) and Mx-cre THOC5/FMIP (flox/flox) mic
Genotyping was performed from tail-derived sample DNA extracted with Viagen DirectPCR-Tail (Viagen, Erlangen, Germany) by PCR. THOC5/FMIP primers flanked the floxed region with 5'-CCCTCGGCCCCTTTTGAG-3' and 5'-CAGCACTGGAGCGGGAGATGT-3'. Corresponding bands gave 177 bp (wt allele) and 210 bp sizes (floxed allele), respectively. Homozygous offspring were interbred to generate THOC5/FMIP(flox/flox) mice and the resulting genotypes were determined by PCR. After crossing with Mx-cre deleter mice, mice were genotyped by PCR using primers Cre1 5'-CCGGGCTGCCACGACCAA-3' and Cre2 5'-GGCGCGGCAACACCATTTT-3' for cre gene and primers for floxed THOC5/FMIP gene. After poly (I:C) injection, mice were genotyped by PCR using primers 5'-TGCTGGCATTGAACTGTG-3' and 5'-CAGCACTGGAGCGGGAGATGT-3' for the determination of exons IV/V deletion.
RNA was isolated from mouse liver tissue with the Qiagen RNeasy kit (Qiagen, Hilden, Germany) according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Reverse transcription was carried using oligo dT primers and Omniscript reverse transcriptase kit (Qiagen) following the instructions provided. For PCR the following primer pairs were used:
THOC1: forward primer: 5'-CTCACTTCTTCAGCCAA CC-3'; reverse primer: 5'-AAGGAGCCAAAATCTTCCAT-3' (product size = 258 bp), Aly: forward primer: 5'-CTGGACTTCGGAGTGTCAGATGC-3'; reverse primer: 5'-CCTTGCATTGTA AGCATCCAGC-3' (product size = 420 bp), THOC5/FMIP: forward primer: 5'-TCT GCCTTTTCACCTGGAAG-3'; reverse primer: 5'-CTCGGTACTTTTCTGCCA GC-3' (product size = 643 bp (wild type), or 431 bp (without exons IV/V)), beta-actin forward primer: 5'-AACACCCCAGCCATGTACGTAG-3'; reverse primer: 5'-GTGTTGGCATAGAGGTCTTTACGG-3' (product size = 509 bp). PCRs were set up according to the following profile: an initial denaturation step of 94°C for three minutes, 35 cycles of 94°C for 30 seconds, 60°C for 30 seconds, and 72°C for 30 seconds followed by a final extension step at 72°C for 10 minutes. Separation of the DNA fragments was carried out on 1.5% (w/v) agarose gels, stained with ethidium bromide (2 μg/ml) and photographed under UV light.
Poly (I:C) injection
Fifty, 250 or 500 μg of poly(deoxyinosinic/deoxycytidylic) acid (Invivogen, San Diego, CA, USA) were injected intraperitoneally into three day-, six week- and nine week-old mice respectively, three times at two-to-three-day intervals.
Cytospin preparations were generated from bone marrow cells then visualized by May-Grunwald and Hematoxylin stain. Peripheral blood was collected by means of tail venipuncture into microcapillary tubes pre-coated with ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid. Samples were analyzed on an ABC Vet automated blood counter (ABX Hematology Inc. Garden Grove, CA, USA).
Hematopoietic lineage marker depleted (Lin-) cells were obtained using a cocktail of lineage marker antibodies (Pharmingen, Oxford, UK). Sheep anti-rat antibody magnetic beads (Dynal, Wirral, UK) were employed to deplete cells expressing lineage markers. Lineage depleted cells were then labeled with fluorescein isothiocyanate-labelled Sca-1 antibody and with phycoerythrin labeled c-Kit antibody (Becton Dickinson, Oxford, UK). The expression of Sca antigen and Kit antigen were employed to define primitive cells present in the bone marrow using flow cytometry with a Becton Dickinson FacsAria instrument (Becton Dickinson, Oxford, UK) .
Colony forming assays were performed using soft gel assays from Stem Cell Systems (Vancouver, BC. Canada) following the manufacturer's instructions.
TUNEL, DAPI staining and DNA ladder
To assess the degree of apoptosis, an in situ cell death detection kit (Roche, Mannheim, Germany) was used for terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining and 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) (Sigma, Munich, Germany) was used for control DNA staining. Genomic DNA was isolated from liver and bone marrow cells from poly (I:C) treated and untreated mice, using the DNeasy Tissue Kit (Qiagen). Aliquots of 2 to 3 μg of DNA were separated on 1.5% (w/v) agarose, stained with ethidium bromide (2 μg/ml) and photographed under UV light.
Immunohistochemistry study was performed as detailed previously .
Isolation of mouse embryo
Mouse embryos were isolated under the microscope according to a protocol from Beckers et al. (2007) .
Western Blot procedures
Mouse organs were extracted with lysis buffer containing 10 mM Tris HCl pH 7.6, 50 mM NaF, 1 mM PMSF, 10 mM EDTA, 1%(w/v) Triton-X 100, 8 M Urea, 1%(w/v) Trasylol (Bayer Vital, Leverkusen, Germany). Details of immunoblotting have been described previously . Polyclonal antibody against actin, monoclonal antibodies against Aly/THOC4, THOC6 and GAPDH were purchased from Santa Cruz biotechnology inc.(Santa Cruz, CA, USA), rabbit antibodies against Histone H3 and cleaved caspase 3 were from Cell Signaling Technology (Beverly, MA, USA), monoclonal antibody against THOC1 (p84 N5) was from Gene Tex. Inc (San Antonio, TX, USA), monoclonal antibody against THOC5/FMIP was generated as described previously . Corresponding proteins were visualized by incubation with peroxidase conjugated anti-goat, mouse or rabbit immunoglobulin followed by incubation with SuperSignal West FemtoMaximum Sensitivity Substrate (Pierce, Rockford, IL, USA). Results were documented on a LAS3000 (Fujifilm, Kanagawa, Japan). Signal intensity of chemoluminescence was quantified using TINA 2.0 software (Raytest Isotopenmessgeraete GmbH, Straubenhardt, Germany).
granulocyte, erythrocyte, monocyte, macrophage-colony forming unit
granulocyte-macrophage colony forming unit
tip associating protein
suppressors of the transcriptional defects of hpr 1delta by overexpression
terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling.
We thank the late Ivan Horak for support and advice, Sabrina Marozin, Achim Gossler, Zhixiong Li, and Thomas Müller for discussion and advice, and Bruce Boschek for critically reading the manuscript. A.M. and A.K. were supported by the Leistungsorientierte Mittelvergabe (LOM) der MHH mit Frauen Faktor. This research was supported by Sonderforschungsbereich 566 (B2) and Leukaemia Research and BBSRC, UK.
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