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Blood. 2005 May 15;105(10):3848-54. Epub 2005 Feb 1.

PIG-A mutations in normal hematopoiesis.

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Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is caused by phosphatidylinositol glycan-class A (PIG-A) mutations in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). PIG-A mutations have been found in granulocytes from most healthy individuals, suggesting that these spontaneous PIG-A mutations are important in the pathogenesis of PNH. It remains unclear if these PIG-A mutations have relevance to those found in PNH. We isolated CD34+ progenitors from 4 patients with PNH and 27 controls. The frequency of PIG-A mutant progenitors was determined by assaying for colony-forming cells (CFCs) in methylcellulose containing toxic doses of aerolysin (1 x 10(-9) M). Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins serve as receptors for aerolysin; thus, PNH cells are resistant to aerolysin. The frequency of aerolysin resistant CFC was 14.7 +/- 4.0 x 10(-6) in the bone marrow of healthy donors and was 57.0 +/- 6.7 x 10(-6) from mobilized peripheral blood. DNA was extracted from individual day-14 aerolysin-resistant CFCs and the PIG-A gene was sequenced to determine clonality. Aerolysin-resistant CFCs from patients with PNH exhibited clonal PIG-A mutations. In contrast, PIG-A mutations in the CFCs from controls were polyclonal, and did not involve T cells. Our data confirm the finding that PIG-A mutations are relatively common in normal hematopoiesis; however, the finding suggests that these mutations occur in differentiated progenitors rather than HSCs.

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