Calreticulin haploinsufficiency augments stem cell activity and is required for onset of myeloproliferative neoplasms.

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Mutations in JAK2, MPL, or CALR are detected in more than 80% of myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) patients and are thought to play a driver role in MPN pathogenesis via autosomal activation of the JAK-STAT signaling cascade. Mutant CALR binds to MPL, activates downstream MPL signaling cascades, and induces essential thrombocythemia in mice. However, embryonic lethality of Calr-deficient mice precludes determination of a role for CALR in hematopoiesis. To clarify the role of CALR in normal hematopoiesis and MPN pathogenesis, we generated hematopoietic cell-specific Calr-deficient mice. CALR deficiency had little effect on the leukocyte count, hemoglobin levels, or platelet count in peripheral blood. However, Calr-deficient mice showed some hematopoietic properties of MPN, including decreased erythropoiesis and increased myeloid progenitor cells in the bone marrow, and extramedullary hematopoiesis in the spleen. Transplantation experiments revealed that Calr haploinsufficiency promoted the self-renewal capacity of hematopoietic stem cells. We generated CALRdel52 mutant transgenic mice with Calr haploinsufficiency as a model that mimics human MPN patients and found that Calr haploinsufficiency restored the self-renewal capacity of hematopoietic stem cells damaged by CALR mutations. Only recipient mice transplanted with Lineage-Sca1+c-kit+ cells harboring both CALR mutation and Calr haploinsufficiency developed MPN in competitive conditions, showing that CALR haploinsufficiency was required for the onset of CALR-mutated MPNs.

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