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The Erythropoietin Receptor
  1. Stephanie S. Watowich, PhD
  1. From the Department of Immunology and Center for Inflammation and Cancer, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, and The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Texas, Houston, TX.
  1. Received November 15, 2010, and in revised form January 3, 2011.
  2. Accepted for publication January 4, 2011.
  3. Supported in part by a grant from the National Center for Research Resources (R13 RR023236). Unrelated work in the author's laboratory is supported by an Investigator-initiated Preclinical Research Agreement with Amgen, Inc., grants from the National Institutes of Health (AI073587 and AR059010) and a seed grant from the Center for Stem Cell and Developmental Biology at University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
  4. Reprints: Stephanie S. Watowich, PhD, Department of Immunology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 301402, Unit 902, Houston, TX 77030-1903. E-mail: swatowic{at}mdanderson.org.

Molecular Structure and Hematopoietic Signaling Pathways

Abstract

The process of erythropoiesis in the fetal liver and adult bone marrow is regulated by the hormone erythropoietin (Epo), which is produced in the kidney at low levels under homeostatic conditions. Defects in Epo production result in severe anemia; use of recombinant hormone has improved the lives of patients with renal failure or anemia because of bone marrow suppression. Deletion of the Epo gene in mice leads to embryonic lethality at days 13 to 15, coincident with the establishment of definitive (adult-type) erythropoiesis and underscoring the absolute necessity of Epo function in vivo. Epo has proven to be a successful pharmaceutical agent, one of the early triumphs of recombinant protein technology. Because of its clinical importance, a great deal of attention has focused on the molecular mechanisms of Epo-regulated erythropoiesis. This review highlights the basic concepts of Epo signal transduction within the hematopoietic system, the major site of Epo action in vivo.

Key Words
  • Erythropoietin
  • receptor
  • Jak
  • STAT

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