Neutrophil-specific granule deficiency (SGD) is a rare congenital disorder marked by recurrent bacterial infections. Neutrophils from SGD patients lack secondary and tertiary granules and their content proteins and lack normal neutrophil functions. Gene-inactivating mutations in the C/EBPε gene have been identified in 2 SGD patients. Our studies on a third SGD patient revealed a heterozygous mutation in the C/EBPε gene. However, we demonstrate elevated levels of C/EBPε and PU.1 proteins in the patient's peripheral blood neutrophils. The expression of the transcription factor growth factor independence-1 (Gfi-1), however, was found to be markedly reduced in our SGD patient despite the absence of an obvious mutation in this gene. This may explain the elevated levels of both C/EBPε and PU.1, which are targets of Gfi-1 transcriptional repression. We have generated a growth factor-dependent EML cell line from the bone marrow of Gfi-1+/- and Gfi-1 +/+ mice as a model for Gfi-1-deficient SGD, and demonstrate that lower levels of Gfi-1 expression in the Gfi-1+/- EML cells is associated with reduced levels of secondary granule protein (SGP) gene expression. Furthermore, we demonstrate a positive role for Gfi-1 in SGP expression, in that Gfi-1 binds to and up-regulates the promoter of neutrophil collagenase (an SGP gene), in cooperation with wild-type but not with mutant C/EBPε. We hypothesize that decreased Gfi-1 levels in our SGD patient, together with the mutant C/EBPε, block SGP expression, thereby contributing to the underlying etiology of the disease in our patient.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology