Hematopoietic transcription factor mutations: important players in inherited platelet defects

Natthapol Songdej and A. Koneti Rao


Transcription factors (TFs) are proteins that bind to specific DNA sequences and regulate expression of genes. The molecular and genetic mechanisms in most patients with inherited platelet defects are unknown. There is now increasing evidence that mutations in hematopoietic TFs are an important underlying cause for defects in platelet production, morphology, and function. The hematopoietic TFs implicated in patients with impaired platelet function and number include runt-related transcription factor 1, Fli-1 proto-oncogene, E-twenty-six (ETS) transcription factor (friend leukemia integration 1), GATA-binding protein 1, growth factor independent 1B transcriptional repressor, ETS variant 6, ecotropic viral integration site 1, and homeobox A11. These TFs act in a combinatorial manner to bind sequence-specific DNA within promoter regions to regulate lineage-specific gene expression, either as activators or repressors. TF mutations induce rippling downstream effects by simultaneously altering the expression of multiple genes. Mutations involving these TFs affect diverse aspects of megakaryocyte biology, and platelet production and function, culminating in thrombocytopenia and platelet dysfunction. Some are associated with predisposition to hematologic malignancies. These TF variants may occur more frequently in patients with inherited platelet defects than generally appreciated. This review focuses on alterations in hematopoietic TFs in the pathobiology of inherited platelet defects.

  • Submitted November 17, 2016.
  • Accepted January 26, 2017.
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