Concise Review: Epigenetic Regulation of Hematopoiesis: Biological Insights and Therapeutic Applications.

Antoniani C, Romano O, Miccio A.

Source : Stem Cells Transl Med

2019 Jun 27

Pmid : 29080249


Hematopoiesis is the process of blood cell formation starting from hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs). The understanding of regulatory networks involved in hematopoiesis and their impact on gene expression is crucial to decipher the molecular mechanisms that control hematopoietic development in physiological and pathological conditions, and to develop novel therapeutic strategies. An increasing number of epigenetic studies aim at defining, on a genome-wide scale, the cis-regulatory sequences (e.g., promoters and enhancers) used by human HSPCs and their lineage-restricted progeny at different stages of development. In parallel, human genetic studies allowed the discovery of genetic variants mapping to cis-regulatory elements and associated with hematological phenotypes and diseases. Here, we summarize recent epigenetic and genetic studies in hematopoietic cells that give insights into human hematopoiesis and provide a knowledge basis for the development of novel therapeutic approaches. As an example, we discuss the therapeutic approaches targeting cis-regulatory regions to reactivate fetal hemoglobin for the treatment of β-hemoglobinopathies. Epigenetic studies allowed the definition of cis-regulatory sequences used by human hematopoietic cells. Promoters and enhancers are targeted by transcription factors and are characterized by specific histone modifications. Genetic variants mapping to cis-regulatory elements are often associated with hematological phenotypes and diseases. In some cases, these variants can alter the binding of transcription factors, thus changing the expression of the target genes. Targeting cis-regulatory sequences represents a promising therapeutic approach for many hematological diseases. Stem Cells Translational Medicine 2017;6:2106-2114.

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