It is believed that polyploidy induces an orchestrated increase in gene expression. To know whether all alleles remain functional during megakaryocyte polyploidization, we used a well-established fluorescence in situ hybridization technique which allows one to simultaneously detect pre-mRNAs and assess ploidy level in a single cell. All alleles of GPIIb, GPIIIa,VWF, β-actin, hsp70,c-mpl, Fli-1, and FOG-1 genes are transcriptionally active in megakaryocytes from 4N to 32N. All X chromosomes in male cells are transcriptionally active but only half of them are transcriptionally active in female megakaryocytes, as revealed by the transcriptional activity of the GATA-1gene. Nuclear untranslated XIST RNA accumulates on the inactivated X chromosomes, indicating that they are subjected to a normal inactivation process. Altogether, our results demonstrate that megakaryocyte polyploidization results in a functional gene amplification whose likely function is an increase in protein synthesis parallel with cell enlargement.

  • Submitted August 6, 2002.
  • Accepted August 21, 2002.
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