by Michio Yamamoto, Takayuki Kato, Chie Hotta, Akira Nishiyama, Daisuke Kurotaki, Masahiro Yoshinari, Masamichi Takami, Motohide Ichino, Masatoshi Nakazawa, Toshifumi Matsuyama, Ryutaro Kamijo, Seiichi Kitagawa, Keiko Ozato, Tomohiko Tamura
Interferon regulatory factor (IRF) 8 and IRF4 are structurally-related, hematopoietic cell-specific transcription factors that cooperatively regulate the differentiation of dendritic cells and B cells. Whilst in myeloid cells IRF8 is known to modulate growth and differentiation, the role of IRF4 is poorly understood. In this study, we show that IRF4 has activities similar to IRF8 in regulating myeloid cell development. The ectopic expression of IRF4 in myeloid progenitor cells in vitro inhibits cell growth, promotes macrophages, but hinders granulocytic cell differentiation. We also show that IRF4 binds to and activates transcription through the IRF-Ets composite sequence (IECS). Furthermore, we demonstrate that Irf8-/-Irf4-/- mice exhibit a more severe chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)-like disease than Irf8-/- mice, involving a disproportionate expansion of granulocytes at the expense of monocytes/macrophages. Irf4-/- mice, however, display no obvious abnormality in myeloid cell development, presumably because IRF4 is expressed at a much lower level than IRF8 in granulocyte-macrophage progenitors. Our results also suggest that IRF8 and IRF4 have not only common but also specific activities in myeloid cells. Since the expression of both the IRF8 and IRF4 genes is downregulated in CML patients, these results may add to our understanding of CML pathogenesis.