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Shared roles for Scl and Lyl1 in murine platelet production and function

Sung K. Chiu, Stephanie L. Orive, Mitchell J. Moon, Jesslyn Saw, Sarah Ellis, Ben T. Kile, Yizhou Huang, Diego Chacon, John E. Pimanda, Dominik Beck, Justin R. Hamilton, Cedric S. Tremblay and David J. Curtis

Key Points

  • Lyl1 compensates for loss of Scl in megakaryopoiesis

  • Scl & Lyl1 share functional roles in platelet production and function by regulating expression of partner proteins including Gata1 and Fli1

Abstract

The Stem Cell Leukemia (Scl or Tal1) protein forms part of a multimeric transcription factor complex required for normal megakaryopoiesis. However, unlike other members of this complex such as Gata1, Fli1 and Runx1, mutations of Scl have not been observed as a cause of inherited thrombocytopenia. We postulated that functional redundancy with its closely related family member, Lymphoblastic Leukemia 1 (Lyl1) might explain this observation. To determine if Lyl1 can substitute for Scl in megakaryopoiesis, we examined the platelet phenotype of mice lacking one or both factors in megakaryocytes. Conditional Scl knockout mice crossed with transgenic mice expressing Cre recombinase under the control of the mouse platelet factor 4 (Pf4) promoter generated megakaryocytes with markedly reduced but not absent Scl. These Pf4SclcKO mice had mild thrombocytopenia and subtle defects in platelet aggregation. However, Pf4SclcKO mice generated on a Lyl1-null background (double knockout, DKO mice) had severe macrothrombocytopenia, abnormal megakaryocyte morphology, defective pro-platelet formation and markedly impaired platelet aggregation. DKO megakaryocytes, but not single knockouts, had reduced expression of Gata1, Fli1, Nfe2 and many other genes that cause inherited thrombocytopenia. These gene expression changes were significantly associated with shared Scl and Lyl1 E-box binding sites that were also enriched for Gata1, Ets and Runx1 motifs. Thus, Scl and Lyl1 share functional roles in platelet production and function by regulating expression of partner proteins including Gata1. We propose that this functional redundancy provides one explanation for the absence of Scl and Lyl1 mutations in inherited thrombocytopenia.

  • Submitted January 14, 2019.
  • Revision received July 11, 2019.
  • Accepted June 24, 2019.