Erythropoietin (EPO), a humoral regulator of erythropoiesis and replacement therapy for selected red blood cell disorders in EPO-deficient patients, has been implicated in a wide range of activities on diverse cell, tissue, and organ types. EPO signals via two receptors, one comprising EPO receptor (EPOR) homodimers and the other a heterodimer of EPOR and CD131-the common β chain component of the GM-CSF, interleukin (IL)-3, and IL-5 receptors. Ligation of EPORs triggers various signaling pathways, including the JAK2- STAT5 and MAPK-NF-κB pathways, depending both on the receptor and the target cell type. A new study in this issue reveals a novel EPO-triggered pathway involving a Spi2A serpin-lysosome-cathepsin cascade that is initiated through the homodimeric EPOR complex and is required for the survival of erythroid progenitors. A full understanding of EPO's effects on various cell types and their potential clinical relevance requires more work on the signaling events initiated through both EPORs, the effects of other cytokines and growth factors that modulate EPO's actions, and a comparison of the effects of full-length versus truncated forms of EPO.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy