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Title: The role of the fms-intronic regulatory element (FIRE) in macrophage development
Author: Rojo Gutiérrez, Rocío Patricia
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 2989
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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Macrophages belong to the mononuclear phagocyte system and they perform fundamental roles to maintain homeostasis in the organism. Macrophage development, survival, proliferation and functionality depend upon the colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) and interleukin-34 (IL-34), which signal through the CSF1 receptor (CSF1R). CSF1R is a type III tyrosine kinase receptor that is present in the plasma membrane of monocytes and macrophages. Mutations in Csf1r in mice produce the loss of many tissue macrophage populations and multiple developmental abnormalities. In humans, abnormal enhancement of CSF1R expression has been correlated to adverse prognosis in a subset of carcinomas; and mutations in the human CSF1R are associated with an autosomal-dominant neurodegenerative disease. CSF1R is encoded by the c-fms proto-oncogene and its expression is partially controlled by the fms-intronic regulatory element (FIRE). The FIRE sequence is highly conserved across species and contains binding motifs for multiple transcription factors, which are relevant for haematopoiesis. Previous results from murine Csf1r transgenes showed that FIRE is essential for driving Csf1r expression, and that interactions between FIRE and multiple myeloid transcription factors contribute to maximal regulatory activity. This project aimed to study the role of FIRE in its normal chromatin context, in vivo. A FIRE knockout (FIRE-/-) mouse model was generated using the CRISPR/Cas9 technology in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and in mice. In ESCs, the deletion severely compromised the differentiation of macrophages from embryoid bodies generated in vitro. In mice, the frequency of the FIRE- /- genotype in the progeny does not follow a Mendelian distribution and about 5% of the offspring developed hydrocephalus. Unlike Csf1r -/-mice, which die before weaning, most surviving FIRE-/- mice grew normally and were fertile. The impact of the mutation on macrophage populations is selective. FIRE-/- mice are not monocyte deficient (identified as F4/80+ Csf1r+ cells in peripheral blood), although these cells have reduced levels of Csf1r mRNA and do not bind porcine CSF1 Fc fusion protein. The development of peritoneal macrophages and Iba-1+ microglia was abolished, but Adgre1+ (F4/80+) macrophage populations in liver and spleen were unaffected. Csf1r was greatly reduced in bone marrow progenitors, but about 30% of these cells were able to differentiate into macrophages in vitro, upon exposure to recombinant human CSF1 (rhCSF1). This study shows that FIRE is essential for the development of a subset of tissue-resident macrophage populations. In FIRE-/- mice, potential compensation from additional regulatory elements within Csf1r might underlie the development of unaffected tissue-resident macrophages.
Supervisor: Hume, David ; Pridans, Clare ; Hohenstein, Peter Sponsor: Medical Research Council (MRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: FIRE ; macrophages ; monocytes ; development ; Csf1r ; CRISPR/Cas9 ; knockout mouse model ; E14 mouse embryonic stem cells ; RAW 264.7 cells