The transcriptional regulation of normal and malignant blood cell development

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Development of multicellular organisms requires the differential usage of our genetic information to change one cell fate into another. This process drives the appearance of different cell types that come together to form specialized tissues sustaining a healthy organism. In the last decade, by moving away from studying single genes toward a global view of gene expression control, a revolution has taken place in our understanding of how genes work together and how cells communicate to translate the information encoded in the genome into a body plan. The development of hematopoietic cells has long served as a paradigm of development in general. In this review, we highlight how transcription factors and chromatin components work together to shape the gene regulatory networks controlling gene expression in the hematopoietic system and to drive blood cell differentiation. In addition, we outline how this process goes astray in blood cancers. We also touch upon emerging concepts that place these processes firmly into their associated subnuclear structures adding another layer of the control of differential gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe FEBS journal
Early online date29 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research in C. Bonifer's Lab is funded by grants from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, UK, the Medical Research Council, UK, and Blood Cancer, UK.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. The FEBS Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Federation of European Biochemical Societies.


  • acute myeloid leukemia
  • gene regulatory networks
  • hematopoiesis
  • nuclear compartments
  • transcription and chromatin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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