Runx1 exon 6-related alternative splicing isoforms differentially regulate hematopoiesis in mice.
Published Web Locationhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4055923/
RUNX1 is an important transcription factor for hematopoiesis. There are multiple alternatively spliced isoforms of RUNX1. The best known isoforms are RUNX1a from use of exon 7A and RUNX1b and c from use of exon 7B. RUNX1a has unique functions due to its lack of C-terminal regions common to RUNX1b and c. Here, we report that the ortholog of human RUNX1a was only found in primates. Furthermore, we characterized 3 Runx1 isoforms generated by exon 6 alternative splicing. Runx1bEx6(-) (Runx1b without exon 6) and a unique mouse Runx1bEx6e showed higher colony-forming activity than the full-length Runx1b (Runx1bEx6(+)). They also facilitated the transactivation of Runx1bEx6(+). To gain insight into in vivo functions, we analyzed a knock-in (KI) mouse model that lacks isoforms Runx1b/cEx6(-) and Runx1bEx6e. KI mice had significantly fewer lineage-Sca1(+)c-Kit(+) cells, short-term hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and multipotent progenitors than controls. In vivo competitive repopulation assays demonstrated a sevenfold difference of functional HSCs between wild-type and KI mice. Together, our results show that Runx1 isoforms involving exon 6 support high self-renewal capacity in vitro, and their loss results in reduction of the HSC pool in vivo, which underscore the importance of fine-tuning RNA splicing in hematopoiesis.