Cytokine signaling is critical for proliferation, survival and differentiation of hematopoietic cell, and interleukin-3 (IL-3) is required for maintenance of many hematopoietic cell lines, such as BaF3. We have isolated apoptosis-resistant clones of BaF3 using retroviral insertional mutagenesis and the Xbp1 locus was identified as a retroviral integration site. Expression and splicing of the Xbp1 transcript was conserved in the resistant clone but was promptly disappeared on IL-3 withdrawal in parental BaF3. IL-3 stimulation of BaF3 cells enhanced Xbp1 promoter activity and induced phosphorylation of the endoplasmic reticulum stress sensor protein IRE1, resulting in the increase in Xbp1S that activates unfolded protein response. When downstream signaling from IL-3 was blocked by LY294002 and/or dn-Stat5, Xbp1 expression was downregulated and IRE1 phosphorylation was suppressed. Inhibition of IL-3 signaling as well as knockdown of Xbp1-induced apoptosis in BaF3 cells. In contrast, constitutive expression of Xbp1S protected BaF3 from apoptosis during IL-3 depletion. However, cell cycle arrest at the G1 stage was observed in BaF3 and myeloid differentiation was induced in IL-3-dependent 32Dcl3 cells. Expression of apoptosis-, cell cycle- and differentiation-related genes was modulated by Xbp1S expression. These results indicate that the proper transcriptional and splicing regulation of Xbp1 by IL-3 signaling is important in homeostasis of hematopoietic cells
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