Erythroblastic islands are a specialized niche that contain a central macrophage surrounded by erythroid cells at various stages of maturation. However, identifying the precise genetic and transcriptional control mechanisms in the island macrophage remains difficult due to macrophage heterogeneity. Using unbiased global sequencing and directed genetic approaches focused on early mammalian development, we find that fetal liver macrophage exhibit a unique expression signature that differentiates them from erythroid and adult macrophage cells. The importance of EKLF/KLF1 in this identity is shown by expression analyses in EKLF-/- and in EKLF-marked macrophage cells. Single cell sequence analysis simplifies heterogeneity and identifies clusters of genes important for EKLF-dependent macrophage function and novel cell surface biomarkers. Remarkably, this singular set of macrophage island cells appears transiently during embryogenesis. Together these studies provide a detailed perspective on the importance of EKLF in establishment of the dynamic gene expression network within erythroblastic islands in the developing embryo and provide the means for their efficient isolation.
- James J Bieker
- James J Bieker
- Merlin Nithya Gnanapragasam
- Kaustav Mukherjee
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (#18-1911) of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
- Florent Ginhoux, Agency for Science Technology and Research, Singapore
© 2021, Mukherjee et al.
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