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Blood. 2002 Oct 15;100(8):2932-40.

Overexpression of FKBP51 in idiopathic myelofibrosis regulates the growth factor independence of megakaryocyte progenitors.

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INSERM U362, Pavillon de recherche 1, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif Cedex, France; Laboratoire d'Hématologie and Laboratoire de Toxicologie, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Créteil, France.


Idiopathic myelofibrosis (IMF) is a chronic myeloproliferative disorder characterized by megakaryocyte hyperplasia and bone marrow fibrosis. Biologically, an autonomous megakaryocyte growth and differentiation is noticed, which contributes to the megakaryocyte accumulation. To better understand the molecular mechanisms involved in this spontaneous growth, we searched for genes differentially expressed between normal megakaryocytes requiring cytokines to grow and IMF spontaneously proliferating megakaryocytes. Using a differential display technique, we found that the immunophilin FKBP51 was 2 to 8 times overexpressed in megakaryocytes derived from patients' CD34(+) cells in comparison to normal megakaryocytes. Overexpression was moderate and confirmed in 8 of 10 patients, both at the mRNA and protein levels. Overexpression of FKBP51 in a UT-7/Mpl cell line and in normal CD34(+) cells induced a resistance to apoptosis mediated by cytokine deprivation with no effect on proliferation. FKBP51 interacts with both calcineurin and heat shock protein (HSP)70/HSP90. However, a mutant FKBP51 deleted in the HSP70/HSP90 binding site kept the antiapoptotic effect, suggesting that the calcineurin pathway was responsible for the FKBP51 effect. Overexpression of FKBP51 in UT-7/Mpl cells induced a marked inhibition of calcineurin activity. Pharmacologic inhibition of calcineurin by cyclosporin A mimicked the effect of FKBP51. The data support the conclusion that FKBP51 inhibits apoptosis through a calcineurin-dependent pathway. In conclusion, FKBP51 is overexpressed in IMF megakaryocytes and this overexpression could be, in part, responsible for the megakaryocytic accumulation observed in this disorder by regulating their apoptotic program.

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