EKLF/KLF1 Controls Cell Cycle Entry via Direct Regulation of E2f2 Academic Article uri icon


  • Differentiation of erythroid cells requires precise control over the cell cycle to regulate the balance between cell proliferation and differentiation. The zinc finger transcription factor, erythroid Krüppel-like factor (EKLF/KLF1), is essential for proper erythroid cell differentiation and regulates many erythroid genes. Here we show that loss of EKLF leads to aberrant entry into S-phase of the cell cycle during both primitive and definitive erythropoiesis. This cell cycle defect was associated with a significant reduction in the expression levels of E2f2 and E2f4, key factors necessary for the induction of S-phase gene expression and erythropoiesis. We found and validated novel intronic enhancers in both the E2f2 and E2f4 genes, which contain conserved CACC, GATA, and E-BOX elements. The E2f2 enhancer was occupied by EKLF in vivo. Furthermore, we were able to partially restore cell cycle dynamics in EKLF(-/-) fetal liver upon additional genetic depletion of Rb, establishing a genetic causal link between reduced E2f2 and the EKLF cell cycle defect. Finally, we propose direct regulation of the E2f2 enhancer is a generic mechanism by which many KLFs regulate proliferation and differentiation.

publication date

  • July 31, 2009

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