During mammalian erythropoiesis, erythroid progenitors differentiate into erythroblasts, followed by the removal of the nucleus and organelles to develop into mature erythrocytes. Although the morphological changes associated with different stages of erythropoiesis have been well characterized, the precise molecular mechanisms governing these processes remain to be determined. A Bcl-2 family member, Nix/Bnip3L, has been found to regulate mitochondrial clearance in differentiating erythroid cells. In Nix-deficient red blood cells, the formation of autophagosomes proceeded normally. However, the sequestration of mitochondria into autophagosomes was defective. Experiments are proposed to test the hypothesis that Nix regulates the targeting of mitochondria into autophagosomes for clearance during terminal erythroid differentiation, and erythrocytes with abnormal retention of mitochondria due to defective mitochondrial autophagy are prone to oxidative stress, leading to increased cell turnover and hemolytic anemia.
Aim 1. The hypothesis that Nix is required for the mitochondrial autophagy, but not other aspects of erythroid maturation, will be studied using mice deficient in Nix or autophagy and erythroleukemic cell line.
Aim 2. Whether erythrocytes deficient in mitochondrial autophagy are more susceptible to oxidative stress-induced apoptosis will be examined.
Aim 3. Downstream molecules mediating Nix-induced mitochondrial autophagy will be studied using immunoprecipitation and proteomics approach. Defects in erythroid maturation have been found to be associated with anemia. By determining the molecular regulation of mitochondrial autophagy responsible for mitochondrial removal during erythroid maturation, we will gain insights into the regulation of erythropoiesis under both normal and disease settings. This will lead to better understanding of the pathogenesis of hemotological disorders associated with defective erythroid maturation. It may also facilitate the development of therapeutic approaches to treat these disorders.
This project seeks to investigate molecular regulation of mitochondrial autophagy during erythroid maturation. This will help gain insights into the regulation of erythropoiesis under both normal and disease settings. The proposed studies may lead to better understanding of the pathogenesis of hemotological disorders associated with defective erythroid maturation.
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