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Although certain human genetic variants are conspicuously loss of function, decoding the impact of many variants is challenging. Previously, we described a patient with leukemia predisposition syndrome (GATA2 deficiency) with a germline GATA2 variant that inserts 9 amino acids between the 2 zinc fingers (9aa-Ins). Here, we conducted mechanistic analyses using genomic technologies and a genetic rescue system with Gata2 enhancer-mutant hematopoietic progenitor cells to compare how GATA2 and 9aa-Ins function genome-wide. Despite nuclear localization, 9aa-Ins was severely defective in occupying and remodeling chromatin and regulating transcription. Variation of the inter-zinc finger spacer length revealed that insertions were more deleterious to activation than repression. GATA2 deficiency generated a lineage-diverting gene expression program and a hematopoiesis-disrupting signaling network in progenitors with reduced granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and elevated IL-6 signaling. As insufficient GM-CSF signaling caused pulmonary alveolar proteinosis and excessive IL-6 signaling promoted bone marrow failure and GATA2 deficiency patient phenotypes, these results provide insight into mechanisms underlying GATA2-linked pathologies.

Original publication




Journal article


The Journal of clinical investigation

Publication Date





Wisconsin Blood Cancer Research Institute, Department of Cell and Regenerative Biology, Carbone Cancer Center, and.


Humans, Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor, Interleukin-6, Hematopoiesis, Gene Expression, Zinc Fingers, GATA2 Transcription Factor, GATA2 Deficiency