Erythroid cell commitment and differentiation proceed through activation of a lineage-restricted transcriptional network orchestrated by a group of cell fate determining and maturing factors. We previously set out to define the minimal set of factors necessary for instructing red blood cell development using direct lineage reprogramming of fibroblasts into induced erythroid progenitors/precursors (iEPs). We showed that overexpression of Gata1, Tal1, Lmo2, and c-Myc (GTLM) can rapidly convert murine and human fibroblasts directly to iEPs that resemble bona fide erythroid cells in terms of morphology, phenotype, and gene expression. We intend that iEPs will provide an invaluable tool to study erythropoiesis and cell fate regulation. Here we describe the stepwise process of converting murine tail tip fibroblasts into iEPs via transcription factor-driven direct lineage reprogramming (DLR). In this example, we perform the reprogramming in fibroblasts from erythroid lineage-tracing mice that express the yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) under the control of the erythropoietin receptor gene (EpoR) promoter, enabling visualization of erythroid cell fate induction upon reprogramming. Following this protocol, fibroblasts can be reprogrammed into iEPs within five to eight days. While improvements can still be made to the process, we show that GTLM-mediated reprogramming is a rapid and direct process, yielding cells with properties of bona fide erythroid progenitor and precursor cells.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Developmental Biology