DNA-binding protein Ikaros also known as Ikaros family zinc finger protein 1 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the IKZF1gene. Ikaros displays crucial functions in the hematopoietic system and its loss of function has been linked to the development of lymphoid leukemia. In particular, Ikaros has been found in recent years to be a major tumor suppressor involved in human B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. IKZF1 is upregulated in granulocytes, B cells, CD4 and CD8 T cells, and NK cells, and downregulated in erythroblasts, megakaryocytes and monocytes. In Ikaros knockout mice, T cells but not B cells are generated late in mouse development due to late compensatory expression of the related gene Aiolos (IKZF3). Ikaros point mutant mice are embryonic lethal due to anemia; they have severe defects in terminal erythrocyte and granulocyte differentiation, and excessive macrophage formation. SNPs located near the 3' region of IKZF1 in humans have been linked to susceptibility to childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) as well as type 1 diabetes. The two effects appear to be in opposite directions, with the allele marking susceptibility to ALL protecting from T1D and vice versa.
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