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Title: Molecular regulation and function of Gata2 in the programming of haemogenic endothelium
Author: Dobrzycki, Tomasz
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 7843
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) maintain the vertebrate blood system throughout life. Exploiting their clinical potential requires a thorough understanding of the natural origins of the HSCs. They first arise from the haemogenic endothelium (HE), located in the main embryonic artery, the dorsal aorta. Our understanding of the genetic mechanisms underlying HE specification remains incomplete, but one of the crucial transcription factors is Gata2. We found that a conserved enhancer of zebrafish gata2a gene (i4 enhancer) is active in vivo specifically in endothelial cells, including the HE. To unravel the function of gata2a in specifying the HSCs, we have targeted the i4 enhancer with CRISPR/Cas9, generating the first reported genomic deletion of an endogenous cis-regulatory region in zebrafish. Deletion of the i4 enhancer leads to a decrease in endothelial gata2a expression and a concomitant transient decrease in the number of HSCs. This is marked by an early decrease in the expression of gata2b, a gata2a paralogue previously shown to be required for the initiation of the haematopoietic programme. Our results suggest non-redundant roles of both zebrafish gata2 paralogues in programming of HSCs, providing insights into different roles of GATA2 throughout the programming of HSCs. We also confirmed the previously reported loss of HSCs upon MO-mediated knockdown of lmo4a, associated with increased gata2a expression in HE. We validated the increase in gata2a levels in TALEN-generated lmo4a mutants. To identify the links between lmo4a, gata2a and the HE programming, we have profiled the transcriptome of lmo4a-deficient endothelial cells, including the HE. Our results suggest that Lmo4a may be a global regulator of the transcriptional programming of the HE. Moreover, Wnt signalling pathway may regulate gata2a downstream of lmo4a. This provides novel insights into the gene regulatory network orchestrating the generation of HSCs in the embryo.
Supervisor: Monteiro, Rui ; Patient, Roger Sponsor: Wellcome Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Molecular genetics ; Medical sciences--Research ; Developmental biology ; ATAC-seq ; Embryonic development ; Haematopoietic stem cells ; Zebrafish ; CRISPR/Cas9 ; Haematopoiesis